Member Since: April 2009
Type of Member: Resident
Trevor’s work is about helping creative individuals realize their visions. “In general, I help people who have ideas about doing something interesting with technology.” Sometimes that means working with an artist or with a biologist. They all find Trevor to help them manage software development, helping find material for fabrication, etc. “These people always have 4000 more ideas that they can’t do and that is where I fit in.”
One such project is to do the software infrastructure for a robot that will be installed in the San José Airport. The robot will be able to react to the people, lights, the flights landing and many other factors surrounding it. He is also building software for an installation that will be pillars covered in LEDs and his software will make the patterns in the lights. Trevor has been a part of a diverse range of projects and his website does a great job a cataloguing them, from the robot to the websites.
Trevor is a one-man operation based in Office Nomads. Here he pours his creative energy into his projects without the distractions he found while working from home. “Raw productivity almost doubled when I came here.” He sticks around until his daughter’s school, which is only down the street, let’s out and then they grab the bus to the door of his house. At home he finds that he doesn’t have his own art because, he says,” All my creativity goes into helping other people solve their problems.” He does, though, have the time to train for a half marathon he will be doing in January. Trevor’s sister has challenged him to the Key West half marathon and, turns out, Trevor is willing to get competitive if it’s an excuse to go to Key West in January. The Nomads will be rooting for him.
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.
Susan Cope Evans
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 Since: January 2008
Type of Member: Resident
Mike Jones is another one of Office Nomads’ world travelers though he’s not from out of the country, he just seems to go there quite a lot. Mike works for Morgan & Claypool Publishers as Director of Marketing. According to him, that means he travels the world charming the pants off librarians. In fact, he sent us the biographical details we used to write this while sitting in a convention hall filled with 1,000 librarians. How he kept his mind on his email in such a place we will never know.
Mike spent three years working out of his kitchen before he discovered Office Nomads. It was not a good experience.”No one should have to work from my kitchen,” he says. “Nobody ever goes in there, there’s no food, I don’t cook, etc. In fact I think President Obama has strictly forbidden working from my kitchen.” Now, he says, he can’t imagine working anywhere other than Office Nomads. Not even the library.
After working in out of his decidedly depressing sounding kitchen, it’s no surprise that Mike settled himself squarely into the center of the main room. It’s a perfect vantage point for Mike, giving him ample access to procrastinating conversations with Jacob, opportunities to tease Nomad Suzi about her diet and to toss various objects at Erik, Robyn and whomever else presents themselves. A word to the wise: Mike is a sharpshooter with the Nerf projectiles, so be on the lookout.
Member Since: December 2007
Type of Member: Resident
Chris Haddad –aka Number 1 — is Office Nomads’ first resident member. Back when Jacob and Susan first opened the office, it was only a matter of days before Chris signed the paperwork and was setting up his unique adjustable-height desk that allowed him to stand while working. He’s been running his direct-response copy writing business, Moneyfingers, Inc. (“Yes, it’s a funny name. But I love it.”) from various spots around the office ever since. He’s also taken on the task of firing Charlie daily; even though he never hired Charlie in the first place, it’s a task he excels at.
Chris first came to work at Office Nomads because like many of us, he grew tired of never *not* being at work. “I’d been working from home for about 4 years and was going nutso futso,” he says. “The walls closed in. I didn’t shave for weeks. I stopped wearing pants.” If you know Chris, this was not a good scene.
We were definitely interested to hear what Chris’ favorite seat in the office might be, since he’s moved his desk around more than any other member. He’s gone from the main room to “The Alley” and finally into “The Green Room” in search of a spot where he can spread out to his heart’s content without driving Susan mad. He seems to love it back there. Never satisfied to be in one place for too long though, Chris has been getting a lot of his work done on the leather couch of late, which he has taken to referring to as “the couch of productivity.”
Member Since: January 2009
Type of Member: Resident
Justin has a fantastic business card. It opens up and has a great, clean design to it. The one thing, though, is that there is no title with his name. “There are no titles for a reason,” he says, “My job title depends on what day it is.”
Justin works for New Edge + The Brewery in marketing strategy. Some days he is a strategist or a project manager, other days maybe a client director. Justin’s work has him working with mostly Fortune 500 companies who are seeking some help. “They come to us and say, ‘We know innovation needs to be a focus but we don’t know where to focus our innovation strategy’ or ‘We have this technology or opportunity and we need to find a market for it.’”
Justin had a big suite in Bellevue where there were multiple conference rooms and offices, just no other people there but himself. When New Edge + The Brewery realized they no longer needed a suite for their one-man Seattle operation, Justin was left looking for an office space where he could complete his projects when a friend pointed him in the direction of Office Nomads. Now he loves it. “A stuffy office with no interaction is very one-dimensional,” he said. “The physical space here gives me figurative freedom.”
He is a constant fixture in Office Nomads as the Seattle office of New Edge + The Brewery, adding to the Richland, WA-based business which also has a London office. When he leaves us in the evening, he goes home to relish in the life as a new dad. His ride back to ON in the mornings is a pretty awesome Discovery Channel Team Trek. He is probably the most active Nomad with multiple triathlons and two Ironmen under his belt. We all mention 5Ks we are thinking of doing, while he has his sights set on a Half Ironman in the spring. Go Justin!
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.
We here at Office Nomads have whipped up a brand new special to bring more of you like-minded individuals into our space. It’s the new and amazing…
Singin’ the Blues Special!
Got the work from home blues? Finding yourself waiting for the phone to ring so that you can actually talk to a person instead of a computer screen? Attempting to have meaningful conversation with your coffee maker? We know how hard it can be. Don’t keep yourself trapped inside all alone! Get yourself out of the house and amongst some friendly coworkers already. Head over to Office Nomads and tell us your best story (or sing us your saddest song) of your work at home blues and we’ll reward you with a free week of coworking.
Member Since: July 2008
Type of Member: Resident
Suzi started coming to Office Nomads after three months of trying the ‘home office’ thing in her one bedroom condo. She would try and work from her living room then go to Victrola (local coffee shop) then home then to Remedy Teas (local tea shop). Each place could only keep her focused for two hours before she needed something different. She found Office Nomads and, with it, a place to hold onto her sanity. “I came here one day over a year ago and never left. That day when I left Office Nomads I walked by Victrola and knew I was done with that” (for work, I’m betting she’ll still head there for the delicious coffee).
At Office Nomads Suzi has been able to stay focused on her work and complete major projects. She is an independent contractor working for a client that is a multinational, multi-institutional research organization creating an online interactive learning experience. “I bring to bear my unique combination of experiences in education, the physical sciences, and design to create engaging experiences that educate and inspire visitors. I handle concept, development, and design for both physical and online exhibits.” Her work has led her to learn more about such topics as Alzheimer’s, global warming, neurology and more while creating educational exhibits. Check out her latest project at http://www.emergentuniverse.org when it goes live on October 1st.
Closing her apartment door behind her in the morning and coming to work at Office Nomads has helped Suzi feel like a real person. “My job didn’t feel real when I wasn’t leaving my house to work…Now I can set these very clean boundaries for my work. When I’m here I work. When I’m home, I don’t. “
Suzi is a great, positive individual in the Office Nomads space. She loves coming to many of the evening events. These events prove to be great opportunities to connect with the other folks working around her.
“I rave about this place all the time. Office Nomads is $475 a month. Therapy is so much more expensive. This is the better deal.”
Look for Suzi at Office Nomads Turns Two and chat her up about her awesome experience here at Office Nomads.
Today marked the fourth official time Office Nomads has been fortunate enough to have Karen Lindenberg of Phyzz Yoga come in and teach those of us who are interested an hour-long session of yoga.
After today’s session, I have a confession to make: until today, I doubted that we could ever regularly host yoga sessions in the office. Why, you ask? I am a big believer in the value of a separation between work and “home” (or gym, yoga, art) spaces. Well, today I realized that it was time for me to bend that guideline a little bit more than usual. Because yoga in the office ROCKS.
Our hour-long break with Karen each Wednesday is officially my new favorite thing about Office Nomads. Yoga at the office is providing me (and my fellow Nomads) with a great break from sitting diligently at our desks, a time to get our eyes away from our screens, and to enjoy putting our bodies through the paces that Karen leads us through each week. Coworkers stretch alongside one another, laughing in the moments when we all struggle to hit a pose or letting out a big collective sigh when we all get to relax on our mats. It’s awesome. And I’m coming to believe that it is a key part of an effective workday, even when it happens at the office.
As coworking spaces and other “alternative office spaces” emerge around the world, I imagine there will be a constant balancing out of the desire for office spaces to put in as much “fun” as possible in the interest of retaining members or employees (this idea reminds me of an old article I read in Utne, titled “Are We Having Fun Yet? The infantilization of corporate America” – the description of working at Aquascape was particularly wild to me) without overly complicating what they’re trying to do. You can overdo office “extras,” but with the right balance between productive work time and goofing-off time, it actually becomes easier to focus and the day becomes much more productive.
At Office Nomads we have a simple goal: to be a home for 40 independent professionals who are looking for a great place to work. But we don’t just want to be a place to work, we want to be a place where people & businesses grow, valuable conversations are had, connections are made. This means that (even if it blurrs my clearly defined lines between work and home), we get beers together, we go out to lunch together and yes, we do yoga together. And we’re all the better for it.