Competitor or Collaborator? How to make the absolute best of a new coworking space opening in your city.

Reposted from Tony Bacigalupo’s blog


Coworking is not a zero sum game (yet). New spaces are opening all over the world every single day, but if we keep thinking of this simply in terms of desks and chairs then we’re missing the bigger picture.

Do you know why WeWork is valued at $10 billion? Because they’re betting big on something that we all intuitively know: work as we know it is fundamentally shifting forever. How many people work 9-to-5 for an employer who has an office of their own today? How many will still be working in the same way, managed the same style, in a space owned by their employer, in 5 or 10 years? I don’t think nearly as many will be, because more and more people will be working in increasingly flexible, creative, independent ways. WeWork and their investors are betting big on it, and the proliferation and success of so many coworking communities with no signs of slowing down serves as continued evidence of the fact.

So when a new space opens in your town, why consider them a competitor? Compared to the potential size of the market, how much market share are you really going for, anyway?

If the successful coworking communities I’ve seen are any measure, your best bet by far is to become friends. Offer your help, in a way that is true to you and that maintains the integrity of your community and your brand.

Make your community a place people will know as not just a great place to work but as an ambassador for coworking in your region. Make it THE destination people will tell others about when someone wants to learn more about coworking.

Xenophobic coworking spaces:

  • Have to do all of the marketing themselves
  • Can’t celebrate when other like-minded people start similar communities nearby
  • Can’t tell members about valuable happenings in other places that you know about
  • Can’t celebrate when members “graduate” to another space
  • Must educate people on what coworking is and how it works all by themselves
  • Face increasing pressure as more and more spaces open and rents go up

Magnanimous coworking spaces:

  • Celebrate everything that’s happening around coworking in their city and the world
  • Happily share good news and valuable information with whoever asks
  • Off help and advice to other space owners, and get their help in return
  • Have an easier time raising awareness of not just their space but of coworking in general
  • Open themselves up to more expansive possibilities
  • Increase the chances they’ll be recognized by the local governments
  • Feel less alone

…in other words, it makes a lot of sense to be friendly with your fellow coworking spaces.

If you’re an established early adopter in the coworking world, then you have an opportunity to deepen your role as a space that not only has operated for a long time, but has led the charge in growing coworking across the city.

If you’re a new space in a crowded city, paying your dues by befriending fellow space owners opens up new avenues for people to find your place.

In Milan, in 2008, Massimo Carraro opened a coworking space as a part of his advertising firm’s office. Once he got the processes up and running, he set out to make it easier for other companies like his to implement the same kind of model in their offices, the Cowo Project was born, and since then has grown to 161+ spaces all across Italy and now Switzerland as well. In exchange for an annual fee, each participating space gets branded promotional materials, professional photographs of the space, listing on the project’s online network, access to online discussion groups, and an invitation to a bi-annual convocation of all participating members.

In short, Massimo didn’t build a coworking space and then hang back and brace himself for competitors: he actively went out and recruited people to build new spaces like his, and put himself at the center of the emerging ecosystem.

In speaking with Massimo, he told me a saying they have in Italy:

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Unity is strength.

Cowo – Coworking Project

 

Read more at TonyBacigalupo.com

Coworking open day al Cowo Pontetaro/Parma presso C-Lab

Dalla mattina fino alla sera alla 21: al Cowo Pontetaro/Parma presso C-Lab le visite dell’open day si sono susseguite per tutto il giorno… evento pienamente riuscito quindi! In particolare i punti di soddisfazione sono stati: l’alta affluenza che traduciamo in un vivo interesse verso i nostri spazi e verso il coworking; l’ottima occasione di rivedere … Continua la lettura di Coworking open day al Cowo Pontetaro/Parma presso C-Lab

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Dalla mattina fino alla sera alla 21: al Cowo Pontetaro/Parma presso Coworking open day al Cowo Pontetaro/Parma

C-Lab le visite dell’open day si sono susseguite per tutto il giorno… evento pienamente riuscito quindi!

In particolare i punti di soddisfazione sono stati:

  • l’alta affluenza che traduciamo in un vivo interesse verso i nostri spazi e verso il coworking;
  • l’ottima occasione di rivedere contatti e clienti di vecchia data, “richiamati” dalla novità del coworking
  • l’incontro, piacevole e stimolanti con nuove figure di riferimento, sia per il coworking e sia per il nostro lavoro
  • il gradimento che hanno dimostrato tutti verso i nostri spazi di coworking, che ci ha molto gratificato!
  • la gara ad accaparrarsi le spilline Cowo®, andate letteralmente a ruba!

coworking-parma-pontetaro-3Una curiosità: alcuni partecipanti sono passati con i loro figli, questo ci ha fatto non solo molto piacere ma ha contribuito a rendere più divertente l’atmosfera generale.

Insomma: a Pontetaro sono rimasti così entusiasti che stanno già pensando al prossimo evento.

Stay tuned e arrivederci alla prossima!

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How do I attract members? Notes from the marketing unconference session at GCUC Canada

Reporting live from the GCUC Canada 2015 unconference day! The below are quoted, but in many cases are paraphrased. If I misquoted you, let me know!

“We run a monthly First Friday open house. The conversion rate is not so great, but it’s something we can point people to when they want to come see the space.”—Geoff Wood, Gravitate DSM

“When we were short on members and the culture was weak, I wanted to find a way to attract people without just trying to say I was another great workspace. I wanted to give people an excuse to come in on a specific day to meet other people who were new and spend time working together on something specific. I used Cotivation, which was my version of a Mastermind in a coworking space, and it worked really well.”—Tony (me!)

“Take your friend to work day” once a quarter

“Your best marketing is your membership. We’re pretty quick to introduce a newcomer to a member we think they might be interested in meeting.”

“Most of our members that come, come through our membership. That’s where you should invest your marketing. If you’re going to run an event, make sure your members are there. The best connection to the space is always through the member.”—Chad Ballantyne, The Creative Space

CSI does a ‘Salad Club’ once a week. Everybody brings one protein and one vegetable. Everyone can make the Perfect Salad Bar. They invited a local farm to be stationed there. People booked meetings during that time and encouraged guests to check out the farmers market. People ended up wanting to stay in instead of going out to lunch.”

How do you get people to pay attention?

“We try to tell them at least ten times. A month in advance, over email, in person, as many channels as possible”—Carly Mix, Industry Lab

“Fun partnerships are really important. You can only reach so many people yourself, but if you partner with someone who shares something in common with you, or finding niche newsletters, you are actually able to get to people you might not reach on your own because it’s their demographic.”—Noah Wallach, WeWork

The Benefits Of Coworking: How Where You Work Affects Your Success As A Freelancer

Post Author: jeannine.

Working freelance has a huge number of advantages: a work/life balance many would kill for, the freedom to choose exactly how you want to work, the luxury of being able to dictate your own prices, pay rises and bonuses, and the opportunity to get to the post office / bank / gym when everyone else is at work. One of the other plus-sides is the freedom to work in your pajamas all day if you want to, or indeed not get out of bed at all.

Although this sounds like heaven to those of us stuck in grey cubicles all day, forced to listen to Rhonda from HR’s gossip about Tim in Accounting while avoiding leery Jeremy from Marketing, large numbers of freelancers report feelings of loneliness and isolation when working alone from home, which often undermines all of the advantages for which they chose to go freelance in the first place. But there is an alternative option open to freelancers who can’t bear their own company any longer and are desperate for someone, anyone (other than the cat) to talk to, collaborate with or simply be around during their working day and that option is coworking.

So what are the advantages of coworking?

1. In a coworking space you are never alone

So the first and most obvious advantage of coworking is that you are never alone. You are surrounded by other like-minded freelancers who are looking for a little bit of company in their otherwise solitary working lives. You will find that if you join a coworking space you are not just signing up for a desk in a room, you become part of a community, with many coworking spaces hosting parties, social events and after work drinks. Also, if you were dying to get away from an office environment when you went freelance, you will probably notice how different your coworking space is from an office. You come and go as you please, everyone is generally polite and respectful (they are freelancers too, remember) and with no manager or boss looking over your shoulder, your productivity will soar

2. You don’t have to worry about your facilities

When you work for yourself you have to, always, have a stable internet connection. Without one you will lose jobs and clients very quickly. You will also need coffee. Once you are part of a coworking space you no longer need to worry about these two essentials, you will be connected from the moment you walk in the door to both internet and coffee before you’ve even said hello. In a coworking space you’ll also have a decent chair, with back-support, a nice desk and perhaps even a window! Although you might have hated your office environment in your permanent job, you’ll certainly appreciate some decent furniture when you’ve spent months sat with your computer on your lap on the sofa and your back is about ready to snap.

3. You’ll find more work

When you’ve spent all day on the sofa with the cat the number of potential clients you will have interacted with is precisely zero (unless Fluffy happens to be looking for a web developer!). However, plant yourself in a coworking space and you’ll be instantly surrounded by other freelancers who could potentially offer you work themselves, or pass work that they can’t do onto you. Coworking is excellent for networking and therefore excellent for your career. If you’re a web developer you’ll meet entrepreneurs who need programming skills, if you’re a UX designer you’ll soon be propositioned by developers, and so on. On the other side of the coin, if you need someone to do a job for you, you probably won’t even have to advertise! If there isn’t someone in your coworking space who’s qualified you’ll bet there’s someone there who knows someone who is!

 

Displaying SurfandCode-300x300.jpg

Are you interested in coworking? Then CareerFoundry’s Code & Surf Retreat could be the thing for you! Residing at a beach-side coworking resort in Santa Cruz students will learn Web Development or UX Design with in-house mentors in the mornings, while afternoons will be spent learning to surf, hiking and practicing yoga on the beach. To be in with a chance of winning, check out the site here: Code & Surf Retreat

 

 

The Europe of coworking meets in Italy: see you in Milan, at the Coworking Europe conference, on november 11 – 12 – 13!

As an active coworking community of more than 100 spaces all over Italy, with a spot in Switzerland as well, we are happy to announce that this year the Europe of coworking meets in Italy 🙂 We’re talking about the next Coworking Europe Conference, which will take place in Milan – the city where our network … Continua la lettura di The Europe of coworking meets in Italy: see you in Milan, at the Coworking Europe conference, on november 11 – 12 – 13!

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Coworking Europe Milano

As an active coworking community of more than 100 spaces all over Italy, with a spot in Switzerland as well, we are happy to announce that this year the Europe of coworking meets in Italy 🙂

We’re talking about the next Coworking Europe Conference, which will take place in Milan – the city where our network started in 2008 – with one of the first coworking spaces in Europe.

After Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Lisbon, you could very well expect the most important coworking happening of Europe, the Coworking Europe conference, to finally land in Italy, and particularly in Milan, with the partnership of the city council.

The conference will take place in the new coworking space “Ex-Ansaldo” in via Tortona 54.Ex Ansaldo a Milano, spazio coworking

The conference programme has not been released yet, so keep in touch for further details.

For now, just save the dates of November 11 – 12 – 13, 2015.

Visit Coworking Europe Blog

Like the Coworking Europe Facebook page

Follow Coworking Europe on Twitter

In the video below the Cowo® founder Massimo Carraro gives an interview during the 2008 edition in Berlin (interview starts at min 0:32″ ).

The Europe of  coworking meets in Italy: : see you in Milano november 11 – 12 – 13!

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[ Video ] The Future of Productivity? According to Microsoft, from coworking spaces.

Microsoft recently broadcasted this awesome video, called “Future Productivity Vision”. The story goes that a young professional enters a coworking door and…

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Microsoft recently broadcasted this awesome video, called “Future Productivity Vision”.

The story goes that a young professional enters a coworking door and…

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Fit Space – Don’t Sell Space

Post Author: anthony thompson.

Say it with me, “Fit – Space – Don’t Sell It.” 

I’m still not a fan of pop up ads (although millions of blogs inundate you with them to sign up for their damn newsletter) but if I knew what would be better I’d invent it. For now, we deal with banner ads and clicking out of them as fast as we can. 

I would argue I’m one of the fastest pop up destroyers in my small town of Rouse Hill, a suburb north west of Sydney. I destroy those things like it’s my passion. In fact, it is my passion. Maybe my next book will be 38 ways to destroy pop up ads. 

Pop up ads in a coworking space can be just as annoying and the Australian startup Posse sheds some light on why. 

When Posse signed into the space they were pitched an offer for a select group of small business services at ‘mates rates’. Seems like a good idea from the business. They work at a hipster, cool coworking space and receive mate rate business services. 

Posse eluded that this early pitch could be felt as a pop up ad instead of a human connection. They also quickly discovered that coworking spaces when full can be loud. 

Let’s look into what Posse really needed in a coworking space. 

They were building software and were used to a certain environment. Loud chatterboxes on mobile phones would eventually break their focus and it did. This also falls into my category of pop up ads. Loud, obnoxious mobile phone users are distracting and = pop up ads. 

In light of this information, I’ve written a few questions that you can use when engaging prospective new coworking members. Or, you can use a version of these questions when seeking out the perfect coworking spot for you or your business. 

What type of environment do you get the most work accomplished? 

Provide in detail what that looks like for you and why? 

Can you explain a work environment that you hate and why?

I’m not a rocket scientist (I have fired bottle rockets) but I truly believe if the space curator was more interested in the benefits of the coworking member – a Posse scenario like this could be avoided. 

This is not to throw dirt on any one individual but instead to come together as a whole and say – let’s do better. 

The story continues as Posse experienced more pop up ads from members in the space interested in their success. They accrued a bit of press which becomes like light to moths. And, the moths came fluttering. 

Some would pop over and pitch ideas, others would cozy up in an attempt to use their information for their good. 

More pop up ads continued when space sponsors provided swag to space members. The free gifts ranged from pizza to massages but instead of it feeling like a benefit, it once again became a pop up ad to the Posse team. 

Another distraction, loss of focus, loss of time and more importantly, loss of energy. 

The Posse team finally gave up on coworking after a competitor in the space approached one of their engineers and offered them a more lucrative offer to join them. 

This is a sad, sad story for coworking. It breaks my heart to hear of instances like these but we should be forever grateful to the Posse team for sharing them. 

They are giving us insights into what not to do and that is sometimes more important than what to do. 

I work out of Space&co in Rouse Hill, NSW. It’s a magnificent space with a sister location in Melbourne which is pretty cool as well. 

 

First Coworking Africa conference: Cape Town, July 23rd and 24th 2015

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The Coworking Africa conference, the first major event organized on the topic of Coworking in Africa, is to take place in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 23rd and 24th 2015.

During two days, Cape Town will be the African capital of Coworking, an ever more successful work model that is becoming the natural professional environment of the new breed of digital workers, startups, and distributed companies who are shaping the economy of the 21st century. Coworking spaces are (mainly) open floor or building where people active on respective different businesses come to work on a same mutualised flexible place shared with peers.

Africa, too, is ready for a Coworking boom

More than 5.800 spaces are operating in the world. The number almost doubles every year. Although Africa still is a small player in the Coworking landscape, the booming tech scene and major demographic shifts are creating the ideal conditions to unleash the development of many more Coworking spaces all across the continent. Within the last 18 months, the number of Coworking spaces in Africa more than tripled. Nowadays, more than 100 units are in operation on the whole continent, to extend that one can now say : Coworking in Africa is now on the same growth trend Europe and the US were five years ago.

Coworking empowers freelancers, remote employees and entrepreneurs all over Africa in multiple ways. Infrastructure wise, coworking spaces are local hotspot where users can now benefit from an efficient connectivity solutions as well as access to an affordable qualitative working environment to operate their activity in African cities often experiencing high real estate costs. From a business perspective, the community dynamic of a coworking spaces brings freelancers and small businesses with more visibility and networking opportunities to boost their activity. More broadly, Coworking spaces physically support the development of local entrepreneurial ecosystem, connected with other communities in Africa and in the rest of the world.

More than 100 delegates from Africa and beyond are expected in Cape Town to attend the Coworking Africa 2015 conference.

By having a Coworking conference to Africa, the initiators of the conferences hope to support the development of an African Coworking awareness as well as a link between Coworking communities on the continent in order to bring Africa in a global move from which we all can end better off.

Organisation :

Coworking Africa 2015 is the result of a partnership between Global Enterprise and Cape Town Office.

Dates
July 23rd and 24th July 2015

EDIT: PLEASE NOTE, VENUE HAS CHANGED

Workshop17

Registration tickets :
http://coworkingafrica.com/book-now/

Accreditation press : vanessa@coworkingafrica.com

Web and social media :
Coworking Africa Cape Town Office
www.coworkingafrica.com
https://www.facebook.com/CoworkingAfrica https://www.facebook.com/capetownoffice
@CoworkingAfrica @capetownoffice

Welcome to Switzerland, Cowo Network! Welcome to coworking, Mendrisio!

We are happy and thrilled to announce the first Cowo® coworking space in Switzerland, thanks to Mendrisio’s fastERA company. Things happen because of people. If we are able to announce Cowo®’s first coworking space in Switzerland, we owe it to the people at fastERA, who decided to join the Cowo® network with their Swiss branch, after having … Continua la lettura di Welcome to Switzerland, Cowo Network! Welcome to coworking, Mendrisio!

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Coworking Svizzera: la rete CowoWe are happy and thrilled to announce the first Cowo® coworking space in Switzerland, thanks to Mendrisio’s fastERA company.

Things happen because of people.

If we are able to announce Cowo®’s first coworking space in Switzerland, we owe it to the people at fastERA, who decided to join the Cowo® network with their Swiss branch, after having joined us twice, with their Milan offices (Cowo Milano/Fara) and their Varese location (Cowo® Varese/Piave).

Isn’t this what the Cowo® Manifesto says, point no. 8?

Coworking enjoys the best marketing strategy: happiness“.Coworking in Svizzera: la Rete Cowo a Mendrisio, presso Fastera

In other words… no marketing plan will ever beat the enthusiasm of a happy coworking community with a strong sense of belonging!

We could even say that this approach is now making our project… go international.

We feel that the Cowo® concept has no geographic boundaries.
To see it cross borders makes us very proud, and more responsible, too.

Coworking in Svizzera: la Rete Cowo a MendrisioBeing in a country different from our own – namely Switzerland – brings us some new responsibilities.

It means to explore and understand all specific, national aspects of the project, to begin with.

We have met this challenge knowing how essential it is, for a coworking space, to build its development and future success on good fundamentals.

First of all, the legal point of view.

In this regard, we want toCoworking Cowo Mendrisio Svizzera: sala riunioni thank the lawyers that studied the Swiss laws in order to put us in the position to offer coworking services complying with local laws and regulations.

None of this could have been done without you, guys!

And now: welcome to Switzerland, in the Cowo® Mendrisio/San Martino coworking space, now available for the local coworking community.

Coworking Cowo Mendrisio SvizzeraThe new Cowo® Mendrisio/San Martino will meet all your needs: first of all, it’s super-easy to reach (you’ll find it right next to Foxtown).

Then, once you’re there, you’ll be able to enjoy the widest range of services.

From the outbound telephone line to the fully serviced workstation and the comfortable kitchen at your disposal, the Mendrisio Cowo® coworking space is a fine start for our Coworking in Svizzera: la Rete Cowo a Mendrisionetwork in Switzerland.

A big “thank you” to the fastERA managers for choosing Cowo®, and all the best to the new coworking community… made in Switzerland!

Go to coworking Cowo® Mendrisio/San Martino – Switzerland presentation page

[Free download]
Download now the coworking Cowo® Mendrisio/San Martino – Switzerland presentation (pdf file)

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