11 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Entrepreneurial Amnesia

Bringing coworking to nearby Loveland, Colorado has been an adventure. We’ve roved around looking for fast, reliable and secure internet. We’ve picked up shop and moved mid day for greener pastures.  We’ve celebrated milestones and then suffered disappointment when things didn’t work out after all. I’ve asked myself several times if I can really do *this* again.  Can I?

It seems like a hundred years ago when the Fort Collins crew was crammed into that reception area at RMI2  for free coworking.  I have to think hard to remember how every Tuesday morning I would arrive twitter-pated to start the day and explore the concept of coworking with my new little circle of friends.  I’d drag tables and chairs together and arrange them in some sort of semblance of a “real office” and then wait for the first freelancers to start arriving.  We did this for just 5 weeks.  Five weeks was all it took to grow a little community of coworking addicts in Old Town.  6 weeks after that Cohere opened.  Ah, Cohere.  Our (near) perfect little slice of historic Old Town with exposed brick, original hardwood floors, sunlight everywhere, sweet high back chairs and fun furniture. Comfort.  Bliss.  Sweet productivity and calm all at once.  Hasn’t it always been this way?

Flash to today: in the back room of Dazbog in downtown Loveland.  Four freelancers, 8 cups of coffee and the weirdest collection of music playing over the loud speaker (think The Beatles, funk and Bruce Springstein together at last).  Don’t misunderstand me.  Dazbog has been great.  The owner has been flexible and helpful (the free snacks didn’t hurt)!  But we’re in a coffee shop.  You’ve all heard me talk about the horrors of freelancing from coffee shops and yet here we are again.  We’ve found about the best possible coffee shop situation.  To have a private room with a door, windows and a caffeine source 12 steps away is really, truly delightful.

I have to keep reminding myself that our beginnings in Fort Collins really were humble and not the perfect, flourishing community that we are today.  Remember dragging those tables around?  I mean, really dragging that stuff from the way back of the building? Remember those not so comfy plastic chairs?  How about trading off and on for power with the only outlet?  Remember that?   What about the day we browned out the internet connection because there were 14 of us in a room built for 6 on an internet connection that was probably meant for 4?

In discussing the current coworking situation in Loveland today, we realized that the reason the U.S. economy needs entrepreneurs is because entrepreneurs can’t remember what it was like to start the first business.  Much like child birth (or so I’ve heard), I just can’t remember if or how much pain there was when I started Cohere Fort Collins. I can remember the facts of having to move furniture back and forth but I don’t really remember the irritation or exhaustion of it all.  I remember having a hundred things to do each day but I have no idea what I was feeling other than excitement.  I think that this is the ONLY reason that entrepreneurs carry on.  We take the risks, we take the plunge, and we’re never, ever looking over our shoulders into the past to remember how it was the last time. We just can’t remember the pain.

So we lost our free internet connection in Loveland today and will remain in the coffee shop for many more weeks.  So we’ll be cold and need to wear jackets while we cowork. So we’ll be distracted by the weird music playing.  So what? The most important part about coworking is being together.  Just being together.  We did it at RMI2, we’ll do it at Dazbog and we’ll keep doing it until we crash their internet and use up all of their chairs!

Sure, I don’t really remember the pain of starting Cohere the first time around. I’m sure to forget the little quirks that Loveland has held so far.  But when we open in Denver next year, I’ll be just as excited and just as blissfully unaware of the past points of pain as I am today.