Work from Wisconsin part one: Madison

One thing that’s really incredible about working for 18F is our ability to telework from just about anywhere. Everything we do is online and everyone we work with is in one of about six different places so even when we’re not teleworking, we’re teleworking.

Being telework-able also means when we have to leave our home base and visit family instead of taking vacation or going on leave, we can keep working, which is just totally wild. So for the last two and a half days of this week I’ve found myself in Madison, WI, a virant city of about 250,000 that’s home to Badgers, Mallards, and four stunning lakes.

Day one: JPH, 100state, and Rain

I didn’t expect the rain. I probably should have but I didn’t and ended up in the middle of the rainstorm after an excellent breakfast at Johnson Public House on E. Johnson Street. The barista there described the coffee he served me as a punch in the face. He was not wrong but, paired with a breakfast sandwich, it was exactly what I needed to get going in the morning.

Burnies Rock Shop as seen from JPH

After working a couple hours there I decided to drop in on 100state, a non-profit co-working space right off of Capitol Square. If you’ve never been to Madison, Capitol Square is pretty wonderful. Like DC, Madison has a height restriction, only the one here is more explicit about the buildings being shorter than the capitol. It’s also on one of the highest spots in the city so no matter where you are, you can probably catch a glimpse if you orient yourself correctly.

Emanating from the capitol is a system of four annular streets that fill in the isthmus between lakes Monona and Mendota. From the center leading directly west to the University is State Street, a pedestrian and public transit only zone. Right off the square, sharing a building with Wisconsin’s Secretary of State, is a small, non-profit co-working spot called 100state.

Though I’ve only once been to UberOffices in DC, I’d be surprised if other co-working spaces were much different from the sterile, silent, sparse environment that cost anywhere from $40-$75 per month for a eight hours at a table with Internet. 100state’s small staff described themselves as being a “member driven” non-profit that recouped its operating costs through usage fees that make their more expensive, commercial counterparts look like scams.

The inimitable Mickey's

Lunch at Ian’s Pizza because of course. Chicken burrito pizza, 1 slice; wish I had seen they had Sprechers in the fountain, guess there’s always tomorrow.

The day rounded out with a trip to Willy Street for a haircut and a burger at the inimitable Mickey’s Tavern. Even in the rain Madison is a warm place. Wish I had more time to engage with the civic tech community at Hacking Madison and learn more about what people are shipping in the Badger State.

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