Nick Arnett’s 12 in 12

Usually I write about young entrepreneurs because they are starting or scaling business ventures.  The subject of this post is a bit different – he’s launching a very entrepreneurial project.

If you haven’t hung around downtown Fort Wayne you might not know Nick Arnett.  If you don’t, you are missing out.  Nick is a tireless proponent of our city, its downtown, its youth, and economic development – he (more than anyone else I know) sincerely wants to create, and is actively working to create, a better Future Fort Wayne.

Nick is embarking on a year-long project to visit 12 Cities in 12 Months.  As he says in an introductory email, “I will be traveling to twelve different cities over the next twelve months to study their community / economic development systems as well as how they are able to attract and retain “creative class” individuals. I will also be digging heavily into how these cities utilize millennials and allow them to develop leadership qualities at a young age.”  The whole project will be documented in a video.




I’d ask you readers to do 3 things:

  1. Please go to the project website at, and start following the project on Twitter, Facebook, and Nick’s blog.
  2. Please send a bit of financial support (you can pledge at the website) to make sure this entrepreneurial thinker gets to complete this project.  I did.
  3. Spread the word.  Tell your friends.  Tell possible corporate donors.

Let’s help Nick make Fort Wayne a better place!

A Must See – Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire

Right now, as I type this at a comfortable table at the Firefly coffee house, three student from NIIC’s Student Venture Lab are launching PYPline‘s beta at the World Maker Faire in New York City.

Photo “borrowed” from Graham’s Facebook feed

Many of you are probably now either moving on to read something else or wondering …

  1. What is the world is a Maker?
  2. What is a PYPline?
  3. What does this thing in NYC have to do with Fort Wayne’s Regional Maker Faire?

For those of  you who haven’t moved on, I will try to answer some of this.

First, Makers are uber DIYers.  They build things for the sheer fun of building things.  They share what they build.  Openly and joyfully.  It is a fast growing movement, sparked by O’Reilly Media’s MAKE magazine.  There were about 100,000 Makers at the Bay Area Maker Faire, which like NY’s Faire, is one of the big 3.   Go to the link above and check out the photos – you’ll get the idea.

Secondly, PYPline is the first new web community for Makers.  I am proud to say that the co-founders, Graham Bredemeyer and Scott BonAmi have elected to include PYPline in NIIC’s Student Venture Lab.  They have great vision for PYPline, building it consistently with the open sharing Maker philosophy, and growing it to a thriving community where Makers can mix and share together online just like they do physically at a Maker Faire.

Third, on to the title of this post.  The Tekventure organization is bringing a Maker Faire to Fort Wayne.  Very cool!  October 1 and 2 at Headwaters Park, you will find an absolutely amazing collection of displays – art, inventions, workshops, food, hands-on areas where you can go and play – including an exhibit by PYPline (so you can sign up for it right there).  Check out the huge list of exhibits and activities right here.

DO NOT MISS the Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire, one of the coolest events to come to this city!  Be sure to take the kids!

Legacy … continued

I attended the Legacy Fort Wayne Task Force meeting this week.  They were trying to work out their final recommendations (they’ll need at least one more meeting).

The idea I had proposed (a fund for Tech and Arts ventures) either didn’t make the most recent cut – or was lost somewhere in the big omnibus “do a bunch of stuff” economic development item.

The theme of this meeting was, “It’s all about downtown.”  The momentum is toward spending all Legacy money downtown, a concept being led by a friend of mine, Dave Corcoran.

  1. First, the task force collapsed the Arts category and the Riverfront category into the downtown category.
  2. Then, at the end of the meeting, Dave asked the group to collapse the Economic Development category into the others by agreeing to fund only that economic development that occurs either downtown (or for Youth Development, the third remaining category).   The group couldn’t agree to that, and they tabled it for further discussion.

I applaud Dave for taking a bold position!

  1. Instead of doling out a bit of money to every proposal that came forward, he wants to concentrate the relatively small amount of money we have to work with ($80M IS small when you consider it is for a whole city) on something big enough and memorable enough to leave a legacy.  Great idea.  Whatever is done should be big enough to be visible as a legacy.  Go for it!
  2. He wants to improve our downtown.  I remember when our downtown was absolutely vibrant, and would love to see it brought  back to life!  We have some momentum there already.  The arts district is both growing and improving.  Calhoun / Wayne is coming alive.  Broadway is more vibrant.  Parkview Field is a draw.  Let’s make it even better.

And while we are doing that, maybe we can hazz some financial support for an arts business incubator, perhaps with some venture funding for the arts businesses there?  So we can create even more future goodness downtown.  That would be so cool!