Wage Slaves: Tales from the Grind

We are thrilled to invite you to join us for a special event at Office Nomads! Please join us and this wonderful crew for an evening of prose.

tales from the grind

Wage Slaves: Tales from the Grind
Thursday, March 13, 6:30-8 pm (during Capitol Hill Arts Walk)

Six Seattle authors read stories and poems about the jobs they’ve loved, lost, hated, tolerated, and sometimes, quit in a frenzied rage. Featuring Maged Zaher (2013 Stranger Genius, Thank You for the Window Office), Peter Mountford (The Dismal Science, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism), Jane Hodges (Rent vs. Own, My Year of Living Posthumously), Matthew Nienow (The End of the Folded Map, Best New Poets 2007 and 2012), Sierra Golden (poems forthcoming in Chicago Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and Permafrost), and Michelle Goodman (The Anti 9-to-5 Guide, My So-Called Freelance Life). Coffee and doughnuts provided. Free and open to the public. More details at http://seattlewageslaves.com/


Maged Zaher is the author of Thank You for the Window Office (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me (Tinfish Press, 2012), and Portrait of the Poet as an Engineer (Pressed Wafer, 2009). His collaborative work with the Australian poet Pam Brown, Farout Library Software, was published by Tinfish Press in 2007. His translations of contemporary Egyptian poetry have appeared in Jacket MagazineBanipal, and Denver Quarterly. He performed his work at Subtext, Bumbershoot, the Kootenay School of Writing, St. Marks Project, Evergreen State College, and The American University in Cairo. Maged is the recipient of the 2013 Genius Award in Literature from the Seattle weekly The Stranger.

Peter Mountford‘s debut novel A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism won the 2012 Washington State Book Award. His second novel The Dismal Science was recently published by Tin House Books. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Granta, Boston Review, Southern Review, Best New American Voices 2008, and numerous other anthologies and magazines. He’s currently a writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House.

Matthew Nienow is the author of three chapbooks, the most recent of which is The End of the Folded Map (2011). A 2013 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellow, he has also been recognized with grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, 4Culture, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His poems have appeared in Poetry,New England ReviewPoetry Northwest, and two editions of the Best New Poets anthology. He lives in Port Townsend with his wife and two sons, where he builds boats and works as a writer-in-residence at a small private school.

Michelle Goodman is the award-winning author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide and My So-Called Freelance Life, both published by Seal Press. Her essays and journalism have appeared in dozens of publications, including Salon, Vice, Bust, The Magazine, The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Seattle magazine, and several anthologies. She’s currently writing a book called Crap Job: How to Make the Most of the Job You Hate, which Seal Press will publish in 2015.

Jane Hodges is a Seattle-based business writer and author of Rent vs. Own. In 2012 she became power of attorney for both her father and her uncle. They each died, forcing her, grieving, back to the South she had fled like a prison escapee. There, in her executrix role, she found herself hocking jewelry at Southern Bullion, pawning a gun, skirting tornados, hacking into e-mail and bank accounts, trying to divest mountain plots and timeshares, and lurking at the Oconee County dump. Navigating Dixie with a catty ex-military rent-a-brother, a gypsy jazz CD, and her Letters Testamentary, she wound up in an existential crisis she’s chronicling in a memoir in progress, My Year of Living Posthumously.

Sierra Golden received her MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. Winner of the program’s 2012 Academy of American Poets Prize, Golden’s work appears widely in literary journals such as Roanoke Review, Fourth River, and Tar River Poetry. New poems are forthcoming in Permafrost and PloughsharesShe has spent many summers in Alaska working as a commercial fisherman.

Coworking Europe: this is big.


I just returned from an excursion to France, where the start of my trip was completely absorbed with the Coworking Europe Conference in Paris. They call it a coworking conference, but I can tell you confidently that when this group of people got together – 300 people representing 30 nationalities – the conference was about much more than just coworking.

The bulk of conversations surrounding this 3-day event were about connecting to the higher purposes of coworking. How coworking fits into a bigger conversation about our changing world – economically, politically, and socially. We discussed how coworking is – amongst other things – a manifestation of changes we are a part of in every corner of the world.

Coworking and jobs. We heard from Tony Bagicaglupo, Mayor of New Work City, about the ever-evolving “why” of coworking. When so many of us started our spaces, the “why” of coworking was to bring together a community of independent workers who were otherwise isolated in their homes and cafes. But as our spaces evolve, and as coworking spaces from around the world connect, share, and collaborate, we are learning that the “why” of coworking is becoming much, much bigger. For Tony, the “why” has now become a channel through which we can work to fix the job crisis ourselves. His rallying cry to the independent workforce of the world is to stop waiting around for jobs to “be created” by big companies, and instead create the jobs ourselves.

Coworking and political action. Joel Dullroy of Deskmag highlighted the increasing population of freelancers during his presentation on Day 2, and called out coworking spaces as “new political meeting houses” for the independent workforce. For the independent workforce (Joel was speaking specifically about freelancers, but I believe similar conclusions can be drawn to any independent), coworking spaces provide a gathering place and a sharing platform in addition to being a place to work. While on a day-to-day basis this might enable independents to work better and connect with others, coworking spaces also provide a rallying point for independents when they may need it most. He ran us through the story of Germany’s proposed €350 “retirement tax” on freelancers, and how through the power of grassroots organizing (in part via coworking spaces) freelancers were able to raise their voices and strike down the tax.

Coworking and community resilience. I was a part of many conversations about the art of cultivating a coworking community, the beauty of multiple communities emerging out of one coworking space, and how cultivating community is a skill worth learning beyond just it’s implications in the coworking world. The value of a strong, diverse community is possible to see on a day-to-day basis in the form of vibrant conversations, the sharing of skills, and the joy of shared experience. But the power of community is highlighted in an incredibly powerful sense when it is able to demonstrate it’s resilience. Tony Bagicaglupo started off his talk reviewing the quick response by coworking spaces in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in New York. We often talk about how a coworking community isn’t about the space it is in, and Tony gave us a clear view of that truth in practice.

I could continue to wax on and on about the many lessons I learned in Paris and I likely will for years to come. But know this – I’ll definitely be at Coworking Europe 2013. This is a conference not to be missed.

Big thanks to Tilman Vogler and Deskwanted for the use of these photos from Coworking Europe! 



Two things you should know

Two floors of coworking at Office Nomads is awesome!

We’re having a great time getting to know our new first floor space, and are loving it more and more each day. If you haven’t come by to check it out, you should – we’re open M-F from 8:30-6 as usual. We’re always happy to give you a quick tour of the space and answer all of your coworking questions. In fact, we have a whole new team of Community Cultivators on hand who are there to help you get acquainted with all the goings-on in the space (we’ll tell you more about them soon – I promise!).

Specifically, if you are interested in becoming a Resident, you can take advantage of the opportunity to pay 6-months in advance and receive a little

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discount. Drop by and chat us up and we’d be more than happy to tell you all about it.

November 1: Office Nomads turns 5

We are throwing a big Open House event on November 1st and we want you to be there! Please join us in celebrating 5 amazing years of coworking on Capitol Hill, our newly expanded space, and the fabulous team that makes Office Nomads work so well. You can RSVP here via Facebook, or just come on by between 6-9pm on Thursday, November 1st. Families, friends, coworkers and colleagues are most welcome to attend.

A Field Trip to Cedar Grove Composting Facility

Last Wednesday a cadre of Nomads took a trip to Cedar Grove, the family-owned composting facility in Everett that handles the yard and food waste from King and Snohomish counties. When you put your coffee grounds, chopsticks, eggshells, orange peels, leftover Pud Thai, sandwiches, bonsai trees, and approved food packaging into the green compost bins at Office Nomads, this is where it ends up!

Hey! Don’t eat that!

They use a 3-phase Gore system (as in Gore-Tex, the company that makes the breathable covers for the composting piles) to turn organic urban waste into various garden soils and mulches.  In fact, theirs is the largest Gore system in the world!  It turns out over 400,000 tons of rich, fertile goodness every year.

And this bald eagle owns all of it.

The first phase grinds and sorts the waste into pieces no bigger than 4 inches.  Then it is churned in with wood chips, which are important to balance out the abundance of green yard waste they receive.  “Green” materials contain lots of nitrogen, while “brown” materials like wood have lots of carbon.  Getting the right balance is critical to making good compost.  Then, they use front-loaders to move the compost into long piles, which are aerated and sprayed with just the right amount of water for decomposition.  The next phase continues this, and the final one involves “curing,” i.e. letting the compost rest until it naturally darkens in color.

Conveyor system moving the compost from intake to Stage 1.

A long pile of compost in Stage 2

Their “recipes” for nitrogen and carbon (green and brown organic waste, respectively) ratios vary throughout the year in order to produce a uniform final product.  For example, they have a grass recipe, a pumpkin recipe, and a Christmas tree recipe, depending on what they’re getting seasonally from consumers.  They also modify the recipes with nutrients such as manure and loam to make the different products they sell to gardeners and landscapers.

Vesting up for safety

We were able to walk right up to the giant rows of compost to see and feel the various stages of decomposition.  Most were under their Gore-Tex covers, but in the final stage they are out in the open air.  We were able to touch them to feel how hot they get–the composting organic material naturally heats up to about 175 degrees!  This hot composting action works even in the dead of winter.

Veena feels the warmth

On a sad note, there were pieces of shredded plastic visible in all the piles. While they have a system to remove most of the plastic and metal that gets tossed in with the organic waste, seeing the plastic bags all piled in tall heaps was enough to make any Italian-actor-playing-a-Native-American-chief cry.  It might not seem like a big deal to toss a bag closure in with the spinach, but it adds up fast–and the result is pretty upsetting.  They can’t even sell some of their compost anymore because of all the plastic.

Huge magnet they use to remove metal

But encouragingly, everyone we met was super sweet, optimistic, and very passionate about composting. It was such a nerdy good time that we’d love to organize more field trips in the future.  Next up, we’re going to see if we can visit the recycling center to learn how that magic happens.  Onward to more adventures!

Celebrating Coworking

As August 9th approaches, we are getting ready to celebrate yet another fabulous year of coworking – both here in Seattle and across the globe. That’s right, August 9th is Coworking Day!

That's where we'll be on August 9th!

We waxed poetic about it a bit last year, and now this year we are excited to do a little bit more than just talk about what coworking means. We’re going to show Seattle what coworking IS. Teaming up with our coworkers as a part of Coworking Seattle, we’re participating in Seattle’s first-ever Coworking Day celebration. Coworkers from all over the city will converge on beautiful Gasworks Park from 3-7pm for a little bit of working and then a lot of celebrating. We’ll have WiFi provided by Clear, picnic benches to sit upon, and even a little grill provided by Ryan of Coworking Eastlake.

So come August 9, pack up your laptop (and maybe a drink and something to throw on the grill), get yourself on down to Gasworks (either on your own or at one of the coordinated pickup spots with rides from our friends at Uber), and come celebrate coworking. We hope to see you there!

Event details: http://coworkingseattle.org/Coworking_Day.html
RSVP page: http://coworkingdayseattle.eventbrite.com/

This Week At Office Nomads

Fremont Meetup a Success!

Thanks to all who were able to make it out to the first meetup about the opening of our second coworking space. It was great to see some new faces along with some current members, and to get to hear more about what folks are looking for when it comes to building our next coworking community.

Hosting meetups such as we did last night is an important step in the early days of any coworking space. Not only is it important for us to provide a space for members of the community to give recommendations and pose requests for how the space will work, but  there is huge value in creating a way for members to actually get involved in the process. As we’ve said before, people support what they help to create. We hope that folks who are interested in this earlier phase will join us to go visit spaces, continue to brainstorm with us as we develop the plans for the space, and get to know other members before we open the doors to the next space.

If you missed the event, never fear – the next one will be soon! And as always, if you have any suggestions, feedback, or recommendations to make, drop us an e-mail at grow AT officenomads DOT com so we can get you in the conversation.

Neighborhood Campaign Update

Happy new year everyone! We are hitting the ground running in 2011 and are excited for the next steps towards opening another coworking space in Seattle.

We wanted to write with an update on the Neighborhood Campaign we launched in November. After hearing from approximately 120 potential members (whoa!), we can now confidently say that we are now focusing our efforts north of the shipping canal. The majority of our responses were for Ballard, Fremont, and Greenlake. We’re thrilled!

So what’s next? Well, we’d love to meet those of you who are really interested in our next space! We’d like to invite you to join us for a casual coworking meet up on Thursday, January 27th from 5-7pm at The Red Door in Fremont. We will give an update on our progress, and will talk about the future space and how it might work. Please RSVP by either adding yourself to the Facebook event or by e-mailing grow AT officenomads DOT com.

Hope to see you there!

Coworking Europe 2010


I was honored to be invited to speak at the first Coworking Europe conference in Brussels. The conference was amazing. I love talking about coworking and how great was it to be in a room with 120 other coworking enthusiasts. There were a number of folks from the US but I was the only space owner. I met people from all over including Brussels of course, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Russia, The Netherlands, lots of people from Germany and as far away as Latvia and the Ukraine. There were folks opening up spaces, established space owners, researchers, government officials, as well as representatives from Cisco, Medusa, and Steelcase.

The event was at The Hub Brussels which I have to say is an impressive coworking space. They have 5 very gracious hosts that work hard to make everything go smoothly for all their guests. The setup they have is a little different then how we do it at Office Nomads. For one, there are no resident desks. This leaves the room pretty flexible and everything is on wheels to make it even more so. We showed up on a Thursday morning and the office was in full swing. The next day, the first day of the conference, they had transformed everything into a large event space. Saturday, after everything was wrapped up, we watched as the hosts put it all back in a period of less then 15 minutes.

I talked fellow nomad Trevor into coming along so we could talk to folks about Nadine, the open source coworking software project we are working on. We also talked quite a bit about the CoworkingDB project and the topic of coworking affiliations and networks came up quite a bit. I’m still processing all the conversations so I’m not sure what to report on at this time.

After Brussels we went on to Amsterdam. We were stuck in our hotel for the first day due to stomach sickness but the second day we made it over to The Hub Amsterdam. From the Coworker.NL site, and from what we were told at The Hub, it seems there is quite a bit of coworking. I was not able to find anything on the coworking wiki and couldn’t get in touch with the folks behind coworker.nl. I would have liked to have more time to visit smaller independent spaces and make more connections in Amsterdam. It’s a great city and I would love to spend more time there.

Next stop was Berlin, where I am now. Alex Lang, one of the bright minds behind Cobot, put us up at his apartment which is quite nice. He’s traveling in Istanbul so we don’t get to hang out with him more. Today we are hanging out in Co.Up, his coworking space and there is a great atmosphere here. Lots of natural light and it didn’t take long before we were engaged in some great conversations with Thilo, Alex’s partner, and Jan, a member and developer for CouchDB. Yesterday I spent the day at Betahaus and had lunch with founders Christoph and Tonia. In the evening I went out to dinner with the team behind Club-Office. Between Co.Up, Betahaus, and Club-Office I’ve seen quite a spectrum of coworking here. If I lived in Berlin I’d have a hard time choosing between Betahaus and Co.Up since they both feel like home. Perhaps I wouldn’t choose.

We have a little more time here in Berlin and then Trevor flies back to Seattle and I fly to London on my own. I have plans to check out The Hubs and The Cube as well as Hub Culture, and Tech Hub which have nothing to do with The Hub. Also meeting with Richard from WorkSnug, an iPhone app that helps folks find a place to work.

This Week At Office Nomads

It’s a short week

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here but it’s loaded with fun. Well, at least Wednesday is. Yoga, pies and beer, and then a farewell/congrats/good luck Happy Hour for Ryan Salva.

Remember, Thursday and Friday we will be closed. Hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!