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.