Member Spotlight: Komalty Content Strategies

Each month, StarSpace46 shines a spotlight on members who are making a difference in the community. Representing a wide variety of businesses and backgrounds, each member has a unique story to tell. If you are interested in sharing your experience at SS46, send your story to info@starspace46.com. This month's story comes to us from Rodney Brazil of Komalty Content Strategies. 

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After nearly a decade of holding down a corporate job while doing small, independent marketing work on the side, I decided to venture into the world of full-time freelancing. The concept of working on my own was exciting, but after years of earning reliable-yet-moderate income through traditional 8 to 5 employment, I needed lots of support to enter the elusive "gig economy." I reached out to my friend and colleague with whom I had collaborated in the past for help. She met me for coffee, a favorite freelancer pastime, and I told her about my business model and the initial goals for my new company, Komalty Content Strategies. She told me her own story of building her own marketing business and shared many of the lessons she learned along the way. She also insisted that I should check out StarSpace46.

I was already interested in co-working spaces but didn't know much, other than I would need to get this new business of mine out of my guest bedroom to make it grow. I was actively reaching out to potential clients from home, but it was easy to get sidetracked with making snacks, asking Alexa questions, and taking my dog on long, rambling, mid-day walks. I needed the focus provided by a designated workplace.

My colleague recommended StarSpace46 in particular, because of its reputation as a local hub for technical innovation and entrepreneurship. Since I operate primarily in the digital marketing space, sharing an office with software developers and burgeoning local upstarts might be an excellent place to network with other people on similar journeys. She couldn't have been more right.

Within my first three months of co-working at StarSpace46, I spoke with more than 40 business leaders and tech professionals from Oklahoma and beyond, all at different stages of the upstart pipeline. While participating in community events hosted in the Techlahoma workspace, I met inspiring people from diverse industries, including manufacturing, film-making, software development, UX design, and the financial sector. The connections I made through StarSpace46 led to new clients, new mentors, and even a couple of speaking engagements.

My business has tripled since I became a member at StarSpace46 and continues to expand. The invaluable education, support, and networking opportunities gained from my membership have been a big part of that growth. Positioned in the middle of the OKC metro, my clients love coming on-site for meetings, with easy access from anywhere in the area. I love the extra focus that comes from operating my business in an innovative workplace, as opposed to cafes and libraries. The creative, collaborate atmosphere keeps me motivated, and I would recommend a membership to anyone from any industry looking for an innovative place to grow.

Oklahoma Game Developers Group Cultivates Local Talent

Now entering its fifth year, the official meetup of Oklahoma Game Developers continues to grow. With a total membership of more than 400 local gaming enthusiasts, the impact from this series of monthly meetings has been significant. Open to hobbyists, independent artists, as well as established professionals within the industry, this community of game lovers sees no signs of slowing down.

About Oklahoma Game Developers

Each month, the Oklahoma Game Developers, or OKGD, brings together the best talent available for presentations designed to appeal to individuals at all skill levels. Attendees with any degree of interest in video game development are welcome, and even newcomers are invited to collaborate and share ideas. The topic for each meetup is always something new, designed to offer a wide variety of learning opportunities to regular attendees. Workshops and important guest speakers are often on the agenda, along with demonstrations of new software. Past events have included learning sessions related to art creation, game engine usage, sound design, programming, and even writing. Any game enthusiast in the OKC area with even a slight level of interest in development will find something to love about the Oklahoma Game Developers group.

 Oklahoma game developers meetup at starspace46 in okc

A member of the Techlahoma professional network, events are regularly held throughout the OKC metro, with StarSpace46 serving as the home base. Organized by James Simpson, CEO, and Founder of GoldFire Studios, and Benji Kay, a musician and JavaScript developer, the team behind the group brings a diverse assortment of experience to the project. “I've been building games since I was in middle school and I continued that all the way through college until starting my own game studio,” says Simpson. “However, all through this time, I didn't know anyone else local that was also making games. The reason I started the meetup was to try and grow a vibrant game development community in Oklahoma. There's still a long way to go, but I think we've made great strides towards that and this is what keeps me excited about the group.”

Learn Game Development Skills in OKC

Simpson says that he learns something new at every single event because attendees come from every corner of the video game development ecosystem. “I've probably learned the most from our playtest and demo days by just getting to play other local games and talk to the creators,” he affirmed. “This has allowed me to get much deeper insights into the thought process that goes into different types of games and has helped to inform aspects of our own game development at GoldFire Studios.”

 game developers gather in Oklahoma City to see a demonstration

Those interested in learning more about the Oklahoma Game Developers group should visit their official MeetUp page, which includes a list of upcoming events and workshops. An OKGD Facebook Group is also active, and joining gives you access to post-event discussions and updates about other related events in the area. Be sure to visit the StarSpace46 Event Calendar for regular updates about this meetup, as well as other upcoming presentations geared at enhancing the Oklahoma tech community.

Computer Science, Coding in High Demand by Gov. Fallin

By Governor Mary Fallin

Governor's Columns - Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - Article Available Online


April is science and technology month in Oklahoma. What a great time to highlight the emerging computer science scene that is shaping our economy and driving our future.

In Oklahoma, our emerging software community has taken on a life of its own.  These are coding professionals who know programming languages with names like C++, Perl, Ruby, Elixir, Python or Javascript.

Colleges, universities and technology centers across the state offer classes and postsecondary degree programs in computer science; software development is part of the curriculum.  Students who graduate with computer science postsecondary degrees and credentials are ready to join the workforce and shape our future with innovative software.  Degrees in programming, coding and computer science skills are in high demand by Oklahoma’s businesses. Numerous high-paying jobs are available throughout the state.

In addition to formal software education, there are flourishing grassroots efforts to grow the coding community across Oklahoma.  One of the most impactful is the vibrant community of coders nurtured by an Oklahoma City and Tulsa not-for-profit foundation known as Techlahoma.

Founded by the husband-and-wife team of Jesse and Amanda Harlin along with Vance Lucas, Techlahoma says its goal is to help Oklahomans become workforce ready by creating free training each week. It provides meeting space for user groups and boasts an online community of more than 3,000.

With accommodations provided by StarSpace46 in Oklahoma City and 36° North in Tulsa, Techlahoma is home to at least two dozen coding user groups that regularly meet in its space. Groups hosted by Techlahoma include Code for OKC, Code for Tulsa, Nerdy Girls OKC Code Club, OKC Python and OKC.js, one of several programming-focused groups that meet there.

Both StarSpace46 and 36° North are community-focused co-working and collaboration spaces that serve as startup incubators.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently invited two other governors and me to take part in the Girls Who Code 2017 Female Governors’ Summit at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.  I was able to speak to our state’s thriving initiatives to connect Oklahoma children in the K-12 age group with computer science education and all things STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

For instance, the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance is part of a drive to promote STEM and computer science to young people through activities, such as coding camps and professional education for teachers in conjunction with the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation.

Project Lead the Way, a national not-for-profit entity, has developed a comprehensive computer science educational program targeting students at all grade levels through high school. It offers a “Launch” module for K-5, two new courses embedded in its middle school Gateway curriculum, and a high school course for App developers as well as one for “innovators and makers.”

“We have a pretty comprehensive opportunity for K through 12 students,” said Robin Schott, Project Lead the Way’s Oklahoma-based vice president for the west-central region. “Our curriculum is problem-solving based, so students are solving real-world problems through our content, and it is very engaging to them.”

Why is all this important?

Consider the type of employees that Oklahoma’s tech-focused companies are seeking. They are all hiring computer-coding professionals. And that includes our long-established oil and gas community.

“Technology is intertwined with the future of our economy,” said Dustin Curzon, executive director of Tulsa’s 36° North. “For our economy to thrive, we need to invest in the current and future generations to create more tech careers -- not just coders but knowledge workers who can integrate technology into their professions.”

I am committed to ensure this growth continues across the state. Through Oklahoma Works, resources are being committed to make sure our students are prepared to meet the demands of the new economy. My support for Oklahoma’s entrepreneurial community stands as a testament to Oklahoma’s dedication to growing and diversifying our economy. The future of computer science, in its many forms, is bright, and Oklahoma will likely remain an emerging center for growth in this industry.