WorkSpace founder heads for Boston, sells to tech superstar

Boris Mann of Bootup Labs is a Techvibes Guest Contributor.

As some of us have known for some time, Bill MacEwen, founder of Vancouver’s premier coworking space WorkSpace, is off to Boston. I sat down yesterday with Bill and the new owner of WorkSpace to get the scoop on any changes. Bill is going to be entering an entrepreneurial MBA program through Babson College. He wrote about it recently on his blog:

The idea of an “MBA” sort of turned me off. I pictured a bunch of booksmart kids in a room studying statistics and prepping themselves for a career at the bank. Babson’s not like that. The people I met were totally down to earth, full of real world experience and looking to build on it with a practical education. Most of the students I talked to had already run their own business. There’s even a class that collaborates with students from RISD to come up with solutions to bring their design ideas to market. Whaaaaaat you wont get that at Queens!

We’ll be sad to see Bill go, but it sounds like an incredible opportunity at a great school. Bill’s founding of WorkSpace created a real physical center for the technology community here. Bill was determined to become a part of the community, and he more than succeeded. He was always ready to open his doors as a venue for numerous events — hosting the first and second BarCamp Vancouver, numerous, and countless other social entrepreneurial, art, and other events. Nevermind that WorkSpace appears to be one of the more successful commercial coworking spaces in North America. Bill, thanks for all your hard work, and congrats on your acceptance to Babson.

And now it’s time to introduce the new owner of WorkSpace – Jayson Minard. While the previous link can show you his depth of technology (he was a former CIO and CTO of Abebooks, so I imagine todays acquisition by Amazon will be good to him as well), I was more impressed by the fact that he has a Wikipedia entry. Not to be outdone, Jayson’s wife Linda and co-owner of WorkSpace has her own IMDB entry as she focuses on her acting career here in Vancouver (she comes from a big background in high tech business development and sales). Jayson’s current “day job” is his consulting firm, MindHeap Technologies, with an impressive roster of high end clients. Yes, I was serious when I used the phrase technology superstar.

Looking a little deeper, roots in open source like working on the PHP Zend Framework. Let’s just say I’m suitably impressed, and glad that Jayson will be here in the Vancouver community (excellent mentors for Bootup companies, of course!). But I guess the question on everyone’s mind is whether Jayson will be continuing the WorkSpace tradition of supporting and hosting the local community. The unequivocal answer based on my talk with Jayson yesterday seems to be “yes”!

One of the topics we discussed was how WorkSpace could continue to support BarCampVancouver, seeing as how it has outgrown the capacity available. It looks like the kick off party can be hosted there, with night time hackathon / camping to follow, but the organizers are still working out the details of that. Jayson has more plans for WorkSpace, I’m sure, and all changes have both pluses and minuses. I’ll leave the final quote to Jayson – “I have a technology background from Silicon Valley, but have a social background from many parts of the world including our past 6 years here in Canada. I want to leverage that background for the benefit of the tech community here in our own backyard within Vancouver.”

Music to my ears, Jayson. Welcome to you and your wife, and good luck with WorkSpace’s future growth. This is the first post from guest Techvibes contributor, Boris Mann of Bootup Labs. He once swore he would never post here unless Rob Lewis paid for more free drinks, but relented because he enjoys breaking news and interviewing people.