Treefort 2014: Hackfort Panel Asks, 'Why Boise?' 

"Once we've brought people in, how do we make them feel accepted?"

click to enlarge Left to right: Matt Messinger, Will Foster and Michael Reed

Harrison Berry

Left to right: Matt Messinger, Will Foster and Michael Reed

Hackfort may be a new addition to the Treefort Music Fest roster, but March 21 at El Korah Shrine, a panel of Boise techies worked to answer a question increasingly relevant to music fans, culture enthusiasts and business culture alike: Why Boise?

The panel of technologist-entrepreneurs, comprising Will Foster, Matt Messinger and Jackson Reed, discussed Boise's merits, business risk-taking culture and making the city more attractive to talent outside the Treasure Valley.

"Boise is a great place to go for that quality of life aspect," Reed said. 

But as much as the panel discussion opened to banter about Boise's easy access to recreation and cultural opportunities, many in the crowd wondered about recruitment and the city's friendliness to outsiders.

"Once we've brought people in, how do we make them feel accepted?" asked one member of the audience who moved to Boise from the East Coast and said he'd experienced local hostility directed toward those not from Boise.

But the panelists disagreed that xenophobia is a problem. 

"I don't feel it a lot, I guess," countered Foster.

"I don't feel 'hostile' is the right word," said Reed. 

There was, however, a general consensus that Boise has evolved to become a more tech-centric place. One audience member asked what the major changes have been that have affected that evolution.

"I think it's the number of start-up grind. There are a number of people in this room who have put themselves out there to get the scene going," said Reed.
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