Becoming a pirate? 826 Valencia’s Pirate Supply Store in San Francisco has hooks to replace missing hands, captain’s journals, and even a leash for your monkey. Gear for aspiring pirates fills the space, but in the back of the store is something more fantastical — a writing center.
Founded in 2002 by Dave Eggers, author of AHeartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and educator Nínive Calegari, nonprofit 826 Valencia helps under-resourced students ages 6 to 18 develop their creative and expository writing. Named for its street location in the Mission District of San Francisco, the writing center sees itself as a place, separate from school and home, where students receive one-on-one attention and think of themselves as writers. It’s become a supplement to the public education system in San Francisco, and with 826 National has taken its model to other cities.
In 2008, the nonprofit officially formed 826 National to support its other chapters. There are currently seven in the U.S. The writing programs are the same, but the whimsical storefronts are different in each city. 826LA runs a Time Travel Mart. Brooklyn’s 826NYC features superhero supplies. And the Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute fronts 826 Boston. A new location in the San Francisco’s Tenderloin, the city’s most densely populated neighborhood, will open in 2016. 826 National has also inspired similar projects in England, Ireland, and Italy.
How did Walmart build an internet startup inside the world’s largest retailer, undertaking one of the largest digital transformations in the history of business? It took talent, data and a huge commitment to Silicon Valley. Hosted at Walmart’s Global eCommerce office in Sunnyvale, California, this concise conversation between Walmart’s Brian Monahanand NewCo’s contributing editor Jonathan Weber reveals Walmart’s unique NewCo story.
At NewCo, we spend a lot of time thinking about mission statements. We ask companies that apply to become NewCos for their mission statement, and we remind them that while most companies have mission statements, we look for companies that are in fact on one. There’s a difference — companies that are on a mission are filled with people who live and breathe their organization’s purpose. If you ask them about the “why” of their business, they’ll usually trace it back to the change their company is trying to make. That change is a verb — an active shift the company wants to see happen.
Put another way, great companies view their business as an argument. The company has a thesis about how the world ought to be in some way different — and every product, service, and customer touchpoint is part of proving that thesis true.
One of the key NewCo themes is presenting forward looking and innovative companies that are “of the city”. We closely monitor trends, like the one we see here in the Bay Area: many more companies are moving to San Francisco up from Silicon Valley because it is easier to hold on to key talent and personnel. And in Detroit: the story there is all about the re-sizing of that city as it re-emerges into a sustainable scope, which is all centered into the tight geography of downtown Detroit. In both cases, this is happening because key talent and younger people entering the work force value a walkable lifestyle. Case in point, many studies are showing that millennials are driving at a much lower rate than any previous generation.
This story about Los Angeles was a pleasant surprise when it hit my inbox earlier today: The city that once ripped up its rails and public transportation infrastructure is steadily making its way up the ranks of walkable cities! As this story points out, cities that have walkable centers see higher real estate values in addition to providing more aesthetically pleasing areas, places where the community can gather and opportunities for small businesses to flourish.