Member Profile: Legal Wellspring

Coworking is often mistakenly assumed to be part of a “tech” movement. At Office Nomads we love challenging that assumption and highlighting the incredibly diverse bunch of members who call our coworking community home. One professional crew found in our mix that can take people by surprise are our lawyers! We have a small number of people in the legal field who have found coworking to be a way to further their practice and connect with others. We are excited to introduce you to two of our legal minds at Office Nomads: Erin Sperger and Vanessa Ward of Legal Wellspring! Fun fact: Erin published an coworking and ethical considerations for New Worker Magazine. You should check it out after reading more about her and her colleague Vanessa here:

That’s Erin on the left, Vanessa on the right!

What are you passionate about?

V: Fighting injustice.

E: I believe that words are incredibly powerful. Excellent legal writing coupled with excellent legal research can change lives and make a powerful impact in our community.

Why did you come to Office Nomads?

E: I came to Office Nomads as a brand new attorney and a brand new business owner and I was looking for an office.

Why did you stay at Office Nomads?

E: I stayed at Office Nomads because I received so much more than an office. It met all of my immediate business needs, but it also gave me support that I didn’t know I needed. The people here have such diverse backgrounds and I have learned so much about a lot of different industries. I’ve also been able to help fellow Nomads with legal issues. I like the community feeling at Office Nomads – this is important to me even when I do not get much time to participate. It’s nice to know that people from different industries and backgrounds are trying to build a community.

LegalWellspring1

What was your first job?

V: Stapling campaign signs for my father campaign when he ran for State Legislator.

E: Petsitting my neighbor’s cat when I was ten years old.

Where was the last place you traveled for fun?

V: New Orleans, LA for the Blues and Jazz Festival

E: Clatskanie and Cannon Beach Oregon. I love rocky west coast beaches.

What kind of events have you participated in at Office Nomads?

E: I’ve participated in Social Media Slackers, Stretching, and Snack. I like the casual events at Office Nomads because they gave me a change to socialize and take a mental break from work. I also really enjoy working on puzzles at the front desk.

Thanks again to Marti Rhea for snapping lovely photos of our members in action. Stay tuned for the next Member Profile coming up soon!

Member Profile: Bobby Watson

It’s time for us to introduce you to another one of our spectacular Office Nomads members: Bobby Watson! We are so fortunate to have this wonderful individual in our midst.

Bobby Watson 3

 

What are you working on right now?

I started working at Full Circle Insights in May as a senior software developer. Full Circle is a Salesforce partner that builds solutions to help marketing and sales understand the true value of their campaigns and responses.

What are you passionate about?

I’m pretty big into running. I’m not sure what I would do if I ever broke my leg or something… I would be completely lost! We have an Office Nomads Running Group that meets every other week that I love being a part of.

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What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

Most people probably don’t know that I’m the president & co-founder of an LLC – it sounds like a big, fancy gig but it really isn’t. My best friend from high school and I set up an LLC (Adams American Capital) a few years ago for investment funding. We’re finally just now getting started on it… maybe one day we’ll become millionaires. ☺

What brought you to Office Nomads?

I moved to Seattle in the summer of 2013, but kept my job in Rochester, NY. I knew that if I just worked from home with my cat every day, I would go nuts. So I sought out Office Nomads after I got settled in, and I’ve been around ever since.

Has anything surprised you about Office Nomads?

I think what’s so surprising to me is the great diversity in the space, as well as how quickly everybody here became more than just my coworkers – they became some of the first friends I had here in Seattle. Sure, there are a lot of us who are software engineers – but we also have several writers, lawyers, financial advisors, teachers, data scientists, ornithologists, … the list goes on and on!

Even now that Office Nomads is a 30+ minute bus commute away I can’t stop coming here. It’s not an office, it’s a community.

Bobby Watson 1

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Bobby, we couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

You can find Bobby at Office Nomads a couple of days a week, and you can keep up with him on Twitter if that’s your jam.

Thanks as always to Marti Rhea for snapping photos of our photogenic members – you’re the best!

Member Profile: Micha Goebig

Micha confidently strode into Office Nomads in January of 2015, and when we asked “have you been to a coworking space before?” her answer was a gem: “Yes, I started a coworking space in Germany before I moved to the US!” Micha has been surprising and delighting us since day one, and we’re so glad to have her amongst us.

Marti Rhea Photography-2

What are you working on right now?

As a translator, my main customers are a German premium carmaker and its design/event agencies – there’s a great variety of stuff that ends up on my desk to be translated from German into English. Right now I am working on a longer essay on the future of individual mobility for one of the board members, and a comprehensive IT knowledge database. As a writer, I am currently in “summer hibernation,” rereading and reevaluating a couple of stories I have started and other ideas to decide about my next novel project.

What are you passionate about?

My greatest passion is learning. To benefit from the new things I learn I usually try to turn them into daily habits. The latest additions to my calendar are strength training, meditation and studying Spanish.

What brought you to Office Nomads?

I ran my own shared office space in Frankfurt, Germany, before I came to Seattle. I knew I didn’t want to work from home all the time (I really enjoy it 2-3 days a week), so I asked around and a friend who had looked at various places in town recommended Office Nomads. So I checked it out, liked the vibe and became a member.

Marti Rhea Photography-2-3 (2)

What keeps you at Office Nomads?

I really enjoy the focus on community. Of course we are all in the space to get our work done, but there’s plenty of time for a chat or a shared interest/activity. Since becoming a Community Cultivator, I have had even more opportunities to interact with other members, which I love. I am an extrovert with a job most suitable for introverts, so being a part of Office Nomads gives me the perfect balance in my workdays. Plus, as I cannot have my own dog (our kitty is 21 and really doesn’t like four-legged company at all), I enjoy the fact that ON is such a dog-friendly space.

Marti Rhea Photography-2-4

What is one thing about you most people don’t know?

That’s a tough one – I am not very private! I really dislike my first middle name (I have two), so very few people besides immigration officers actually know it. I tend to use my second middle name, Olivia, which is also part of the pen name I came up with for my writing in English, Olivia de Winter.

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You can keep tabs on what Micha is up to on Instagram (for example, right now she’s in the midst of an entire year without shopping!). For an example of a great project Micha worked on this year, check out taoteh.

Thanks again to the fabulous Marti Rhea for the wonderful photos of Micha!

Member Profile: Dave Ross

A little over two years ago Dave Ross walked into Office Nomads and we knew we were in for a treat. Well, change that. We knew Tia was in for some treats. 🙂 Introducing Dave and his awesome canine colleague Tia:

Dave Ross 1

What are you working on right now?

I primarily work on Twistle, a product built to automate healthcare processes. Twistle is focused on solving communication problems and “gaps” in anyone’s healthcare journey. We built Twistle because too many patients have told us “they never followed up with me.”

Tell us a story from your time at Office Nomads:

I can’t believe this is the first thing that came to mind, but here we go: while boating in Lake Washington two years ago, my friends and I discovered human remains! As morbid/scary as it was, without Office Nomads I would have had no one to tell the next day at work! Having people to tell the story to was really helpful, actually.

What are you passionate about?

I’m most passionate about sharing great experiences with friends and family. This means traveling, exploring the outdoors, dancing, or just watching a movie together.

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

This is a tough question, because I am an extraverted “over-sharer” about my past, present, and future. I would say while most people know me as a lover of slow-cooked meat dishes, they don’t know that I secretly wish I knew how to be a vegetarian.

Why did you come to Office Nomads?

I feel it is essential to have a workplace that allows you to focus and is physically separate from your home.

Why did you stay at Office Nomads?

I really enjoy the atmosphere, the people that work here, and the great location. I love being surrounded by a variety of people (especially not 100% tech), with the primary benefit being a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, stories, and personalities.

Who is this spirit animal that follows you around?

This is Tia, who my wife and I adopted from Eastern Washington. Tia is an incredible listener, loves to hike mountains, and high jumps large obstacles for fun. I couldn’t think of being at work without her.

Dave Ross 2

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As always, thanks to the incredibly talented Marti Rhea for the awesome photos!

Member Profile: Katie Davis-Sayles

It’s time to bring our blog back to life!  We couldn’t think of a better way to reconnect with y’all than to introduce you to some of the incredible individuals who call Office Nomads their coworking home. We hope these Q&As will be a way for you to glimpse into our coworking community and get a sense of how much awesome there is here.

With that, let us introduce you to the fabulous Katie Davis-Sayles – designer, educator, and all-around incredible person. Katie’s introduction to Office Nomads was unique – she came here on a second date with Jacob. We’ll let her tell you the rest!

Marti Rhea Photography 1

What are you working on right now?

I am working a bedroom remodel, a bathroom remodel, various projects for a local stone mason/artist (stone table drawings, website design, marketing materials), and my own rebranding. Plus I’m putting together some business cards for a fantastic photographer that I know.

Tell us a story from your time at Office Nomads.

My first day at Office Nomads was my second date with my now husband. I sometimes (sort of) jokingly say that with Office Nomads, it was love at first sight. With Jacob, it took a few months.

Marti Rhea Photography 2

What are you passionate about?

Design, teaching, art, houses and good food and wine.

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

My background is in theater and performing arts. I once worked for WCW (World Championship Wrestling). You know all of those impromptu fights that they have in hallways and dressing rooms and things? I hung the lights for those.

Why did you come to Office Nomads?

I was desperate for a place to work away from home.

Why did you stay?

I love the community. And the space. And Buckley.

Marti Rhea Photography 3

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Keep your eyes on the blog for more member profiles coming soon! We’re working with the uber-talented Marti Rhea who is snapping gorgeous photos of our gorgeous members. Aren’t they lovely?!?

Coworking Signals

The little moments that happen within the bounds of a coworking community are some of the best examples of the coworking movement’s ability to make an impact. These moments are rarely newsworthy, but are incredibly important and are so much of the “why” behind what coworking is all about. So why not try to shine the light on these moments and see what happens?

Welcome to #coworkingsignals.

I introduced this little idea to the giant bullhorn festival that is Twitter and was happily surprised when I got my first response:

Andy

And then I got another one:

GoneCoworking

And even more. Some of them in French. Ou là là!

Foundery

Cohere

YES! This is what I’m talking about. The “why” of coworking is so rarely touched on because it can be so small. But added up over time, it is pretty powerful stuff.

Please join me in adding your voice to the mix. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

GCUC 2014: The Potential of Coworking

coworking

For 3 days, coworking geeks from around the globe gathered in Kansas City for this year’s Global Coworking Unconference Conference. During our time together we shared, listened, learned, argued and laughed. As always when coworking friends convene, it felt wonderful to reconnect with the global movement. Coworking is not just this thing that we do in Seattle – it’s a movement of independent workers from around the world all looking to do better together.

Now back home in Seattle, I am eagerly diving through a long list of great ideas to implement here in our coworking community. Beyond what we’re getting up to here, I think it is important to share some of the bigger picture items that were discussed while we gathered together in the Airline History Museum (hence the planes in all the pictures – cool, eh?):

Forecast: there will be 1 MILLION coworkers by 2018

During the first day’s conference session, Steve King of Emergent Research provided us with this incredible nugget of insight into the future of work: 1 million coworkers around the world by 2018. That’s bigger than the population of Seattle. Bigger than Austin. Bigger than San Francisco. While the total number is impressive, it is the potential of this number that gets me particularly fired up. We have the potential to ensure that 1 million people don’t just have a great place to work, but that they are a part of strong, supportive, collaborative communities. One million people working alongside one another doesn’t sound all that exciting to me. One million people who are tapped into strong support systems and are encouraged to learn with and from one another is an entirely different data set that I hope to contribute to. Coworking spaces have a responsibility to adhere to the core values, and to shift the conversation away from our physical space and onto the communities that form within those spaces.

Unconference Day

We’ll say it again: it’s not about the space

Day 2 was our unconference day, which is when we got to dig deep into specific topics with one another. It is participatory, full of great dialogues, and is the day that I personally get the most out of at this event. In the first session, I hosted a conversation called “Let’s talk about cultivating spaces that matter.” My hope was to highlight that opening and operating a space is the least exciting thing that we do. No city in the world is short on desk space or internet connections. What draws people to coworking is the possibility of having their emotional needs met.

Yes, it sounds woo-woo but it’s the most important work of coworking: addressing the human needs of the independent workforce. These tend to come in the form of social connections and opportunities to learn, not the ability to print something or upload a big file. During this talk, 100% of the conversation was focused around the emotional needs of our members and how to address them. We talked about how a sense of belonging happens, the delicate dance of cultural development, and how to encourage members to take the reins of the space themselves. It was fantastic stuff and reinforced what we’ve learned from 7 years of coworking here in Seattle: it’s not about the space.

Unconference talks 2

Addressing the true needs of the independent workforce

The final session I was a part of on Day 2 was a discussion about “intentional coworking.” Tony Bacigalupo of New Work City and I talked about our experience bringing Cotivation (accountability/support groups for indies) to our coworking communities. Nicolas Bergé-Gaillard from Les Satellites shared about their member mentorship program, as well as their “Good Actions” project where members work together on a nonprofit project. The central theme of the programs we shared with one another was not that they were great marketing fodder or a way to generate revenue, but that they were ways to encourage our current members to make the most of their membership. Programming at a coworking space can be more than an event listing on a website. It can be another way to build a strong platform on which independent workers can create a community. Coworking spaces have the opportunity to be the platform, and great programming can be a way to set that intention.

Big thanks to everyone who came out for the conference – it was a delight to meet so many great folks from around the world. And thanks to the GCUC team for all your hard work, and for letting us borrow these photos for the blog. See you next year, if not before!

Spring Photo Contest!

work from home

We know working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For some it works out delightfully well – peaceful, quiet, focused. But for many (and we’ve heard from thousands of you over the years) it’s rife with distractions, lonely, and uncomfortable. We’ve heard your stories, but nothing quite says it like a picture. Show us how bad it can be!

Send us photos of your best (aka worst) home office setups. Whether you’re programming at the kitchen table, crammed into the local café, or attempting to get some work done with a puppy in the house (like Teal, above), we want to see what you’re attempting to work through. Photos can be spontaneous or staged, and we won’t judge you at all if you put your pets or your kids in the photo to get extra points.

The individual with the best photo will win a one-month membership to Office Nomads at any membership level (key card access not included). Send your submissions to photocontest@officenomads.com. We’ll be posting some of our favorites to both our Facebook Page and Twitter Feed. Submission deadline is Friday April 18th at 6pm.

Show us your worst, Seattle!

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/

Personnel:

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.

Cultivating Useful Connections


Networking

This is the first in a series entitled “Nomadic

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Encounters” – stories of cool projects seeded, germinated, and cultivated through encounters at Office Nomads.

When you get asked to a networking event, do you think “Cool! Free wine, cheese, and interesting new people!” or “Oh no! Cheesy people whining and trying to sell me things!”? That’s the dilemma Office Nomads faced – we know our members love to connect and create useful projects, but should we call it networking? “Networking” short-changes the real connections that happen within our community, and so instead we’d like to introduce you the first of many stories of “Nomadic Encounters.”

One project happening now is a member-driven idea called The Numad Program (it is an evolution of the Nomad-in-Residence Program if you remember that one). We selected one individual who was embarking on a professional transition, gave them a discounted resident membership, and most importantly collected a team of members who were interested in volunteering their time to help the “Numad” gain traction in their transition during a three-month period.

Our first Numad is Mandy Egle, a grammar and pronunciation coach for non-native English speakers. While Mandy is an expert possessing magical knowledge that unlocks the secret of saying “my car” differently from “mike are” – one that works fantastically whether your brain was wired listening to conversations in Bangladesh, Senegal, or Buenos Aires – she lacked the technical and business skills to upgrade her website, pronuncian.com, into the best tool for learning.

“I’m forging ahead but I don’t know what I’m doing,” said Mandy. With the help of other Nomads like intellectual property attorney Mike Morita, designer and engineer Trevor Smith, financial analyst Javier Soto, game developer Pat Kemp, and myself, Mandy is creating a project plan to achieve her dream, a site “that learners can really interact with and learn from in a profound way.” One that includes gamification so learning is more engaging for students.

“As a teacher, I have a list of students’ excuses for why they aren’t advancing,” Mandy told us. From this she has been able to develop a number of tools and podcasts to help them practice more effectively when she can’t be there.

And while pronuncian.com has been around since 2007, and now gets 70,000 visits per month, she wants to make that system more useful and available to students that live nowhere near Seattle. “We called it Project Morocco, because our vision was to enable Mustafa in Marrakesh to be able to speak as well as Cho in Seattle.”

What’s the goal? To double the usefulness of her site, to better help students around the world develop American English fluency so they can tap higher paying jobs, and to be virtually available 24/7/365 so she and her family can spend more time sailing their 37-foot cat-sloop named Rosie around the Salish Sea and Pacific Ocean.

Over the next few months, Mandy will meet with her team and develop a plan to make her transition happen. And I’ll be writing about it here; so stay in touch!

Kevin Owyang is a member of Office Nomads and Digital Strategist for Game-Changers. When not developing new strategies to amplify social entrepreneurs across new media, he can be found making independent films or hanging with his dog on Capitol Hill.