This is my IQ: Darren Buckner

Something magical happened when I wrote a line of code, loaded it, and saw it do something on the screen.

The pathway to innovation is anything but a straight line. Sometimes the journey takes a decidedly different turn when a simple spark results in unexpectedly positive consequences.

Like the journey of Darren Buckner, who started his career protecting the front doors of nightclubs as a bouncer until a moment of inspiration at Portland State University led him down the path of entrepreneurship, a path which earned him a front row seat for observing and building innovative new models to support the workforce of the future.

“I started learning how to code when I was 19. During my first year of college at PSU, I took a class titled ‘Intro to Web Development’ where we learned some very basic HTML. Something magical happened when I wrote a line of code, loaded it, and saw it do something on the screen. It was that immediate feedback loop that hooked me. Creation.”

And with that newfound outlet for creativity and creation — coupled with an already fomenting entrepreneurial spirit — Darren found himself on a new path. Driving innovation and leading teams with household names, like the National Football League.

But a deep seated entrepreneurial spirit kept tugging at him.

“In many ways the time I spent building software for big media companies — like the NFL and NBC Universal — was a driver back towards working on my own terms.

“I've had the entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. I had started my first official business just before my 20th birthday. By 22, I had a consistent stream of contract and freelance work that supplemented my nightclub income. So I suppose it was only a matter of time that I'd find myself determined to build something meaningful again.”

And that experience, creativity, innovation, and insight has helped Darren build his current pursuit, Workfrom, which is currently the largest database of alternative workspaces in the world.

“I was inspired to build Workfrom because I found myself time and time again wanting a resource like it. It kept coming up in conversations I'd have with my peers, and I knew there was a huge opportunity to help usher in a new era of how and where we work. “

Need a cafe with good wifi speeds in Kuala Lumpur? Maybe looking for a quiet restaurant with lots of outlets in Omaha, Nebraska? Or perhaps you’re simply tired of working by yourself and are looking for a few suggestions for coworking spaces? For each and every one of those questions, Workfrom has answers.

And providing these answers has given Darren a whole new perspective on how people work. And how the way they work is changing.

“The pace of innovation around workers and workspaces isn’t keeping pace with the modern day workforce. There is a fundamental need for new forms of support systems.

“Over the past 150 years we've built ecosystems to support the 9-5 workday and daily commute. As these cultural staples continue to melt away, we require new ecosystems for living and working in the 21st century.”

And that’s what Workfrom is doing. Innovating on the bleeding edge of the future work. From right here in the Portland IQ.

“Our health, wellbeing, and productivity are all interconnected. As we continue to innovate around working on our own terms, we need to ensure our basic desire to be social, and collaborative is being met independent of our location—and to ensure innovation is happening on these important fronts as well

“I want to explore the positive psychological and emotional outcomes of a world where we don't spend 8+ hours of our day working in the same space as our teammates. Where our homes become primary places of work. And where the unique dynamics that arise from traditional boundaries between work and home are erased. I think addressing the challenges of this journey will be the most impactful as a society.”

Leave it to a Portlander to rethink how infrastructure and space needs to support the way people work, live, and play, with an entirely fresh take on placemaking in a city that is often at the frontlines of urban planning and innovation.  

Interested in learning more? Feel free to connect with Darren on LinkedIn.  

Rick Turoczy