Friday, February 20, 2009

Coworking (Now a Reality?) - February 20, 2009

To save myself a bit of awkward explanation, I'm going to briefly defer to the almighty Wikipedia.

Coworking is an emerging trend for a new pattern for working. Typically work-at-home professionals or independent contractors or people who travel frequently end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.

I first heard about coworking at the San Francisco PSFK Conference back in July of 2008, when speaker Amit Gupta (founder of Photojojo) was talking about his recent venture called Jelly. Jelly invites strangers to meet up at a person's house for a day. They provide chairs and sofas, wireless internet, and interesting people to talk to, collaborate with, and bounce ideas off of. Sounds interesting, right? Given today's terrible economic climate and the fact that people are losing jobs left and right, having a communal space to work together is a brilliant remedy. It immediately reminded me of Likemind.

I recently explored this whole idea of co-working by checking out Citizen Space in San Francisco. Unlike Jelly, which happens once or twice a month, Citizen Space is open everyday for people to come in and work. They have a simple list of rules to abide by:

GROUND RULEZ for Citizen Space

  1. we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. if a key holder asks you to leave, you need to skedaddle
  2. no bittorrent, no pr0n
  3. clean up your garbage and recycle (blue bins are recycling, dude)
  4. you break it, you buy it
  5. coworking is an extreme sport, don’t sue us if you break a blood vessel in your forehead dealing with windows, apple’s DRM, or anything else
  6. don’t be a dick
I had a great time checking out the space. It was full of energy (but no heat), and had plenty of tools at hand (printers, wireless, chairs, scanners, etc). Here are some pics:

I highly recommend that anyone who is currently unemployed or is off doing their own thing to consider coworking once a month. It's a great way to meet other intelligent and creative people, and maybe a few soon to be internet pop sensations.

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