It’s a scene you see everywhere in Seattle: a room full of programmers, laptops out, writing code. Except for one thing. All 15 of the developers I visited Thursday on the 13th floor of the Rainier Tower were women. Now I’m finally starting to hope that won’t always be a big deal. The women make up the inaugural…More
Paul Gambill’s favorite thing to do when he’s high is to listen to the Seattle Symphony. “There’s nothing like hearing an 80-piece orchestra play a rich, Romantic-era piece,” the 26-year-old mobile-apps project manager tells me. We were sitting at Ballard Coffee Works, where a drink made from beans enjoys a sophistication Gambill craves for the…More
In an eighth-floor office of the downtown Dexter Horton building is proof that covering one of the most pressing concerns of our time can be fun. “Laugh now,” reads the About page of green news magazine Grist.org, “or the planet gets it.” For 15 years, Seattle’s most influential issue-based media outlet has told a story…More
Priya May has been the voice of hundreds. “You have a customer using sign language contacting you with the Purple VRS system,” May, 31, spoke into a headset to the man who picked up at Seattle’s MOD Pizza. “I’ll be interpreting this call for you, OK?” “Sure,” the man said, kind of delighted, and from May’s…More
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you say you care about IP theft? IP what? IP is intellectual property. It’s the core of invention — the thing that gets protected so that good ideas become good products that make good money and inspire more good products down the road. If you’re like me, the…More
The office of the future might look a little funny. Peek over the rows of workstations in the marketing department of Tableau Software in Fremont, and you’ll see dozens of employees leaning into their screens. It’s a crisp, modern office setting that looks like any other. Except that a good fourth of the workers are standing…More
“We’re here to change habits, change lives,” James Norris told 100 people gathered on the first floor of Pioneer Square’s Impact Hub. “You guys are all part of a movement.” It was the kickoff to Spark Weekend Seattle, a first-of-its-kind, two-day event Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 that got my attention as soon as…More
A new year is all about hope. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? How can technology help? This week I thought I’d hand the mic to Seattle tech thinkers and leaders and ask them one intentionally broad question:
What’s one thing you hope to see happen in technology this year?
Well this is a first. Elliott Bay Book Company has put up small signs around its store to remind people not to showroom — as many local stores are doing to stave off the threat of online retail — and it’s linked to my column on the controversial consumer habit to do it. Seattle…More
I hadn’t given any thought to Scarecrow Video in months, maybe years, when I heard the news a couple weeks ago.
As you’d expect, Seattle’s world-famous video store is in trouble. Rentals have dropped 40 percent in six years, despite efforts to draw people in with coffee, beer, screenings, all kinds of deals and even bar trivia, and owners are wondering if it’s time to fade to black.
The culprit, of course, is change. Video-store rentals hit their peak, $8.5 billion, in 2001. Last year, we spent as much on those rentals as we did in 1984, a measly $1.2 billion, according to analyst IHS.
Blockbuster Video, founded in 1985, operated 1,700 stores when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2010. This month, parent company Dish Network said it would close the 300 remaining company-owned Blockbuster stores next year.
Scarecrow owners Carl Tostevin and Mickey McDonough put out a call for help in October. Scarecrow is no Blockbuster; it has collected 118,000 titles and a lot of love. The store’s fans will step it up. Supporters of independent businesses will stop in on principle.
But what about the rest of us? I’ve done nothing but rent or stream from Netflix, Amazon.com, Hulu or iTunes for years. Same with most of my friends. I’d love for Scarecrow to stick around, but online convenience rules. Is there something I’m missing?
I went in last week to find out.More