Seattle Coworking Codrinks

They will control the world, or have a few drinks together.

They will control the world, or have a few drinks together.

Last night there was a meeting of Seattle’s coworking illuminati, according to my sources. Okay, actually, Jacob and Susan told me that last night the owners of all five of Seattle’s coworking spaces went out for drinks together, but I thought the first lede was way more exciting to write.

Anyway, Jacob and Susan, co-owners of Office Nomads, knocked back a few stiff ones with Brian from Giraffe Labs, Brett from Greenwood Collective, Mike and Zachary from StartPad (where we’ve been before), and Nick from Seattle’s newest entry into coworking, Whitespace. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there so I can’t give you the uber-secret scoop on the sit-down. But I can tell you that the group had a good time and began to hatch some plans to help spread the gospel here in town.

Central to this plan, Jacob tells me, is to put together a group Web site that will act as a central resource for all those nomadic, upstart, collected, spacy or long-necked(?!) potential coworkers in the Emerald City. He’s not sure what will be on it yet, so neither am I, but you can rest assured, when I know, you’ll know.

In the meantime, with the Seattle coworking scene hopping this much, I feel like I am completely out of touch and here I am working in the center of it. Over the next few weeks I hope to make a visit myself to the other spaces I haven’t seen yet, and maybe even a repeat visit to StartPad just to say hi. I’ll make sure you know it’s going on so you can follow my coworking travels!

A side note: I’ve been on vacation which is why I haven’t written lately. But there’s a ton going on in the world of coworking right now so I have a ton of posts saved up that I want to write. More to come soon.

Local Coworking in the News

One of the things I love about working for a coworking business is the friendliness between the various coworking businesses. I think it’s a result of the fact that each group started the business in an effort to find community and this has extended to the WAY they do business.

So color us happy here at Office Nomads happy that our pals up at Giraffe Labs got some e-ink this morning in John Cook’s Venture Blog in the PI.

“A club house for big people.”

That’s how the folks at Giraffe Labs are describing a new work space in Pioneer Square, a 1,200 square foot location where artists can interact with engineers and computer scientists can write code next to musicians composing music.

I really like the collaborative focus of places like GL and StartPad which incubate start-ups. It’s comforting to know that the next big ideas are being worked on in the current big idea.

That said, I know from experience that just working near people is a form of colloboration even if we’re not “working together.” The distraction that others provide gives my brain a break and allows it to find a solution to problems on its own. It makes all those conversations I have with my office mates and the time I spend playing with the office dogs Stella and Cortez a form of work. (Read this article on insight in

the New Yorker if you don’t believe me.)

Field Trip to StartPad

We didn’t have permission slips signed by our parents and there was no school bus, but Susan, Jacob and I took a field trip this week to check out the offices of StartPad, another coworking site in downtown Seattle.

When I first walked into the offices, the feeling I got was so similar to what I felt when I’d walk into my offices at back in their start-up days. I felt as if I were suddenly transported back to the late 90s. I don’t mean to say that the place feels behind the times. It’s just that there’s a certain kind of energy around tech start ups and StartPad is awash in it because it’s a coworking space geared toward tech startups.

Jacob, Susan and StartPad's ownerHonestly, it was really neat to be surrounded by that kind of energy again. The people all had harried looks in their eyes and computer equipment seemed to be everywhere (though orderly). The offices were well laid out with lots of discrete areas so no one group would ever feel like they were on top of another. One major difference with Office Nomads is that there are private offices with walls and doors. The ones I saw all have windows on the hallway side so no one ever has to feel totally isolated. A nice touch.

Susan, Jacob, Mike (who owns StartPad), his office manager Zach, and I hung around in one of their conference rooms talking about each company’s origins and reasons for being. As I said, StartPad exists to give software and Internet startups (20 so far) a place to come and work mostly because Mike has spent a lot of time starting his own companies. They hold a bunch of educational events for that community (including one on setting up a corporate structure on April 29) and are also compiling a database of service providers and references for companies that can serve their community.

I have to be honest, not being a software guy, my eyes kept wandering to the foosball table in the corner. I wanted to try and get a game in, but our parking expired before I could work it into the conversation. Ah well, next time.

Later in the day, the StartPad guys came up to Office Nomads to join us for Monday lunch (“Brought to you by Wednesday“). Susan and Jacob sprung for pizza and, as is the norm for our weekly office lunches, we all spent a lot of time sitting around the fancy, new conference table Susan and Jacob built laughing and joking. (Though there was no talk about Britney Spears for once.) Afterwards, Susan and Jacob took the guys on a tour of the space and spent some more time talking with them about various visions and hopes for Seattle’s coworking community.

Of course, it’s the idea of community that’s drawn all of us to coworking, so it was nice to get some time to create some with another space in the city. Hopefully, a few more will pop up that have the same desire as Susan and Jacob and we’ll take some more field trips.