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Chatting with Justin Reese, Code & Supply

I had the pleasure of chatting with Justin Reese from Code & Supply to discuss the opening of their new Workspace in East Liberty. The below is a slightly edited chat :)

Zach

Hi, Justin! Thanks for taking the time to chat today. So, tell me about Code & Supply?

Justin

Code & Supply is a company that has many different facets. We produce educational media, hold large international conferences, offer free community events, paid workshops, a coworking space, a scholarship fund, and online communities all with the goal of enriching people in the software field. The community around our organization is spectacular and is always at the core of what we do.
The Code & Supply Workspace is our latest project and started as a way to create a home for coding in the city. Somewhere people can go for events and work out of day to day. We’ve started with a community and intend for the Workspace to reflect that same community atmosphere.

Zach

That’s great. How long have you been involved in the Pittsburgh tech scene?

Justin

Code & Supply started after I had spent about 2-3 years in the local community creating similar events. I realized that these truly beneficial events were very fragile and relied too often on a single person or even a single person’s relationship with a company. Too often would interesting discussions die out when someone changed their job and stopped working in a technology.

Solidifying events under a single umbrella has allowed us to cross promote and create a stronger community.

Zach

That’s a really good point, you’re able to keep momentum. How big has the community grown?

Justin

We have nearly 3,000 members in our Meetup.com group, 900 members on our Slack, and more participating across other channels.

Zach

What do you think makes Pittsburgh special as a software engineering hub? Is it just a matter of the quality of talent?

Justin

I think Pittsburgh is special because it has a certain mindset of self-improvement that you don’t see elsewhere. We constantly have to prove ourselves as something other than a dirty steel town to outsiders, so we work really hard to do that. People are very proud in this city and proud of proving people wrong.

Zach

I like that gritty mentality! Do you see coworking spaces like this, or distributed teams as a whole, as the future of work in Pittsburgh? That way, companies all over the world can take advantage of Pittsburgh’s unique talent?

Justin

I expect most of our workspace members will be working for companies in other cities. I’m already seeing it. Pittsburgh has some great companies, but they’re all co-located. Remote work isn’t really the future because it’s already the present. I’d say a large portion of the Code & Supply community works for a company headquartered in another location. We have to appreciate our universities and communities because they offer something that companies won’t necessarily offer in the future in having in-person connections being paramount.

Zach

This remote worker agrees emoji unicode: 1f601. So tell me about the new workspace! What are some of the advantages vs working from home or at the other co-working spaces?

Justin

The C&S Workspace is going to be optimized for software professionals in a few ways that will make it very valuable to its members and different from other spaces. We’re built around a community of existing software minds and have a great program of events that we’ll hold out of this space. That means at any given time, you should be able to bounce ideas off of someone in a similar position to you or you can stick around after your workday is over to learn from a lecture of what the latest tactics are in the field.

We’ll also be hosting internal programming intended to elicit that kind of sharing from our members across companies. So you get all of the social and educational benefits of working at an office without being co-located in the same city as your company. We’ll also be optimizing the desk space for things software pros like. We have standing desks, built-in monitors, drop-in workstations with mechanical keyboards.

Zach

Will local startups be able to work out of the space as well (competing with the likes of the Beauty Shoppe) or will it be more optimized towards individual remote workers?

Justin

We’ll have spaces that allow for small teams to work together and have an opportunity to expand to include offices if we see the demand for it. But we are definitely focusing on the individual remote workers so we can be really good at that one thing.

Our space will also work well for local freelancers because the individual workspaces are accompanied by conference room space to meet with clients.

Zach

What are the emerging technologies in Pittsburgh and what sort of classes and lectures can a new member look forward to accessing?

Justin

The big things going on now are definitely around data and machine learning. It’s a completely different paradigm when it comes to building software and something that will require a lot of education. Even experienced developers will need to learn a lot of new things to be ready.

There’s also a large and obvious rise of JavaScript that needs to be adequately represented in the conversations our community is having.

Zach

What are the different pricing models to join the space?

Justin

We’re priced at $50/month for 24/7 access and $175/month for a dedicated desk. We priced everything lower so we can keep the workspace busy every day.

Zach

That’s very affordable, sounds like a good deal! Do you see a lot of involvement from the local colleges? Have you hosted joint events with them in the past?

Justin

I’ve definitely been involved with the local colleges. I’ve found CMU is harder to infiltrate as they’ve got a lot of internal things to keep them satisfied. We work closely with the Pitt Computer Science Club so that their members understand the benefits of being involved with the community early on.

Zach

That’s great. I commend you on creating a large and engaged community! I wish you the best of luck in the future and can’t wait to check it out for myself emoji unicode: 1f60e. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Justin

I’d just encourage everyone to check out what Code & Supply has to offer by visiting https://codeandsupply.co and following @codeandsupply on Twitter. We’ve always got great resources for learning and are trying new things all of the time.

Zach

Thanks, Justin, I really appreciate your time and best of luck with the launch!

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