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10 Things the Volano Team Loves About Omaha

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Some of us are transplants and some of us are lifers. Some of us have strong roots here, and some of us admittedly long for the coast or a mountain range, but we can all agree that Omaha is a great place for the Volano Team for several reasons…

The Tech Community

We’re in what’s known as the Silicon Prairie; an emerging tech hub right smack dab in the middle of the US. Tech talent has recently been drawn to cities like Omaha for the abundance of job opportunities and our strong economy. There are even great resources like code schools and internships all over the city to get the next generation involved in tech and keeping the tech community growing strong.

The Entrepreneurial Support

Not only can Omaha area entrepreneurs lean on our great economy and strong pipeline of tech talent, the community support of our entrepreneurs is pretty insane here. Investors and connections don’t just fall in your lap, but they certainly aren’t impossible to find. Coworking spaces and incubators are popping up all over the city to foster the growth of startups and entrepreneurs.

Omaha is Becoming More Walkable and Bike-Friendly

We’re seeing more bike lanes and more people using them. The city has also made plans to bring in an expert on making cities more walkable. We’re about a 7 minute bike ride from the heart of downtown, in NoDo (or North Downtown), so safe walking and biking is a huge plus for us.

The Music Scene

With several awesome, funky, divey venues around town, you can have your pick of genres in the underground music scene here in Omaha. You can catch a show somewhere around town just about any night of the week. We’ve even had a few successful recording studios pop up with great promise.

We Have an Abundance of Great Food Trucks

The food truck scene exploded in Omaha in the last few years and we couldn’t be happier about it. Every Friday a different food truck comes to our building and we have yet to be disappointed. That might just be the best part. You can find food trucks in any other city just as easily…but are they anywhere as good? We think not.

The Art and Craftsmanship Community

We’re builders, it’s what we do! Some of us are even part of the Omaha Makers Group. There are a lot of events and organizations that support the arts and craftsmanship in and around Omaha. You can see a strong embrace of the repurposing movement here in Omaha, with a unique blend of old and new; you can see it everywhere from our art to our architecture.

The Economy

The strong economy here makes it a little easier to compete for and attract great software development talent. It also makes it easier for us to offer a healthy work/life balance. The folks in Omaha don’t live to work, they work to live and fortunately, that’s a currency we can get behind.

The Folks are Friendly

It’s kind of like an airplane around here, if you don’t want to chat with someone, you should keep your earbuds in…and even that doesn’t always work. People are just plain friendly in Omaha. There are always outliers, but you’ll just about always catch a smile and a wave on your walk, whether you know a soul or not.

Craft Brewing is Huge

Not gonna lie, if this list had an order, this might be #1. The craft brewing scene has blown up. We now have several really top notch breweries around town. There probably isn’t a day you can walk into the Volano office and not see a growler sitting around waiting for the next fill up.

The CWS is in Our Backyard

Not literally, but if we had a backyard at the office and it was one block away, the CWS would be in our backyard. It’s a really fun time in Omaha and a really fun time at the Volano office. We can walk to the stadium, hang out around the tailgates, or make that short bike ride to the heart of downtown.

My Office is Straight Crazy

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It’s not uncommon to think at times that the people with whom you spend the majority of your waking hours might be a little eccentric.  I believe Volano may have an above average number of employees with sociopathic tendencies and I obviously mean that in the most affectionate way.  I can see how one might take that statement out of context.  This is a video recording of one of our applicants who was hired that day.

The Crazies Sitting Next to Me

We have employed people who, among other things, created wildly imaginative, phallic sticky-note art (and maintained the collection in a plastic Ghostbusters lunchbox).  Another keeps a side view mirror attached to his monitor, presumably to prevent having to continually crook his neck when people congregate and walk behind his desk.  This is his explanation.  He has no explanation then for the completely unnecessary desk turning signal.  Another developer runs half-marathons, a clear sign of psychosis.  Three of us have had or are about to have babies.  What kind of sick person willfully submits to that life station?  And last week, as Sonos blared the faux lounge act Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine (check them out post-haste) doing tight, lounge versions of iconic and profane classic pop songs, they laughed and carried on like middle school kids do when the substitute shows up.

Evaluation Time

I finally decided to educate myself on identifying the characteristics of a psychopath.  In the interest of science, I Wikipedia’d (this is now a verb, feel free to use accordingly) the Rorschach Inkblot test and decided to administer it to our staff.  For those of you who did not take Pysch 101 in college, this test was created by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach and used to detect underlying thought disorders.  The psychologist would analyze the perceptions of her patients when exposed to the inkblot images to gain insight on personality characteristics and emotional functioning.  Satisfied with the rigorous guidelines of my study, I e-mailed the picture in this blog out to our staff and asked them to send me the first thought that came to mind.  Answers varied but confirmed my suspicions…

Yikes

  • Kevin – “I see poodles being shot out of a cannon.”
  • Colleen – “I see a tarantula….. oh God what does that mean?  I also saw a bearded man.”
  • Erin – “I see a set of lungs.”
  • Rob – “I see a hockey mask.”
  • David – “I see an x-ray of a pelvic girdle, or if you look at the negative space, two demons laughing as they rip a man’s arms off.  I’m not gonna look at the negative space anymore, it’s too scary.”
  • Kelly – “Definitely a rotund pizza-maker tossing dough over his head.  He is making a pizza for the bones of Jimmy Hoffa, buried under his porch.  Wait, ask me again what I think after lunch.”
  • John – “I see a lobster (upside-down)”
  • Don – “I saw a monkey’s face.”
  • Jeremy H. – “I see two of Sloth from Goonies, facing each other, having a thumb war.”
  • Shane – “I see the Chiquita banana lady with her hand up in the air.”
  • Rod – “I see a buffalo’s face”
  • Dave – I see Crow T. Robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000
  • Gwen – A member of the Maasai tribe with a basket on his/her head.

As you can see, we have some disturbed employees.  We do maintain a high level of professionalism, we just do it through a different set of eyes.  Feel free to submit your interpretation of this image as well.