Build it and they will come.
Just beyond the bright pink elevator atrium at the new Social Tables HQ lies an expanse of social, communal space. Armchairs and small tables fill the foreground, while a long (custom) serpentine-shaped table (for better, more social lunch hours) stretches close to the windows looking out onto G Street.
The space resembles a cozy cafe when I enter; by the time I leave the tables have been cleared and chairs are arranged in lecture format. If you haven’t seen the space yet, you probably will soon.
When Dan Berger, CEO of hospitality software company Social Tables, unveiled this space in Metro Center at the end of January, he vowed to use it as an “epicenter” for the #dctech community. The vow included a pledge to host 100 community events in the next two years.
Just over a month later, the space has seen 12 distinct events — preparations for a 13th (a demo session with the DCVR Meetup group) were underway as Technical.ly sat down with Berger to talk about his vision.
So what does it mean for Social Tables to be an epicenter for D.C. tech gatherings?
For Berger it means giving back while supporting the brand.
Social Tables is all about event-planning software, after all, so having an events space in the office just makes sense. And while the space is free to use, use is restricted to events that align with Social Tables’ mission or values. Sales or hospitality Meetups obviously fit with the company identity, while a Women Who Code gathering aligns with its desire to support women, and diversity, in tech.
Asked whether #dctech currently has a central meeting place, Berger said he can’t think of one.
Various companies open up office space for Meetup groups here and there, and of course the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and 1776 each see their fair share of events. But what Berger has in mind seems to be a little different — perhaps somewhere in between.
Presumably we’re only just beginning to see what this looks like.