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Generation Next: Kevin Lawver

Age: 39

Title: Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer

Company: Kodestars

 

Top three accomplishments

• I built and launched a product (http://srch.io) that failed to find a market. But, it was technologically sound, even if it wasn’t a good market fit. I learned a lot.

• It’s for a nonprofit, but I was able to “rescue” Geekend from an early “death” and get it transferred to The Creative Coast – and helped organize this year’s conference, which looks to be the best yet.

 

Top awards/accolades

• Asked to be on the Mayor’s Small Business Roundtable

• Called the “Sage of Savannah” by local entrepreneurs, which I think is hilarious, but they insist it’s true)

 

Current Philanthropic roles

• Creative Coast board member

• RailsBridge Organizer

• TAG Savannah Advisory Board

 

Questions and answers

Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?

A: I think we’ll move more and more to remote work. Offices will be seen as wastes of money and resources. We’ll use tools like Slack to keep in contact with our coworkers. We’ll also move more and to a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) model for compensation and work environments as we realize that it’s not time-in-the-office that counts but actual work accomplished.

Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?

A: Faster and more reliable Internet service. As workforces get more dispersed, the last mile Internet will become an economic necessity. We’ll need faster and more reliable Internet service to attract remote knowledge workers and to attract high tech businesses. The technology is there, but we need to break the virtual monopoly of the cable and phone companies to realize it.

Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?

A: Savannah has a lot of potential. We have five universities within an hour’s drive of downtown, a wealth of creative energy, low cost of living, and more importantly, a great city and lifestyle story.

We don’t invest enough in them, but I think our local economy can grow faster by investing in connecting those universities to local businesses, injecting that creative energy into traditional industries and building creative technology companies around the established business centers we already have (tourism and the ports).

Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?

A: In the next decade, it’s going to be technology and creative services companies. We have all the raw materials here to build great companies doing great work. In the next decade, we’ll get the recognition we need from outside investors and, more importantly, start to develop our own local investor community to recognize the value these kinds of companies produce.

Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?

A: Computer Science and IT. Technology is everywhere and will only become more pervasive over the next decade. Those degrees are already in high demand, and I don’t see that demand doing anything but increasing.

Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?

A: It’s time to stop the petty arguing and small town infighting and come up with a plan to solve Savannah’s big problems (poverty, shrinking middle class, education) and set us on a course to embrace new technology and new ideas while preserving what makes Savannah great. It’s a big set of problems, but it’s time to tackle them (instead of each other).

Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?

A: “Innovation” is a big word. I hope that I’ll be remembered for teaching people that technology and programming aren’t scary and for being the Johnny Appleseed of Code in Savannah.

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In Case You Missed It