Greater Oklahoma City Chamber - Creativity World Forum Spotlight: The 404 LLC Co-Working Co-Op

Creativity World Forum Spotlight: The 404 LLC Co-Working Co-Op

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

By Brian Brus

The Journal Record

Editor’s note: Creative Oklahoma, a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting the state’s innovative economic strengths, will host this year’s Creativity World Forum on March 31 at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall. Registration information is available at www.stateofcreativity.com. The 404 LLC is one of the many entrepreneurial efforts that will be highlighted at the event.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Freelancers, entrepreneurs, deal makers, dreamers and anyone who just wants to get away from co-workers in the office every so often, The 404 LLC has your space in Film Row.

The name of the co-working co-op refers to the all-too-familiar Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, computer code for “file not found.” Tommy Yi said 404 hints at the tech-oriented origin of those most likely to seek temporary office space – JavaScript, SQL Server and game developers, for example. The 404 is based on a loose confederation of technology user groups in central Oklahoma in recent years, but he is seeing it grow beyond that concept.

“We’re getting back involved in hosting events with a broader spectrum,” Yi said. “OkcCoCo was much more tech-focused, but now we’re opening up to art, design and music, and becoming more of a collaborative creative space.”

The 404 had a difficult birth as OkcCoCo involving a legal dispute with an Edmond company over naming rights. Yi said he would prefer to not revisit history; it was a learning experience that helped the founders relaunch The 404 on a sturdier foundation.

Co-working centers are common in larger cities; they provide a professional work environment for business operations too small to afford the overhead of their own offices.

“Back at the OkcCoCo, we wanted to show people what this space could be like,” Yi said. “We had been to other cities and seen the potential. But it ended with a massive amount of burnout because if we didn’t do it ourselves, no one did. We tried to organize user groups, even though we didn’t have much interest in them ourselves.

“So the hiatus since OkcCoCo was a blessing in disguise,” he said. “People realized that if they wanted this concept to continue, they couldn’t wait for someone else to make it work. I hear about new community groups popping up now all the time. It’s happening all around us, and it’s a sign of healthy growth in Oklahoma City.”

Yi and co-founder John Kerber work full-time jobs outside of The 404. It is not a profitable venture, and they charge just enough to cover expenses and allow for upgrades and repairs as necessary. Users can buy into monthly payment plans that allow 24-hour access and a postal delivery address.

At the upcoming Creativity World Forum in Oklahoma City, The 404 will host two round-table discussions with local entrepreneurs and a third on the theme of combating violence – the topic is being left open and will depend on the interests of international guests. Yi was part of the Oklahoma contingent that went to Belgium for the last forum.

“The people we met over there were surprised and didn’t quite know what to make of us, because so many of the other countries provide government officials representing their interests,” he said. “It was good to be able to show our own creativity and entrepreneurship in action, which is what it’s really all about.”

 

Read more coverage about the Creativity World Forum from The Journal Record.

For more about Oklahoma Creativity and the World Forum, go online to http://stateofcreativity.com/