Member Profile: George Divoky

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George Divoky

Website: http://www.cooperisland.org

http://blogs.discovery.com/cooper-island/

Member Since: April 2009

Type of Member: Regular

In 1975 George started going to the northern end of the Americas to study black guillemots, an arctic seabird.  The study initially began after discovering some of their nests on Cooper Island which was a rare setting for these cavity nesters.  Excited by the find, he began spending his summers studying the birds with a focus on their breeding.  As the study continued over the years it became apparent that the habits of the birds were changing and this was happening as a result of climate change.  What used to be 200 fledglings a year is dwindling to single digits as food becomes scarce and other animals move onto Cooper looking for food and impacting guillemot eggs and chicks.  The black guillemot population is hurt most by either becoming dinner for polar bears, or getting pushed aside by encroaching puffins.  George shakes his head, “The birds are trying to raise their young.  They did it in the past, the climate is changing, and now they can’t.”  Sadly, these seabirds have become a clear indicator of climate change and as it gets worse for them, “things are getting worse and worse globally”.

George’s summers are spent tallying, weighing and compiling other necessary data.  When he returns to Seattle he comes back to us at Office Nomads where he analyzes the data, does outreach regarding climate change and works to acquire funding for his research and NGO.  After being alone for 3 months, a home office with nobody else around is incredibly unappealing.  He finds calm when surrounded by other people.  “An extended period of isolation does not give you mental peace,” George said. “It makes you uncomfortable.”  At Office Nomads George has the opportunity to be part of the constantly buzzing community here and find the inner calm he misses on the island.

George can easily snag the title of “Coolest Nomad”.  His stories of island life and of his work are rather fascinating, so much so that Darcy Frey wrote a cover story in New York Times Magazine about him.  David Letterman found him just as awesome and had George on his show to talk.  And anyone who can recommend headphones and at the same talk about chasing off polar bears with a shot gun is cooler than just about everyone else in the room.

Member Profile: Susan Evans

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Susan Cope Evans

Website: http://www.officenomads.com

Member Since: The Start of Time

Type of Member: She wears the pants.

Tacked up to the wall by the phone booth, there are two large pieces of paper covered pen and pencils scribbles.  Together the smattering of sentences and half thoughts are the foundations of Office Nomads.  The headings are “Who We Are”, “What We Do”, and “What We Stand For”.  Susan and Jacob put that together over two years ago and, following our 2nd Birthday Party, it’s still there and ringing true.

Susan spends her days at Office Nomads encouraging the space to grow into what she and Jacob had hoped it could become. Sitting there, she enjoys watching how ideas tossed out by members then get feedback from others, including diverse points of view from an urban planner, a couple of web designers, a publisher and others.  “The way we view things is very different, unique.  I don’t think I knew how powerful that could be or how rewarding.”

She set out to create a “platform on which a coworking community could grow” and can’t believe how well it has taken off, especially in the personal relationships people have grown.  “I hoped we would all get along and members would like each other.  I didn’t expect them to go to each other’s weddings and help each other move. “

“It just knocks me over sometimes,” Susan admits. “Holy crap! It’s buzzing way more than it used to.  [The atmosphere] has gotten warmer.”  From here she has her sights set on encouraging other coworking spaces in Seattle. She wants to help them get off the ground and be a support system for whomever is creating a new collaborative space, be it offices, kitchens, workshops, etc.  “I want to see more of these spaces around the city.  They are vital to urban sustainability, as far as I’m concerned.”

Member Profile: Paul Pham

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Paul Pham

Website: http://pulse-programmer.org/

Member Since: June 2009

Type of Member: Resident

Paul Pham is an inventor.  How cool is that?  He might just say that he is an electronics designer but then he will explain his job and it’s clear that he is an inventor, like we all dreamed we wanted to be at some point.  Paul designs electronics for scientific instrumentation, like physics experimentation.  This is something that grew out of his graduate school work and has taken off to be his full-time job.  At his desk in the Green Room here at Office Nomads he adjusts his designs per requests of clients from as far off as Germany.

Paul is a huge fan of shared spaces like Office Nomads.  He had been working in his apartment and in coffee shops but he found that isolating and discouraging.  Now he has his hand in two shared spaces, here at Office Nomads and at a workshop space in SoDo.  In the workshop is where he solders together his pulse programmers.  We get him most of the time, luckily, when he has put down the soldering gun and is tapping at his keyboard. “I left Amazon to work here full time.  It has helped me focus on this project, which I’ve been working on for a while.  I thought I should get serious about it and now it can be my main focus and this space lets me concentrate on it.”

Paul is a constant and positive presence in the space.  Whenever there’s a Brown Bag Lunch or any events with the Nomads gathering, he is sure to be found.  He wows us with his brightly colored hair and willingness to help out.  If he’s not at his desk, he can be found mingling around.  “I enjoy going around and seeing what other people are working on.  We’ll have game nights sometimes.  Last week three of us went out and saw a movie during the day.  If you can’t watch a movie in the middle of the day, why be your own boss?”  Excellent question.

Entrepreneur Magazine piece features coworking

solo-not-aloneOffice Nomads is incredibly proud to be part of a wonderful piece on coworking in October’s Entrepreneur Magazine!  Along with coworking representatives from The Hive (Denver), New Work City (New York City), and Cubes and Crayons (San Francisco area), Office Nomads was highlighted as part of a rising trend of innovative, collaborative workspaces.  Here’s a snippit:

The appeal of co-working seems clear: It provides people like Brunelle a professional and social package that most alternatives can’t match. For starters, there’s the real-live-human camaraderie you can’t get from Facebook or text messaging, as well as the potential for networking and uncovering new business opportunities. A co-working office can also offer a sounding board for ideas in an informal setting. And it relieves, for the most part, the energy-sapping world of office politics–not to mention blood-draining commutes.

Pretty awesome!  And yes, they’re talking about Resident member David Brunelle, also in the photo above.  Definitely take a look if you get a chance, and be sure to pick up a copy of Entrepreneur Magazine when you get a chance – this month is ch0ck-full of great articles.

Regional Whuffie Building panel at SXSWi

Austin, here we come!

Austin, here we come!

You all know we love a good field trip here at Office Nomads.  Well, this time Jacob and I are hopping a plane and heading to Austin for the field trip of all field trips – South By Southwest Interactive in Austin!  And what’s more? Tony Bacigalupo (New Work City), Geoff DiMasi (P’unk Ave, Independents Hall), Julie Duryea (Souk Portland), Matthew Wettergreen (Caroline Collective), and I are on a panel called Regional Whuffie Building: Attracting Innovation to Your City. It should be pretty awesome! If you’re going to SXSWi, please come and join us at the panel.

Um, what the heck is Whuffie, you ask? Well, let me quote by Tara Hunt, maven of Whuffiedom.  Whuffie is:

  1. A word coined by Cory Doctorow in his book, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom as the currency of the future.
  2. Roughly equivalent to social capital
  3. Is the culmination of reputation, influence, bridging and bonding capital, access to ideas and talent, access to resources, potential access to further resources, saved up favors, accomplishments and the Whuffie of those you have relationships with.

As a panel, we are tasked with discussing how to inspire a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as what it takes to run successful startup or a successful technology career no matter where you’re from. We’ll be discussing why regional Whuffie building can help your region, and giving some some success stories resulting from what each of us has been up to in our own cities.

I am incredibly excited to represent Office Nomads as a Seattle coworking space on this panel, and am even more jazzed to be sitting amongst the coworkng rockstars who will be at my side. Speaking of some of them, I’m going to steal a little thought that my co-panelist Matthew Wettergreen sent out to the coworking group earlier this morning…

Since coworking plays such a large role in rallying the troops of any region, we’d like input from all of you about Regional Whuffie Building. If you’re able, could you answer some questions?

  1. What are some of your success stories of regional whuffie building or inspiring a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship?
  2. How have you embraced the mix of face-to-face interaction and technology?
  3. What are some individual strategies towards this end goal that you have attempted?

Shout out, and let us know what you’re thinking…

We ain’t afraid of no recession

While the rest of the world quivers in fear of our shared economic doom, a stalwart group of entreprenurs the world over is quivering a bit less. Coworkers are less fearful of the recession because recessions can be powerful incubators for innovativon. As more and more people lose their jobs, more finally try out the unique ideas they’ve been baking in their heads for years. In this scenario, not only does innovation (and innovators) thrive, but so do coworking spaces. It’s a concept I’ve written about before here (thanks to a post I read on the Launchpad Cowworking blog). Now that idea is starting to gain currency in the mainstream media too.

Yesterday, Reuters ran a piece called “Co-working [sic] has a wider appeal in recession.” The thesis is that people are flocking to coworking spaces (note the lack of a hyphen in “coworking” Reuters!) as they lose their jobs in search of community.

But the recession has made the idea of working amongst strangers appealing to a broader range of people, from those that recently lost their jobs to consultants eager to stay in the loop.

Sound familiar? Anyway, it’s a good piece and worth a read in these bleak economic times. If nothing else, it’ll help ease the mind of anyone who might be thinking of launching their own space in these strange times.

Oh, and it mentions our Pink Slip Special at the very end, so there’s that too!

I couldn’t help re-use this image I originally found when searching Flickr for “Looking Up.” Orange kitties just rock. Thanks to Flickr user ex.libris for putting it there under the Creative Commons license.

Seattle is Innovation

That’s right, it’s true. Seattle is one of the 12 most innovative cities in the world according to FastCompany.com. The reasons they give include $1 billion (!) in VC funds a year, Google’s new Fremont campus attracting a new group of tech startups to the city and the new Olympic Sculpture Park. Somehow they missed the fact that Seattle is also turning into a nexus for co-workers thanks to the efforts of Office Nomads, Start Pad and Giraffe Labs. Weird.

This video might not be related to innovation, but I thought it was worth sharing. Heck! It is innovative. in what corporate office could you see anything nearly as cool as this? This is what makes co-working the wave of the future.