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,

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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 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!

We’re turning three!

This time three years ago, Jacob and I were nervously working through the process of negotiating a great lease for our space here on Boylston Ave.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. All we had was a great idea, some fantastic friends to help us realize it, and finally, 5000 square feet to try and make it happen.

Three years later, we couldn’t be more excited about all that has happened at Office Nomads. Since that first day, more than 500 people have come through our doors – some staying for just a day, while others have been here nearly every day since we opened. We’ve seen new businesses hatched, clients wooed, friendships forged, and yoga habits begun. It has been an incredible journey thus far, and we are encouraged and bolstered by the energy and excitement that comes from our space each day. It is a dream come true.

With our sincerest gratitude to our members and friends, let us thank you (with beer and cake)!

Please join us at the office on Thursday, October 14th from 6-9pm for our next open house and anniversary party! It’ll be a special night and we’ll have some special announcements to make. Please RSVP here on Facebook. And feel free to invite a friend or two!

Open House THIS Thursday!

The summer open house is going to ROCK! Please join us this Thursday, July 8th from 6-9pm for an evening of photography, info on sharing resources in Capitol Hill, and all the usual shenanigans you find during our quarterly celebrations. RSVP here and let us know you’re coming! Here are all the details on the fun:

  • New art! We are incredibly pleased to welcome Youth In Focus to the office walls for the next several months. Youth In Focus is a fantastic Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering urban teens, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and make positive changes in their lives. As part of the Blitz! Capitol Hill Art Walk, we’re incredibly excited to host this new round of art! You can read more about the featured show by clicking over to our Featured Artist page.
  • Zipcar in the House! We’re not the only ones in town who think that sharing resources (like offices) is a great idea. We’ve teamed up with Zipcar to offer great discounts to our members, and hope to step forward even more to inspire our Capitol Hill neighbors to share with one another. Sharing resources like cars and offices means that we can each make less of an impact on the planet as an individual. Come and chat with the good folks at Zipcar at our event to learn more about what they’re doing in Seattle and in other great cities across the country!
  • Coworking Seattle Meetup! If you’re interested in joining in for a great pre-event, please join us for the Coworking Seattle July meetup. Our group will be talking about great opportunities to share marketing costs, and how our little organization can help to promote coworking throughout our great city. You can RSVP via the Facebook Event if you’re up for joining us!

That’s about it! If you’d like to join us, you can RSVP to let us know you’re coming (and help us determine how big the keg will be!). All are most welcome, so bring a few friends along and make us a part of your summer Thursday night.

**Important PS: We’ve got A/C, so if you’re out there sweltering in the new-found Seattle heat, come on in for some relief and a cool refreshing drink. :)

Open House Success!

Wow! The January Open House was a great time!  Thanks to everyone who stopped by.  It was great to see everyone and catch up.happy

For those of you who missed out, I understand the weather was rather terrible that evening.  But, you missed out on some pretty spectacular fun.  Josh, from Bluebird Ice Cream, scooped out some incredible ice cream for everyone to try.  He very quickly ran out of the vegan coconut mint chocolate chip and there was a good reason why.  I had no idea vegan ice cream could be so fantastic!  The Stumptown ice cream and the snickerdoodle were also really delicious and it was all finished off by the time the night came to a close.    Mychal Richardson’s photography was a great conversation piece and had many people quietly going from one photo to the next reading about how each individual pictured fought for their rights.  I think we all came away inspired.  See more of his work on his website or stop by and check them out!

A big thanks must also go to Andy Aupperlee of Explosion 5000.  He took over the Green Room and shot portraits of our Open House attendees and their New Years Resolutions.  The results are rather amazing and you should make sure to read about it on his website and look at his Flickr page.

A big thanks to all of you who could come out.  Hopefully see you all at our next Open House!

Thanks to Flickr user Sukanto Debnath for use of the above photo through the Creative Commons License

January Open House

It’s January so that means it’s time for our January Open House! Fitting, right? Well, we are really excited for this month’s open house on January 14th from 6 PM to 9 PM when we’ll open our doors to the wholecommunity to celebrate art, coworking and each other.

office nomads

What: January Open House

When: Thursday, January 14th from 6 PM-9 PM

Where: Office Nomads- 1617 Boylston Ave, Second Floor

Food and Drink: We’ve got the goods, just bring your pint glass!

We are proud to be part of Capitol Hill Art Walk again this month and are featuring the beautiful photography of Mychal Richardson of Lost Photography. His show, “Faces of Washington” was created for the ACLU and includes seventeen 36″ by 36″ black and white portraits of courageous individuals from all across Washington State who fought for their rights and the rights of

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others. It is an inspiring show and one not to be missed.

Something we are very excited about is the opportunity to be part of the art! Andy Aupperlee of Explosion 5000 will be here taking photos of you and your New Years Resolutions. Andy is really excited to have some fun with these photography so bring a big smile and your creativity to be expressed in the photobooth. At the same time, we have partnered with a couple local businesses in an effort to tempt you away from some of those New Years Resolutions. Ice cream from Bluebird Ice Cream and beer from Elysian Brewing always are incredibly delicious and will both be here. Make sure your bring a sweet tooth and your pint glass!

The only thing that could make the Open House any greater would be you! We hope you can join us and bring along your great friends and family. What better way to celebrate winter, photography and the neighborhood than with our community? We look forward to seeing you!

The Value of Community Input

It seems to be a hot week for community input here in Seattle.  Throughout the week, we’ve seen community input being gathered at venues such as design review sessions on Capitol Hill, the open-source transition process for Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn, and even here at Office Nomads with Tuesday’s “State of the Nomads” meeting.

What each of these opportunities provides is a chance for members of a community to weigh in and help guide the direction of the community they are a part of.  As opposed to more traditional business models which try to anticipate the needs or desires of a market, community input enables a business, a nonprofit, a governmental body, or any other organization to truly map their offerings to what the community desires.

This was the second time we held a State of the Nomads gathering at Office Nomads, and it was another success for our community.  Members had a chance to hear how Office Nomads was doing as a business, what initiatives we were currently working on, and then weigh in their opinions and concerns on all aspects of Nomadic life.  This is a critical aspect to how we want Office Nomads to continue growing and thriving – with the community instead of in front of it.

Community input is more than just watching activity on a blog or a Facebook page.  It requires time.  Patience.  Solid listening skills. It is, as Tara Hunt would say, about turning the bullhorn around.  Community input is the cornerstone of building anything that is meant to serve a community need.  Whether for a building, a service, or an entire government office, community input allows for the voices of the community to be heard.  But as Steve, one of our Office Nomads members said at State of the Nomads, “you have to participate in what is made available to you.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, Steve.

So get out there in your community and start letting your voice be heard.  You might be surprised at how receptive those your speaking to are to your needs.

Holy Feedback!

(Thanks to Flickr User Audin for providing this photo “Holy Feedback!” as part of the Creative Commons license.)

Big Ideas

Last night I was happy to present a quick 3-minute stint on coworking at Great City’s “What’s the Big Idea?” event. This was the first time they’ve held an event like this, and it seems like they got enough positive support to host more in the future.

I was excited to share a big idea for Seattle, and am now happy to pass along some of what I presented. Ideas are still very much in the initial stages, but if any of this catches your eye and you want to get involved or pick our brains about it, definitely get in touch!

Coworking Seattle: A Platform for Shared Working Spaces in Seattle
Coworking is a community-based approach to getting work done. Coworking spaces exist to provide shared resources to independent workers and telecommuters to allow them a sustainable, local, professional option when it comes to trying to successfully “work from home.” Seattle has put coworking on the map in the pacific northwest and has proven that it can succeed. Coworking is recognized as a method by which cities can drive innovation and encourage collaboration – key success matrices when it comes to surviving difficult economic times. Worldwide, there are over 165 coworking spaces currently in operation, and coworking has attracted the attention of a wide spread of media outlets.

Why are coworking spaces a big idea for Seattle? These spaces are a simple, resource-efficient way to address the transportation issue in our city. They encourage urban sustainability by encouraging individuals to work closer to where they live without sacrificing their sanity and professionalism by trying to work from their living rooms. Coworking spaces enable citizens to get out out of their cars, save valuable commuting time, and keep their dollars local by supporting other neighborhood businesses. Coworking spaces are economic generators for neighborhoods.

Seattle is current pouring huge amounts of tax dollars into building more roads and bigger transpiration systems to move people all over the Seattle region. While this work is important, it also begs a question: when it comes to daily transportation needs, why not work on encouraging our citizens to stay closer to home? Why push to do more when we could succeed by doing less? We have the technological capacity (access to the internet, virtual private networks, etc.) and city-sponsored programs to support increased telecommuting in our area. As the job market tightens, we see more and more individuals deciding to strike out on their own and start their own businesses. Instead of asking these people to attempt to succeed by working isolated at home or amongst noisy cafes, why not support shared workspaces which not only allow individuals to work in their own neighborhoods, but also to share resources and save energy by

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sharing space?

There are an average of 210,000 cars going over and back on the floating bridges each day. This is a shock, and an embarrassment to our city as we claim to be an environmentally friendly place to live. Seattle can do better, and Seattle must to better. Coworking spaces, whether for desk jockeys, caterers, woodworkers, or artists, are one way in which our city could take a strong step forward in making a difference. In our current market, and with so many commercial offices spaces laying vacant, we cannot afford not to. An effort which combines the energy of private coworking spaces and leverages their knowledge to support public spaces is going to be key to making these spaces available to all.

We’re havin’ a party…

BirthdayParty

…and you’re invited!

It’s officially time to celebrate Office Nomads turning two! That’s right, we’ll be crossing into our third year coworking in Seattle, and want to throw a party to celebrate. Here are the

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important details:

Office Nomads Turns TWO!
Thursday, October 8
6-10pm
@OfficeNomads – 1617 Boylston Ave., Second Floor

As usual, there will be drinks, food, and great people. We’ll also be featuring new art from Kuros Zahedi, who’s beautiful piece “Garden of Hope” has been living in our main conference room for almost a year now. More of his art will be out and about throughout the space, and it is not to be missed! This date syncs up with the Blitz! Capitol Hill Art Walk – so if you’re planning on attending the art walk, make Office Nomads a stop for sure!

Come on by, meet the awesome members of Office Nomads, and raise a glass with us as we celebrate our first two years.

Want to RSVP to let us know you’re coming? Here are some of the spots you can find the event online (because everyone has their favorite…):

Facebook
Twitvite
Upcoming

We can’t wait to see you!

Biznik’s First Jelly!


Q13 is doing a story on the Seattle Jelly scene

Q13 is doing a story on the Seattle Jelly scene

Karrie Kohlhaas of ThoughtShot Consulting hosted her first Jelly here at Office Nomads today. Jellies first

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started in NYC to bring creative folks together that had been stuck in home offices. They have since spread and grown and are saving people from isolation world wide. It’s a simple format where you shout out to your community that you will be working from a certain location and invite people to join you. Karrie posted this event on Biznik and it quickly filled up. People are eager to get out of the house and find social interaction that doesn’t interfere with their work. Coworking and Jelly have tight histories and I’m excited Seattle is embracing the concept. There is also a Facebook page to unite folks and hopefully make these happen more often.

Q13 was here to do a story on the event and the wider Jelly scene. We are not sure when that will go live and we’ll keep you posted.

It’s a busy day here at Office Nomads. Not only are Biznik and Q13 running around but the front area only has one free desk today and that is after we added four more a few weeks ago. What

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a great way to start the week! I thought I heard someone say something about the economy not doing so hot but from where I sit things are getting pretty exciting.