Camaraderie – New Coworking Space in Toronto

Yeah, independents, freelancers, emerging startups, web developers and others rejoice. You have a coworking option in Toronto again. After Indoor Playground “moved” in January 2008, Toronto has been lacking a general coworking space. (Yes I know about the Centre for Social Innovation, but it has mission-based selection criteria that helps create it’s ecosystem and not everyone qualifies). But today, Rachael and Wayne have announced the opening of Camaraderie. I provided some coverage over on StartupNorth, I’m hoping that we can again try to rally around a different office space model that is enabled by this emerging participatory culture.

Camarderie - Coworking in Toronto

Camaraderie is a located at 102 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON. The doors are scheduled to open on Feb 15, 2010 and the space will be free until Feb 28, 2010. I’m hoping that many of the independents that are looking for a part-time, downtown coworking space will check out Camaraderie. The pictures of the space are still very raw.

The Building 102 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ONOpen WorkspaceKitchen AreaBoard Room

The Details

  • memberships will be $300/mo for unlimited use during business hours
  • we’ll work out keys later, but for now the space will be open 9:00am-6:00pm (or later)
  • free wifi, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate every day

Coworking in Mainstream Media

Over the last couple weeks coworking and some of the coworking fascilities in North America have been featured in traditional media.  And those of us with the ability to update this blog have been tardy in reporting this.  The news did make the rounds of the Coworking Google Group, which anyone really interested in coworking should consider joining.

It was previously reported that coworking@BOB, the newest coworking space in Vancouver, was featured in the Vancouver Sun.  However, Jane Hoges has written a lengthier piece where she visits four coworking spaces in four major US cities for the Wall Street Journal online edition.   New Work City is again featured on the NPR website in an article by Kaomi Goetz.  Finally on is a story on Working in Wi-Fi Limbo which would have been improved with more information on coworking options available in most every major city.

In related news i/o Ventures a tech start-up accelerator/incubator with elements of coworking, ie shared office space, combined with mentorship and capital investment, has opened in the Bay Area by one of the founders of MySpace and his partners.  Organizations like this have popped up in Boulder Colorado, Seattle, and Vancouver BC.  Their founders see them as a better way to bootstrap an organization and an alternative to traditional Angel and Venture Capital financing, especially in the seed stage.

Finally for those that have read down this far is an excellent article articulating the Five Things Necessary for a Local Startup Ecosystem.

coworking@BOB featured in Vancouver Sun

Since we announced we would be converting the main floor of 163 East Pender into a space welcoming to coworkers we’ve received a lot of support both in social and now in traditional media.  Gillian Shaw wrote about our coworking space as well as about the other programs and services offered by Building Opportunities with Business in Monday’s Vancouver Sun.

We signed up a couple new coworkers yesterday but we still have lots of room and are not near our cashflow positive number of twenty coworkers.  We are also getting a lot of enquiries about renting the entire space during the Olympics.  It has been taken. As part of our efforts to revitalize Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and to encourage Olympic visitors to walk three blocks East of Stadium Skytrain station we’re going to have an official art installation in our space.  It will be open to the public and created jobs for two or three locals as greeters.

Christmas at coworking@BOB

Unfortunantly it is basically forcing our coworkers, who want to work during February, upstairs.  BOB has a number of spare desks and will add more to the 2nd floor of 163 East Pender.  To offset the Olympic inconviences and to entice professionals and non-profits to consider making coworking@BOB their new home, we’re offering January and February for free if they are willing to sign up for a six month stint with the first payment due March 1st 2010.

We’ve continued to improve the space.  We’ve added some storage lockers which will be available to coworkers for a small aditional fee.  This compliments our other lockable storage options of desks drawers and filing cabinets.  All coworkers will get a cubby (shelf space) and there is plenty of storage for kitchen supplies as well as our loading bay for bikes and what not.

We’ll get some more pictures of the space up on our Flickr account that were taken during our Christmas Open House, in the mean time some were posted by AHA Media.

New coworking space in Vancouver

After the sudden and unexpected demise of Vancouver’s Workspace, many people sprung into action.  There was discussion at BarCamp, there was a meeting in Chinatown, there are efforts underway to expand the Network Hub or for businesses and organizations to let people use their space on an adhoc basis, all in an effort to offset the loss of Vancouver’s first and most famous coworking space.

So I thought, what about BOB?

It had always been in our plans to make available for use by others our main floor at 163 East Pender, but the brain trust was thinking along the lines of event and meeting space.  I proposed making the space also available to coworkers, many of whom were now homeless after the closure of Workspace.  After creating a drawing of our space and writing a vision document, we achieved ‘buy in’ internally and set about seeing what the costs would be.

Proposed Floor Plan

Building Opportunities with Business (BOB) is a non-profit organization that is championing an inclusive revitalization process for the inner-city that values existing businesses and residents. BOB is a connector, a resource and a facilitator working to: strengthen the inner-city’s community capacity; identify and build on untapped business opportunities; improve employment opportunities and retention; and increase investment in Vancouver’s inner-city.

To further our mission we would like to make available to select partners, individuals, and businesses the main floor of 163 East Pender Street.  We hope that this open shared work space can contribute to the revitalization of the inner-city by providing a space for creative professionals to flourish, for ideas to peculate, to cross pollinate, for businesses to grow, a place where stuff gets done.

What we’re offering is a work surface, be it a desk, a chair, a table, a couch, or the bay window, wherever you’re most comfortable.  Of course we’ll offer wi-fi and other niceties such as an electronic white board and a projector to facilitate discussion and creative thinking. There’s a fridge for your food, a microwave, filtered water cooler, and secure storage for your bike.  The room will be decorated with ever changing art from inner-city artists and galleries plus historic Chinatown is just outside the door to provide inspiration.Chinatown Gate

Target Audience

We’re looking for creative professionals, progressive thinkers, the socially responsible and ecologically conscious who want to be surrounded by others of like mind.  Folks who want more than a cubicle and a 9 to 5 and dream of bigger things and a better Vancouver to call home.  People who want to support BOB, to see our vision become a reality.

Shared Work Environment

BOB will offer our partners a clean, safe, productive, professional environment in the heart of Chinatown, filled with kindred spirits, and empower them to make an impact.

For Individuals

Individuals, known as associates, will have their own electronic fob to come and go as they please Monday to Friday.  BOB staff will make the space available and provide support between 9 and 5. The coworking hours are 9 AM until at least 8 PM on weekdays, subject to the availability of an approved caretaker and not withstanding any exclusive event bookings.  Our intention is to provide at least eight consecutive hours of access daily.  After 5pm a caretaker will be on hand to ensure a professional and productive environment is maintained and the shared workspace is secured fully at the end of the day.  24 hour access and regular weekend hours are not being offered at this time.

For Organizations

Event Preparation163 East Pender is also a space to hold gatherings, meetings of ten to twenty can take place around the central table, and larger gatherings of over a hundred have also been successful.  Inquire at [email protected] to reserve the main floor for your next AGM or networking event.

BOB needs to use the main floor from time to time for our business development seminars, employer breakfasts, and job fairs.  Best efforts will be made to schedule these events between 8am-12pm Tuesdays and Thursdays allowing the space to be used Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings by others.  Weekend and evening events are also possible and will be examined on a case by case basis.BOB's office space

Enough of the marketing speak, where is this idea at?

We have desks, WiFi, and fobs so people can start working out of coworking@BOB now if they like.  We are charging a flat $200 per month, plus GST of course.  Some of the furniture and upgrades to the facilities are not completed, such as tiling in the bathroom.  Tilers in Vancouver are busy people it seems. BOB has already had many events and meetings in the space, we’ll be having our Christmas Open House there on December 16th so anyone who wants to see the space or learn more should contact [email protected].  I also set up a special Twitter account just for letting associates know what is going on at the space and am also working on getting Divvy up and running.

Thanks for all the help of the coworking community in getting our space to this state, now all we need is some coworkers, so if you know anyone looking for a cheap but professional place to work out of, send them my way.  More pictures of the space as it takes shape available on Flickr.

Empty Desks
We're looking for some coworkers to fill these desks.

On coworking sustainability, urban workstyles and business model.

I’d like to share these views on coworking, with this presentation to be held in Florence, Italy, on Oct. 15th @Festival della Creatività.

Cowo® is the network of 21 spaces (and counting!) that is spreading around in the country since February 2009.

In particular, what I’d like to discuss is the “business sustainable” model we are trying to leverage, keeping break-even point to zero by exploiting existing spaces.

In other words, we are working on the consideration that opening cw spaces inside existing offices and keeping it very basic is a 100% revenue activity.

Thank you in advance for your attention and comments!

[slideshare id=2197582&doc=cowocarraro-091012081736-phpapp02]

How is coworking doing in Argentina?

Coworking in Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Coworking in Buenos Aires (Argentina)

It’s been a long time since my last post on the blog, so for those of you who don’t know we started Cowork Central back in November 2007, we were the first coworking space in Latin America and it is located in downtown Buenos Aires. Much has happened since our opening almost a year and a half ago and we wanted to share some of those thoughts and plans for the future with you.

Many spaces were created in Latin America during this time in the cities of: Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Montevideo (Uruguay), and as I can see from the Wiki right now, a lot more are being planned. This leads me to believe that the coworking movement is actually fitting very well into a very different culture as the northern countries (US, Canada, Europe) have.

Although during this time we had the pleasure of being interviewed by very important national and international press (NYTimes, The Globe and Mail, Clarín, El Cronista, La Razón, etc.) we had a somewhat difficult time trying to attract and evangelize local geeks to the coworking idea. Because of this, most of our members are international visitors that are staying for just a couple of months and then move on. On one hand this is actually pretty cool since it adds a lot of cultural value to the space and it’s members but on the other hand it’s not that good in the long term creation of the community. Reaching local individuals has been one of our most challenging tasks.

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure to visit some coworking spaces in the US (New York, San Francisco and Austin), had the chance to talk to the founders and members of such spaces and I came back with several ideas to implement here in the end of the world.

Open House (Jelly!)
Open House (Jelly!)

For the time being we are setting up our very first Jelly event. Again, this would be the first of it’s kind in Latin America. This event is scheduled for June 16th and our idea is that if this goes well, we might start hosting more Jelly’s to attracting more people to the coworking community.

Of course, if you happen to visit Buenos Aires, don’t forget to drop by, remember we are participating on the “coworking visaproject.

What does coworking do for me. A video interview from Italy.

After a few months of activity @ cowo milano, I finally managed to do something I’ve been trying to do for a long time: a video interview with a coworker, having him say what it’s like.

As I imagined, there’s nothing like the real thing… Davide tells the story in a way that couldn’be done better.

I don’t post the video because it’s in Italian (if you want to see it it’s here) but I do post the English transcription:

Question – Hi Davide! First of all, what’s your job?

Answer – Hi. I design sailing boats, racing ones.

Q. – Great. What’s your organization?

A. – We are a small company with two offices, one here in Milano, since April, and the other one in Amsterdam, where my partner is.

Q. – How does coworking work for you?

A. – It gives me the chance to have a very flexible work situation, fully serviced.
A place where I can work quietly. always connected to the web and also connected to other people.

Q. – In this respect, how did it feel for you to work side by side with professionals with a different background?

A. – Very interesting. Up to now I’ve always worked with other engineers, and it always ended up talking about the same stuff, which can get boring.
In a coworking situation one gets the chance to interact with people totally different. It’s fun to share your office with a novel writer, or an internet pro… different worlds, very interesting.

Q. – Is such a company making your working days more interesting, or would you rather sit in your own, private office?

A. – No, I’m very happy, actually. I think that for a small start-up it’s a good opportunity to have a coworking space, a less flexible situation would not have been good for me.
Coworking gave me the flexibility I need, also the freedom to renew my staying month by month, adapting to my needs, eventually involving other people in the company, in the cowo premises.
Such a flexibility isn’t easy to find, other than coworking.

Q. – As to interaction with your business partner, in Amsterdam?

A. – We work with Skype, always in touch, with earphones, triyng not to disturb other people here.

Q. – We haven’t mentioned your company’s name…

A. – It’s ST Yachts, in the internet: styachtdotcom.

Thanks a lot Davide!

Whitespace grand opening in Seattle!

What better way to kick off a new milestone in political history than to have a party for the grand opening of a new Coworking space in Seattle!

Join myself and my colleagues at Blue Flavor on Friday, November 14th as we launch Whitespace, a coworking space for professionals in Seattle who are passionate about their work, but tired of working alone at home or in noisy coffee shops. Think of it as a co-op artist and tech space. It’s also a great environment for relaxing and collaborating with like-minded people.

To RSVP for the event please do so on Upcoming or Facebook. You can also visit to learn more about the space and our rates.

Cowork the Vote: Share Your Election-Day Stories

It’s Election Day in these United States, and our more-than-five-dozen coworking spaces know it. Some have helped prepare, hosting and organizing open-source crowdsource election-monitoring tools. Others are hosting results-watching parties, offering incentives to visitors who have voted, or simply opening for business today.

Launchpad Coworkings mashup of the Obama campaign logo with Coworking
Launchpad Coworking's mashup of the Obama campaign logo with Coworking
  • Williamsburg Coworking, in a Jelly session at the “Change You Want to See” gallery in Brooklyn, New York, hosted a coding party last month, as blogged here, to foster development of the “Vote Report” project mashing up Twitter and Google Maps and creating mobile and web applications to support community-based reporting of election-day problems. They invited other Coworking spaces to be part of a nationwide day of coding parties October 24th.

    fervent coders at Williamsburg Coworking
    fervent coders at Williamsburg Coworking
  • BLANKSPACES in Los Angeles, California is not just hosting a party tonight to watch the returns come in (7-9 PM), it is offering “Free WiFi and a seat at the WorkBar” when you show your “I voted” sticker throughout the day.
  • The People’s Republic of Berkeley Coworking hosted a discussion of the myriad local and state ballot propositions on Sunday.
  • CubeSpace in Portland, Oregon is hosting regular “knitting night” as well as the Ruby Brigade this evening; either could be related to the election or to revolutions in coding, but the connection isn’t obvious.
  • Houston’s Caroline Collective hosted a book-signing Saturday for “One Nation Under Blog,” looking at the intersection of Web 2.0 and politics. The space was slated to host a viewing party for the final Presidential debate, but foul weather intervened.
  • Florida’s second Coworking community, CollabOrlando opened yesterday, in Orlando, Florida.
  • New Work City, which also just opened yesterday, is planning a results-viewing event, although not necessarily in the space (as of last report).
  • Julie Gomoll at Launchpad Coworking in Austin, Texas, while not yet open, has blogged about the connection between the citizen-driven democracy encapsulated in the Obama/Biden campaign and coworking. (she also invited President Obama to come by the space anytime he likes).
  • Seattleites can visit Office Nomads for an election-night viewing party tonight after hours, and bring a cupcake and candle if they like to celebrate the space’s recent first birthday.

As I help get out the vote around Philadelphia today, I’ll be stopping by Independents’ Hall to see if anything democracyesque is happening there. What’s your space doing (other than giving paid staff time off to vote, as required by law)? Are your members engaged in the political process? Please add your stories in the comments. Democracy Begins at Work.