This is a guest post written by Clarissa Redwine (@ClarissaRedwine). Clarissa runs UNT’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization and is organizing TEDxUNT. She also co-curates Startup Digest Dallas, Startup Weekend Denton, and LittleDOCC.
Denton | Hacker Hordes and Entrepreneurs
LittleD has always been a tightknit community of top-notch talent. As a small town of self branded movers and shakers, it doesn’t take much to get momentum behind local crusades, no matter how ambitious. In the case of the Denton tech movement, all it took was a tweet.
Lately, whispers of Denton’s tech status have rippled through North Texas. Michael Mandel of the Progressive Policy Institute identified Denton as #6 of the 25 leading locations for high-tech jobs in the US. The county is bursting at the seams with digital creatives. Just a few weeks ago a handful of the brightest Dentonite hackers met in the living room of local city councilman, Kevin Roden, to devise and execute a collective effort to expose and mobilize LittleD’s tech talent.
This past Tuesday, LittleDOCC launched the movement and sent electric buzz through the North Texas tech startup community. At 8am, members of the LittleDOCC meetup group began trickling into one of Denton’s favorite coffee spots. Before you could say Java, nearly 30 hackers and hustlers had settled in to chat tech, startups, and the digital lifestyle over coffee. Denton’s own Eric Swayne led the inaugural discussion through topics ranging from tech-based valuations to first-language suggestions for the neophytes in the crowd. LittleDOCC was a fantastic kick-start for LittleD’s tech startup scene, drumming up community excitement and anticipation for what’s next.
Right around the corner is OpenHack Denton. Dave Sims, Dentonite Rails Developer at Living Social, is bringing a monthly OpenHack to Denton, a meetup with a simple purpose: code together, on anything. This group gets programmers of any experience level together every third Wednesday from 6 to 8pm. What is this college girl planning to do at the next OpenHack Denton? Hack my education and learn a bit of programming from some of North Texas’ brightest tech minds.
Today, Denton Jelly was brought back to life. Every 3rd Friday from 10 to 5 Dentonite and collaboration enthusiast, Marshall Culpepper, leads a casual co-working hangout at a local coffee shop just off the town square. Anyone is welcome to bring a laptop and work together in a casual confederation of tech-savvy nomads. Needless to say, this is a great place to find a grouping of Denton’s passionate hackers and entrepreneurs. You might even meet your next co-founder here.
On January 24th, Startup Weekend is coming to Denton. Thanks to startup evangelist, Kyle Taylor, this year’s event will be one for the history books. Startup Weekend Denton connects local entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and anyone with an idea in order to validate and build a product in just 54 hours. We have a star-studded lineup of judges including angel investors and tech startup titans, like Tech Wildcatters’ Gabrielle Draney. In addition to some great swag and a raucous good time, winning teams will have the opportunity to present their startups at the following Dallas New Tech Showcase (BigDNT).
One of the most notable characteristics of the burgeoning tech startup scene in Denton is how the community leaders have shared in the organization and coordination of every event. Although I highlighted the main organizers, there’s a heaping handful of people dedicated to each event who often co-organize multiple events. LittleDOCC alone has more than 7 organizers and counting, each ready to take the reigns every few weeks and lead the discussion.
Even the calendar for Denton’s events follows the community’s open source philosophy. Dentonator is a unified calendar, an all-volunteer effort that encourages anyone to import, create, and edit events. This rhizome infrastructure allows the community to work toward a common goal, each meetup and event contributing to the Denton tech startup coalition.
Something big is happening in LittleD. Come join us.