New Changes

Hello and good day. We had to move our blog to a new host and a new domain name, it seems our other one was owned by a grumpy person and we won’t get into that, but we had to move it, and now here we are with our new and improved site. We do think this coworking blog is important so we wanted to keep it going. We have had many compliments and believe in it. So, here we are. A new home for our blog. We plan on adding to it, we have had many adventures since we started this blog and are ready to add to it in the coming days and weeks. We hope everyone enjoys it as much as we have.


Brie and Joe


What’s Coworking?

Did you know that there is a global community of people dedicated to the values of CollaborationOpennessCommunityAccessibility, and Sustainability in their workplaces?

It’s called Coworking. And people seem to think it’s swell.

  • You can usually find the pulse of coworking in the discussions held at the Coworking Google GroupIntroduce yourself today.
  • Business models, best practices, and 700+ pages of knowledge-base can be found on the Coworking WikiLearncontribute, and help garden the wiki.
  • Announcements and press find their way on to the Coworking Blog. Look for @GoneCoworking posts and suggest new content.

New Book Helps Freelancers Escape The Coffee Shop Office

If you’ve ever tried to explain coworking to a skeptical audience, and wished for a resource that would convey all the benefits along with reasons to give it a try, this book is for you!

Fast on the heels of the first-ever ebook for coworking space catalysts comes another riveting read…made for coworkers by coworkers!

Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office (and Tales of Community from Independents Around the World) is designed to help the mobile workforce and small business owners escape the coffee shop or home office, and embrace the coworking movement.

“Anyone can locate a desk and a free internet connection, but coworking provides more,” said Angel Kwiatkowski, the book’s co-author and Madame of Cohere. “It allows independent professionals to participate in a global community that is part support system, part educational network, and part creative think tank.”

This is the book I wish someone would have handed me when I first started freelancing! It walks you through an explanation of coworking, and why it’s different from everything you’ve tried before. It acknowledges that freelancers crave community but often shy away from typical networking events and meetups.

Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office includes vital tips for finding and participating in a coworking community as well as over 30 stories from independent professionals all over the world that are embracing this new style of work.

Today’s mobile workforce is savvy, but their options for workspace and community are limited. Coworking recognizes that freelancers can accomplish more through collaboration, and gives them the solid platform they need to grow and succeed.

Check out a preview of the book, or download your own copy today!

Coworking In The Emerald City: A Visit To Office Nomads

A benefit of being a digital nomad, freelancer, independent/remote worker, virtual CEO, whatever you want to call it, is that you don’t have to be tied down to a specific location if you feel like getting up and going on vacation somewhere. Lately I’ve been feeling less motivated and needing a change in scenery so I decided to hop on a plane and stay with a cousin in a different city for a week.

It also helped that I had some free flights from last year that I needed to use up before they expired.

Not being too busy this month, I decided to head out to Seattle for a week and then from there down to San Diego and stay with cousins who are working in both cities. It seemed like a great chance for me to shake up my surroundings, hang out with cousins, and not even miss a beat with work. Upon hearing about this, Angel, the owner of my home coworking space, mentioned I should drop by another coworking spot and connected me with the wonderful folks at Office Nomads which is in the heart of downtown Seattle on Capitol Hill. She said I could do so because of the….

The Coworking Visa Program

What?! Sounded to me like a new credit card — but it’s way better. Apparently if you’re a member of a coworking space in one city, you can drop in on select coworking spaces around the country (and the world!) while you’re traveling! As a coworker, I had no idea… although now that I think about it, it’s not something you consider: “how am I going to cowork while on vacation?”, because coworking is typically something you only do with others in your own community. But if you’re traveling, definitely check out the Coworking Visa Program to see if there’s a space that you can escape to for getting some work done and possibly connect with other independent professionals like yourself while in another city.

What to Expect

Sometimes, it can be hard to know what to expect when you’re arriving at a new space, so my approach is: expect the worst, but plan for the best. That way you are less likely to be disappointed. Remember that the coworkers you’ll be seeing are there by choice, not force like a corporate office, so they will be very approachable and likely share similar values as yourself of working independently. Just that simple commonality will help you connect with those you meet while coworking.

My Visit to Office Nomads

Immediately when I entered I was greeted by Charles. He introduced himself as a resident member who was helping out with tours, phones, and greeting drop-ins like myself. He gave a quick tour of the space and all the amenities including the kitchen, tea/coffee machine, restroom, all the desks to work at, the meeting rooms, and even showed the mid-day yoga class that was going on. (By the way, a yoga class in a coworking space is an amazing idea!).

Then Charles introduced me to both Susan and Jacob who run Office Nomads and because Wednesdays are the busiest day at the space, I took one of the only available spots on their desk.

The next few hours were filled with a burst of productivity on one of my projects, trying out a few teas in their vast collection, adding to their ingenious “What do you want to do before you die?” wall in the restroom, nerding out on the door that had at least 100 digits of e written out, admiring the collaborative collage wall that was updated live online, and conversing with a few coworkers about their work.

Overall an amazing day, and to top it off — Susan even graciously connected me to another App developer who was a resident member and I later caught up with him to discuss the App industry in which we’re both involved.

As Angel always says — or if she hasn’t said, she’s written — or if she hasn’t written, she’s thought — or if she hasn’t thought, she will at some point — that “Coworking is about spreading awesomeness”. And that’s exactly the vibe I got during my short visit to Office Nomads — a lot of awesomeness was being spread around.

This article is sponsored by our friends over at Little Rock Junk Removal Pros. If you need any junk or waste removed in the Little Rock Area, give them a call!

LEXC Reveals Criteria For “Excellence” In A Coworking Space

Last week, I wrote a quick report about a new coworking space network for Shareable.net. The network, with the slightly cheesy name of “The League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces,” or LEXC for short, was designed to provide a seamless coworking experience for mobile professionals on the go in the United States.

Here’s a little excerpt of the Shareable article:

.”..Traveling, a common requirement for remote and freelance professionals, presents a unique problem for coworking regulars. Not only can it be arduous to locate a coworking space in a new city, but drop-in fees can be an unwelcome expense.

For years coworkers have longed for a streamlined way to access coworking spaces around the world without worrying about membership cards and extra costs. And now it seems that something has arrived.

LEXC is a unique network of coworking spaces with a common standard of excellence. LEXC venues have come together to provide, for the first time, a seamless coworking experience in cities around the US. At long last, members of any LEXC venue now enjoy trusted access and full privileges at any other venue in the network. If you’re a member of one LEXC venue, you’re now a member of all LEXC venues.”

As I shared the piece with my coworking colleagues via social media, I was slightly surprised to see a less than enthusiastic response to this news.

“Oh, I didn’t realize that there were 6 spaces better than the rest,” stated one friend.

“Feels exclusive to me. Concerned about one group determining what spaces are ‘qualified,’” tweeted another.

While I tend to automatically embrace anything that makes it easier for individuals to access the global coworking community, I realized that these cynics had a point: no where on the LEXC.org site did it state what made a coworking space “excellent” or how they had decided which six spaces to include at launch.

Coming from a global community that embraces coworking in many different shapes and sizes, and that in general rejects hierarchy or exclusivity, these were valid concerns. In the interest of clarification, I decided to ask LEXC to provide some insight into the criteria by which they’ll be judging applicants, and what they’re doing to ensure that LEXC is truly about enhanced access for traveling coworkers and not just about a “club” for coworking spaces that have the best funding/amenities.

According to Bill Jacobson of WorkBar in Boston, a few of the things that define LEXC locations include:

  • all are in the prime business of running a coworking space — this isn’t a side project of another main tenant of the space.
  • all provide a mix of hotdesk and dedicated workspaces.
  • all are professionally managed by full-time, dedicated personnel.
  • all thrive on being a diverse community of professionals interested in joining a coworking space to hone and share their skills as much as a place to grow their business.
  • all are committed to providing a combination of workspace, events and education to support members and the surrounding community.

“Hopefully that explains what we mean when we say ‘excellent,’” said Jacobson. “By it, we express that a venue is a truly excellent example of a coworking space. Any qualitative criteria are ultimately subjective, but it’s quite reasonable to say that not all coworking spaces fit these criteria. It’s also reasonable to say that these criteria can make any coworking space better. These are finally, characteristics that we want LEXC members to uniformly expect no matter where they choose to work.”

So it would seem that LEXC’s position is not so much about exclusivity or hierarchy but rather, about offering the user community a dependable experience from the user’s point of view. It’s user-centric versus provider-centric. That’s an important distinction, with emphasis on trust and dependability for the coworkers themselves.

“LEXC is not as much about hierarchy as it is about aspirations and standards,” added Jerome Chang of BLANKSPACES. “Our aim is simply to provide a great experience.  With a fast-growing and increasingly mobile user community and so many different coworking spaces out there, the founding spaces felt we all believed in achieving the same ideals in similar ways. We offer the coworking community a dependable and rewarding experience wherever they find us. This includes everything from ease in locating and booking workspace, to maintaining a clean, friendly, professional environment with commercial grade furnishings and furnishings and infrastructure. We look forward to having others join us who share the same collection of ideals, from service and culture to operations and environment.”

In light of these clarifications, I’d like to re-pose my original question: What do you guys think about LEXC? Does it make coworking spaces more accessible or exclusive? Share your thoughts in a comment or message me on Twitter.

Why Coworking And The Mobile Workforce Can Save The World

Most people think freelancing is radical (not radical cool, but radical weird).

Many people can’t even imagine what it would be like to work someplace other than a corporate office with 3 – 5 “managers” watching you like a hawk.

Even some freelancers find it hard to believe they can earn a living wage without working 60 hours a week.

Deskmag recently published an article about results of the 2011 Freelance Industry Report which found that while around one-third of the U.S. workforce is unemployed (those are 2005 stats btw), only about three percent use coworking spaces or shared offices.

Not surprisingly, the report also found that most freelancers list managing time, staying productive, and maintaining motivation throughout the work week as their biggest challenges.

Remember, you don’t have to become a 24/7 coworking evangelist to help share its solutions with your peers. Don’t inundate your fellow freelancers with articles and tweets. Instead, just let them see how happy you are. Talk about how coworking makes your more productive/connected/profitable. Talk about life before coworking, and the different path down which your business would have traveled if you didn’t find it.

Talk about benefits of coworking that have nothing to do with business or money: like how it gave you back your soul and got you showering again.

The coworking movement is growing rapidly, but there are still millions of professionals trapped in the belief that the 8-hour work day is the only way to work.

Let’s be a good community by setting the record straight. Together, we can save the world from 40 hours in a cube.

Testers Wanted For New Coworking iPhone App!

If you live in the San Francisco area, you and your iPhone are needed…STAT!

Ok, it’s not all that urgent, but it could be a cool opportunity. Some background:

http://www.coffeeandpower.com is an online marketplace that allows mobile or freelance professionals (but it’s not limited) to buy and sell small jobs from one another. (It’s like Fiverr, but with a slightly higher budget and better quality). Lots of people make a decent income finding work on C&P. So the site’s creators decided they’d help out by making it easier for those mobile professionals to find each other and work together in person.

Coffee & Power has a newly minted iPhone coworking app which enables professionals who routinely cowork to rapidly find one another and work together. (You may have previewed this at GCUC where C&P co-founder Fred was demoing it.) It’s available on the iPhone store now.

And here’s the part where you come in:

“We are looking for 10 to 20 people from the San Francisco tech community to help us roll out the next version of Coffee & Power.  We’re developing an iPhone app which enables C&P tech professionals who routinely work in public locations like coffee shops and coworking facilities to rapidly find one another and work together.

“We need help testing and using the early versions of the app as well as greeting and helping newly arriving members as we scale up, and will potentially pay a small weekly stipend if you match these requirements:

You are in tech (design, development, marketing, management)
You cowork at a public location in SF (coffee shop, open co-working facility, etc) 3+ days/week
You have an iPhone (with iOS version 5 or greater)
You are friendly and approachable

“If you meet these requirements and could spare a little time every day to help us, email us at ambassadors -at- coffeeandpower.com with: your favorite places in SF to cowork, a link to your bio/resume/FB, and a quick description of the kind of things you do while coworking.”

Voila! Now go forth, and collaborate!