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


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.

July 23rd and 24th July 2015



Registration tickets :

Accreditation press : [email protected]

Web and social media :
Coworking Africa Cape Town Office
@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!

L’articolo Welcome to Switzerland, Cowo Network! Welcome to coworking, Mendrisio! sembra essere il primo su Coworking Project by Cowo®.

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)

L’articolo Welcome to Switzerland, Cowo Network! Welcome to coworking, Mendrisio! sembra essere il primo su Coworking Project by Cowo®.

[Coworking Video] Happy 1964, coworkers!

The idea of coworking is not a new one: “independent together” is something even the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer knew, back in 1964. Enjoy this awesome video – first shared by Locus Coworking’s Prague coworkers and republished, with many other coworking videos, in our international coworking community NomadWork – as our warmest wish for a happy and … Continua la lettura di [Coworking Video] Happy 1964, coworkers!

L’articolo [Coworking Video] Happy 1964, coworkers! sembra essere il primo su Coworking Project by Cowo®.

The idea of coworking is not a new one: “independent together” is something even the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer knew, back in 1964.

Enjoy this awesome video – first shared by Locus Coworking’s Prague coworkers and republished, with many other coworking videos, in our international coworking community NomadWork – as our warmest wish for a happy and rewarding new year.

L’articolo [Coworking Video] Happy 1964, coworkers! sembra essere il primo su Coworking Project by Cowo®.

CoWORK Episode 1 – The Dog days of the Entrepreneur

Post Author: Chris.

That building in your town, with lots of people coming in and out, working on tables and chairs, or even small offices.  Everybody wants to know what it is all about. So how do you explain it?

The truth is, that its just like any other office…. but filled with people, who coincidentally, are all amazing, pursuing their dreams and feeding of each others energy and help.  But this is just the surface.

CoWORK is a web series that looks to expose the inner workings of this environment.  The producers look to take the humor, the nuances, the people, the disagreements and everything else and place it into 20 min episodes about life within these types of space.

Based on reality, CoWORK is a show about what really goes on inside a cowork space. 

If you need something a little refreshing and fun you can watch CoWORK Episode 1: “Dog days of the Entrepreneur” here;

So whats your take?  What is your pet policy?



Le Coworking Visa

Post Author: jeannine.

Note:  This blog post first appeared on Katia’s Blog, La nomade sédentaire and is republished here with permission.  We have recently decided to revisit the English-Only policy on this blog (it is after all a Global Blog, right?) and we couldn”t have found a better way to kick it off if we had written it ourselves!

And a big shoutout to Betacowork for tipping us off to the article, thanks!




Aujourd’hui, pleins feux sur le Coworking Visa. Si vous êtes indépendant ou adepte du télétravail, que vous pratiquez le coworking ou envisagez de le faire, ce billet pourrait bien vous intéresser.

Le coworking, j’en ai déjà longuement parlé. Par exemple dans ce billet, où  j’explique le concept en détail, ou celui-ci, où je raconte une journée type dans un espace de coworking. J’ai également déjà parlé des avantages du coworking pour les traducteurs, ainsi que de l’un des principaux bienfaits du coworking, à savoir la sérendipité.

coworkingCoworking vs. business center – c’est pas la même chose, ma p’tite dame!

Si vous êtes nouveau sur ce blog et que vous n’avez jamais entendu parler du coworking, voici en deux mots de quoi il s’agit. Les espaces de coworking accueillent les travailleursindépendants, mais aussi les adeptes du télétravail, et leur offrent un espace de travail partagé. Mais bon, là, je résume vraiment très fort. Car le coworking est bien plus qu’une question d’espace de travail. Et c’est d’ailleurs ce qui le distingue des simples business centers, qui se contentent de vous louer un bureau et les services qui vont avec. Le coworking, c’est une véritable communauté, où les talents se rencontrent, se mélangent, se découvrent, s’entraident et s’enrichissent mutuellement. Pour en savoir plus, je vous invite à (re)lire mes précédents billets sur le sujet.

Le Coworking Visa – un visa pour la liberté!

Passons à présent à ce fameux Coworking Visa. Sur la page Facebook du Coworking Visa, on trouve la description suivante:

« The coworking visa is a collaborative non profit grassroots movement hosted and launched by the coworking wiki. There are over 180 coworking spaces available in 36 countries around the world. »

Vous avez tout compris: en adhérant à l’un des espaces de coworking membres du coworking visa, ce sont plus de 450 espaces de coworkingdans le monde entier, qui s’offrent à vous, gratuitement!

coworking visaVoyager et travailler avec le coworking visa

Le coworking visa, c’est la solution pour nous, les indépendants, qui partons rarement en vacances sans notre ordinateur. Mais aussi pour ceux qui, comme moi, ont trouvé la solution pour assouvir leur besoin de nomadisme: les échanges de maisons. Imaginez: vous avez prévu d’échanger votre appartement à Bruxelles contre une maison en Grèce, au bord de la mer – c’est l’exemple le plus récent qui me vient à l’esprit, celui d’une amie qui a réalisé son tout premier échange de maison, cet été – sur mes conseils. Cela faisait longtemps qu’elle était tentée par les échanges, mais elle n’avait jamais vraiment osé franchir le pas. Finalement, lorsque cette dame lui a proposé d’échanger sa maison au bord de la Méditerranée pendant trois semaines, il ne lui a pas fallu bien longtemps avant d’accepter. L’échange s’est merveilleusement bien passé et mon amie ne jure désormais plus que par ce mode de voyage.

Bref, je disais donc imaginez que vous décidiez d’opter pour un échange de maisons. Vous êtes indépendant, vous travaillez à distance et pouvez donc faire votre travail depuis n’importe où. L’hiver arrive, pas de vacances prévues (trop de travail, ou pas les moyens de vous offrir quelques jours de repos), mais vous avez envie de changer d’air. La solution? Vous échangez votre appartement et, si vous êtes membre d’un espace de coworking, vous avez gratuitement accès aux espaces de coworking inscrits sur la liste du coworking visa! C’est pas beau, ça?

Comme je le dis plus haut, avoir accès à ces espaces, ce n’est pas juste bénéficier d’un espace de travail: c’est l’occasion derencontrer des professionnels locaux, d’élargir votre réseau à l’international et de faire de jolies découvertes.


Que vous soyez à l’étranger pour des raisons personnelles ou professionnelles, pour trois jours ou pour trois mois, songez donc au coworking visa! Concrètement, il vous suffit d’envoyer un mail à l’espace de coworking de votre choix quelques jours avant votre arrivée et le tour est joué.

Quelques liens intéressants pour terminer:

Pour tout savoir sur le coworking:

Le coworking visa et la liste des espaces membres (en anglais):

La page Facebook du coworking visa:

Un article intéressant sur le coworking visa (en anglais):

Mon site d’échange de maisons préféré:

Pour les Bruxellois tentés par le coworking, le meilleur espace de coworking de la capitale, bien évidemment membre du coworking visa:


Je vous souhaite de jolies découvertes et n’hésitez pas à m’écrire pour en savoir plus ou si vous souhaitez partager votre expérience!

La nomade (sédentaire)


Country Profile: Coworking in Kazakhstan

Note:  This blogpost was written by Faraz Majidulla, of  Astana Multispace, as part of an informal series to introduce us to Coworking spaces and how they function all over the world.  So let’s start the series off with a little bling bling from Kazakhstan.  

Thanks, Faraz!  


Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in world based on land mass but only boasts a population of about 18 million people.  Astana is the newly formed capital city and it hosts some of the world’s best new age architecture, from the Norman Foster designed tent shaped shopping center, Khan Statyr, to the multiple new skyscrapers scattered around the city.  One of the most fascinating sites in the city is the Batirek monument, which towers over the city and from the top gives you the best view of Astana.   Kazakhstan is most famous for being an oil rich country but it also has abundance of other natural resources like: gas, gold, copper, uranium, which has given it the opportunity to attract investors from all over the world.

Coworking is a relatively new concept in Kazakhstan and most people are yet to grasp it.  With Astana Multispace being the first real coworking in Kazakhstan we have been entrusted with not only providing world class services that coworking members around the world are accustom to but also with educating the public on how coworking can help them.

Astana Multispace is situated on the top floor of Astana Mall, one of the most popular and unique malls’ in Astana.  The mall has previously hosted many concerts featuring some of the region’s most famous talents.  It has also hosted other great events like drift racing competitions in the underground parking lot and MMA fights in the middle of the mall.  All of these things have helped make Astana Mall one of the destination spots in the Astana.  In recent months however the trend has changed as most people are visiting the mall for more business oriented events that are generally hosted in Multispace.  On a daily basis there are hundreds of people coming for seminars or conferences hosted by the likes of big financial institutions, the national railway company, big oil companies, and big media institutions.

Multispace is considered to be the ‘third place’ filled with eager entrepreneurs, creative designers, and inquisitive journalists.   The sensible design gives it unique ambience that makes it comfortable whether you want to work or relax.  Our design is often compared to Google Office designs.  There are a host of different types of workstations available, individually themed private meeting rooms, a large conference room, a library, an amphitheatre, individually themed private offices, a cigar lounge, a coffee shop and relaxation area.  In addition to this there is a reception area that offers a concierge services.  In Multispace we focus on giving our coworkers the right ‘props’ and best possible conditions to achieve their goals.  This includes high-quality eco-friendly furniture, proper lighting, and the ability to relax in the special twilight recreation room, this is all so that people can work more productively. Our main task is to give young entrepreneurs a new lifestyle.

The future of coworking in Kazakhstan looks very bright as more and more people are choosing this concept opposed to the traditional office.  Most of our coworkers claim that it would be near impossible to switch back to the old ways and see this as the better alternative.   The reason for this is mostly the social aspect that has been injected into their work life making them more open to new ideas and productive.

Is it a good idea to have multiple coworking spaces in one city?

Post Author: jeannine.

This blog post first appeared on Jonathan Markwell’s blog and is republished here with permission.  The subject of competing Coworking spaces within one city came up in the Coworking group, and during the discussion this gem came to light.  We are proud to republish it here as part of our effort to revitalize this blog and the Open Coworking community.



I’ve had to ask myself this question many times since starting The Skiff. The growth of coworking is leading to it being asked increasingly by first time coworking space founders and long term owners alike.

My short answer is “yes” but be careful (I’ve included a checklist at the bottom of this post to help with that).

 It’s taken me a few years to get to this answer. While I’m confident that it’s the right one for Brighton today and probably your city too, let me share with you why I felt “no” and “maybe” were better answers a couple of years ago. It will help you understand and work with the people in your city who might resist your efforts.

We didn’t worry about there being multiple coworking spaces in one city when we started The Skiff. Through its accidental beginnings we didn’t realise what we were doing was coworking (but that’s a story for another time). Once we were up and running it became a regular concern.

It takes time to make a coworking space financially sustainable. When you hear about other spaces opening and you’re feeling cash poor it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that competition will make growing your community even harder. There have been plenty of times that I’ve had sleepless nights over this and it might be that your ‘competitors’ feel the same. Being sensitive to that and talking openly with them at the earliest opportunity will help.

It’s critical that you do not consider other coworking communities in your city to be competition. You have a shared ambition to make coworking the future of work and your true competition is traditional ways of working. To a lesser degree serviced offices, cafés, spare desks at agencies, and people’s home offices and kitchen tables are also competition. The more people there are collaborating on the promotion of coworking in your city, the faster people still doing things the old way will switch.

The thing that helped me come around to this way of thinking was seeing what happened as a result of the other spaces being created in Brighton. It helped our members better understand why they chose The Skiff. It was rarely because of the location, the building or some other physical feature. They chose The Skiff because it was the community of people they felt most comfortable working with. This made our community much stronger and when one or two people left for the other communities, others joined to replace them.

Here’s a checklist I recommend you work through when considering adding coworking spaces to cities that already have them:

  1. Experience the existing communities as a member yourself, participate and connect with the members to make sure you know exactly how the community you start will be different. You might even find that you don’t need to create one yourself.
  2. Build the community first, don’t make the often fatal mistake of getting a space first. Alex Hillman says it best here in How to fund your coworking space.
  3. Don’t make price the differentiator between your space and the others. When you start it looks easy to do ‘cheaper’ but you’ll be surprised by how many unexpected expenses pop up. We learned the hard way that we under priced by over 30% for the first few years. The cheapest desks in a city will always be spare places at companies that pay their bills with other products and services.
  4. Talk to the founders of existing coworking spaces and explain how yours will be different. Rather than worrying, they’ll probably be able to help you understand some of the specific economics of operating in the city and recommend people who could be a better fit for your community than their’s.



You can read more on this topic over on the Global Coworking Discussion

If you’d like to learn more from my experience building and growing coworking communities you should join the 500+ workspace leaders who get notified of my future posts.


5 Benefits of Coworking and Why You Should Join a Shared Workspace

Post Author: Kat Haselkorn.

Coworking is increasing in popularity to the point where, something that was once nearly unheard of, is now a common way to do business. From entrepreneurs to start-ups to small businesses, working in a shared workspace is often the economical thing to do.

When we polled coworkers to see what they loved most about the environment, here’s what they had to say. Read on for 5 reasons current coworkers love their set-up and decide if coworking might be a good fit for you too!


Friends to eat lunch with.

Many individuals who work out of coworking spaces otherwise work alone. These are the folks who used to hole up in coffee shops nursing a cup of tea and praying the WiFi wouldn’t disappear. For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, coworking allows them time to socialize and network with other professionals and have someone to talk to occasionally throughout the workweek.


Learning what all the companies in the office do.

Netowrking is a major perk of coworking spaces but sometimes it goes a step farther. Many small business owners find that the “stranger” at the desk next to them actually provides a service their own company can benefit from. Wandering around the shared workspace and striking up conversations from time to time allows you to learn about all the other businesses in the room. This can be useful from a professional standpoint or simply help you get to know your neighbors.


Watching new professional connections and friendships form.

It’s not all about you. Working in a shared space every day means you get to watch other business partnerships thrive. A startup that originally has just two or three employees, might grow over time, hire freelancers from within the coworking space full time and move to a corner office. This is typical of coworking spaces. They have some of the brightest most industrious minds in the field all working together. That frequently leads to success!


Perks like free coffee/beer/massage chairs and 24/7 access.

Of course, everyone benefits from the office amenities. Coworking spaces like UberOffices in Washington, DC offer free coffee, happy hours, frozen yogurt machines, and massage chairs. The 24/7 accessibility also means that night owls can get work done when a normal office may not allow them access.


Low or no overhead.

For many startups, renting space and furnishing an office is simply out of their price range. This is especially the case if the company grows quickly (as many startups do) and the business is forced to upgrade to a larger space just a few months in. Coworking space allows for low overhead and a variety of different office sizes so as a company grows they can stay onsite for optimal collaboration.

Coworking isn’t for everyone, but for those who are self-employed, freelancing, or starting a business, the benefits are enormous and can lead to a happier, healthier work/life balance and plenty of professional development opportunities.