looking for work in coworking space's

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Karl Long

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Aug 21, 2011, 1:50:33 PM8/21/11
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I am working on a couple of projects related to coworking/comaking,
but am not generating much money at the moment
(http://makeinnovation.com). I wondered if there was an appropriate
source to look for work at coworking spaces or with startups in
coworking spaces themselves?

Thanks,

Karl

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@karllong

Alex Hillman

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Aug 21, 2011, 2:10:10 PM8/21/11
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Looking for work in a coworking space is like looking for love at the bar. If you walk in the door prowling, you're likely to go home alone. 

Instead, if you walk in the door friendly, charming, and interesting - your chances start to go up.

The first step to get work in a coworking space is to DO your work in a coworking space.

There's no shortage of opportunities, of course. A statistically significant percentage of Indy Hall members, for instance, have gotten work from other Indy Hall members, shared work with other Indy Hall members, or even gotten work simply by virtue of the fact that they are active Indy Hall members.

But the key focus we've had is maintaining Indy Hall is a place to come do work, rather than a place to come get work. If you're doing your work from a coworking space, it's like the best job interview/portfolio piece you can possibly have - people get to know your personality, observe your work ethic, and see your work products. These are three of the hardest things to get a grasp of when looking for talented people to work with, and I don't think it's any coincidence that the work exchange opportunities and experiences are higher at coworking spaces that make them easier for their members to share.

It's simple and almost too obvious to say, but the fact is that the people who do work from Indy Hall also tend to get the most work from their experience at Indy Hall. 

From reading your MakeInnovation page, I'm curious where you see yourself fitting into this process? It sounds like you've got some ideas, but they're not clear from that one-pager. 

-Alex


/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia



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Karl Long

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Aug 21, 2011, 3:41:58 PM8/21/11
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You're absolutely right about the benefits of working in a coworking
space being a great place to get to know potential collaborators.
Hiring at startups in particular can involve great risk and investment
by the startup and the employee so having a working relationship of
any sort would reduce that risk tremendously. For me one of the
benefits of coworking is the proximity to complementary businesses and
certainly one of the benefits of incubators, the challenge of course
is finding and developing relationships with complementary business
prior to moving in, so to speak.

The MakeInnovation idea was my initial step in trying to bootstrap a
coworking space focused on innovation and incubation. I have some
ideas for some digital tools that could facilitate that process but
they are in the conversation stage right now.

Apart from looking for work myself I'm also keen on the idea of
finding ways the concept of coworking/maker spaces can help provide
support and help to people who are at risk, long term unemployed, or
people who want to change jobs learn new technologies and about
entrepreneurship.

Thanks for the advice, the work you've done with IndyHall is inspiring,

Karl

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Alex Hillman

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Aug 21, 2011, 4:14:31 PM8/21/11
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I did a bit more writing (similar themes, slightly different context) about this topic on Quora if you're interested:


The MakeInnovation idea was my initial step in trying to bootstrap a coworking space focused on innovation and incubation

Every time I've seen a place that is "focused on innovation and incubation", it seems to be focused on tools and resources rather than what people are doing with the tools and resources they already have, which I find really interesting pattern. 

The focus on making innovation and incubation happen seems like a distraction from letting it happen.

I found a copy of Scenario Magazine a couple of months ago where the cover story was about a guy who was building homebrew manned rocketships in an old hangar outside of Copenhagan. The teaser for the article caught my eye:

Kristian von Bengtson looks at me with a piercing gaze. He is the man who, together with inventor Peter Madsen, is building a spaceship and a rocket from scratch. I have just asked him what he thinks about today’s focus on the experience economy, innovation and similar ideas, expressed in a business world with many plans for progress and growth. The answer is direct:“It’s nothing but post-it notes on whiteboards with arrows in between. If you take a closer look, nothing gets done.”

He pauses briefly and elucidates:

“Yesterday I visited the old Carlsberg Bottling Halls, where one of my good friends sits and works. He is a designer, and we sometimes sit together working on our different things. Yesterday, we started talking about how tired we are of all the bullshit we hear about. You know, from people writing and talking about ‘innovation-driven design’ and that sort of stuff. They belong to a bullshit industry with offices filled with CAD drawings, projects, paper and 360-degree design solutions. But I keep thinking: Make something, produce something, do something! If not, you don’t get anywhere.”

Emphasis mine. 

I'd say that there's far more value in providing spaces and experiences that get out of the way, than provide extra bells and whistles in the name of innovation. There's no shortage of incubators in the world - what there is a shortage of is places that let people do what they need to do in order to innovate.

If you haven't already, pick up a copy the book of "Where good ideas come from" by Steven Johnson.

Here's the 5 minute animated version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NugRZGDbPFU

In it, Steven explores concepts like the "Slow Hunch", and how historically, during times of innovation and creativity there were places for slow hunches to mix and mingle. In the age of enlightenment, we had coffee houses. When modernism was sweeping the artistic communities, Salons were popular in Paris.

I'd venture to say that Coworking spaces are our time's coffee houses, salons, etc. They're the places where people get the most out of them because they're NOT incubators, but instead because they're places where people mingle, ideas socialize, creativity evolves, and people do things with the raw materials and skills within arms reach.

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia


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