Nicholas Longo, director of Geekdom

For years, the City of San Antonio has poured money into StarTech, formerly known as the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative, to jumpstart the city’s high technology industry.
But now a new place, smack dab in the middle of downtown at the Weston Centre, might be able to do that with a collaborative workspace called Geekdom.
Geekdom is a nonprofit organization that will host technology workshops, lectures and events. It also provides office space to startups and desks to other technology workers through an application process. The center has an outreach effort to local high school and college students. Rackspace Chairman Graham Weston has put up the money to get the center established.
The desks will cost about $125 a month to rent and will come with a parking space. The community membership will cost around $50 and does not come with a dedicated space, Longo said. The offices will be open around the clock and members will have access codes and keys to get in to the building after hours.
“It’s like a gym membership for geeks,” he said.
Some people want to hang out all the time and write code, while others will want to just pop in and out from time to time, Longo said. The space hasn’t officially opened yet but one guy comes there every night after his regular job to code until midnight, he said.
Longo plans to have a strategic layout for assigning desks by putting “coders” next to “creatives” so that different groups get to network. And all residents (people who have desks) must give one hour of their time a week to help others, Longo said. Or they can put on a workshop once a month on programming languages, design or marketing. The idea is to create a collaborative environment, Longo said.
“Mentorship is the new classroom,” Longo said.
The Geekdom is nice. The 11th floor of the Weston Centre formerly housed a law firm. Large windows provide a panoramic view of downtown. Red, black and white decor pay homage to Rackspace, which is a sponsor of the site. The 15,000 square foot space includes a pool table, some arcade video game machines, a kitchen area with a couple of refrigerators stocked with beer and soda.
In addition to the offices, Longo wants to set up rooms for people to make things, ranging from painting to soldering metal to sculpture, robotics, Legos and more. It’s all about the Maker’s movement, Longo said, fashioned after Maker Faire and Make Magazine, which encourages people to build stuff from scratch.
Two weeks ago, the Geekdom hosted its first big event Startup Ignite’s all night Hack-a-thon, which garnered praise from its participants. It plans do another Hack-a-Thon on Nov. 18th at Geekdom.
Starting this Friday, San Antonio’s latest three day startup weekend takes place there.