Archive for April, 2007


The Results of the Coworking Survey

Posted on 21. Apr, 2007 by in blog, Coworking

So…wow…we collected over 120 responses (including the first 11 via email that aren’t in the spreadsheet) and I spoke with quite a few people who said they didn’t get the chance to go take the survey, so I think this is representative of the fact that there is quite a bit of interest worldwide in coworking! Yay! Some great information, too…really telling us where we are at and highlighting people’s needs.

Some overview results for you:

Country Percent Total
USA 58.18%
Unknown 9%
Canada 6.36%
Ireland 3.64%
UK 3.64%
Italy 2.73%
Australia 1.82%
Croatia 1.82%
Germany 1.82%
New Zealand 1.82%
South Africa 1.82%
Afghanistan 0.91%
Finland 0.91%
France 0.91%
Poland 0.91%
Portugal 0.91%
Singapore 0.91%
Spain 0.91%
Switzerland 0.91%

NOTE: I’m guessing due to the anglo-centric discussions, we are getting much higher response in English speaking countries. This may present an opportunity for those in other countries to champion this movement themselves, by translating important text into their own language?

Stage Percent Total
Are currently looking for a space to work from (wanting to be coworkers) 30.9%
Are interested in setting up a space (potential space owners) 25.5%
Other 18.2%
Are just watching the list (lurkers) 10.9%
Are in the process of setting up a space (future space owners) 10.0%
Are currently working at a coworking space (coworkers) 2.7%
Are currently running a coworking space (space owners) 1.8%

NOTE: The trick, for me, is to turn the 10.9% lurkers (and the 18.2% others) into either future space owners or coworkers and turn those potential space owners into actual space owners so the people looking for spaces have somewhere to work!

Features Importance (out of 5)
Atmosphere 4.5
Community Feeling 4.3
Collaborative Environment 4.1
Location 4.0
Networking Opportunities 3.9
Excellent Coworkers 3.7
Meeting Spaces 3.7
Quiet Spaces 3.4
Security 3.2
24 hr Access 3.1
Event spaces 2.9
Privacy 2.8
Personalized Space (own desk) 2.6

NOTE: For those setting up a space, think of creating a really great atmosphere as the #1 thing to concentrate on. There is a great article here on seriously great workspaces. So, do you need art? Comfy chairs? Plants? Rugs? Flowers? Games? Yep. In the end, EVERYTHING was pretty important (nothing scored less than 50%), but Atmosphere and Comunity Feeling blew the others away.

So, how can we help the people trying to set up coworking spaces?

Needs Percent Total
Finding Space 13.6%
Money 10.9%
Partner 7.3%
Space Management Tips 5.5%
Coworkers 5.5%
Structural Health 4.5%
Networking 3.6%
Other 2.7%

…if we could encourage the lurkers, maybe #3 (Partners) wouldn’t be such a big deal and they could help us find space (#1). Money? That’s a whole other issue. Anyone have good tips? For us, we decided to take fewer risks on the monthly rent (found a fix-me-upper that doesn’t have parking spots so the building rent is lower) to make for a better space and not as much pressure on us if we lose tenants…

Benefits Percent Total
Community 16.4%
Advice 14.5%
Support 10.9%
Promotio 8.2%
Mentor 5.5%
Coworker 5.5%
Other 2.7%

…aaaawwwww! Community, advice and support are awesome things to get out of this list and everyone should be proud of themselves for giving so much! :)

The rest of the answers are here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pVSaj5ixYmAyYm–dbRhgXw in long form. I’ve removed all of the personal information as far as I know…(like IPs and emails)

Enjoy!

Introducing: Coworking Lite at Citizen Space

Posted on 20. Apr, 2007 by in blog, Coworking

Thusfar, we’ve had two ‘levels’ of coworkers at CS: drop-ins and desk owners.

Desk owners get a whole lot of coolness for $350/month, including:

  • your very own desk … store your ‘stuff’… nobody else sits there without your permission
  • your own keys and key fob with 24 hour access to the space
  • unlimited booking time of the conference room, lounge, space for events (as long as it’s not already in use – schedule to be posted)
  • space for third parties to come in and collaborate with you (unlimited)
  • wifi, power, furniture (except for you bring a nicer chair if you wish), coffee, water, office ‘perks’ (like beer and wine and snacks and stuff) and other utilities
  • use of the projector, fax, whiteboards, flipcharts and printer (and other office equipment as it is added)
  • moderate insurance
  • growing library of cool resources: books, publications, software, etc.

We have 7 spots that are all taken at this time (including Chris and me)

The drop-ins have to sort of take a chance by whether we are going to be there or not and get the following for free:

  • any available space to sit, squat or pull up a desk (except for resident desks…sorry)
  • wifi, power, coffee (although it would be cool to replenish it if you drink alot) and water
  • the presence of really tuned in, smart, interesting people
  • ability to check out books

As long as there is space, the more, the merrier!

NOW, though, based on demand as well as the need to bring in a little more to cover those high costs, that we would add another tier of coworker. Introducing…

COWORKING LITE for $250!

What does coworking lite give you?

  • Your very own key that will give you 24 hour access
  • unlimited booking time of the conference room, lounge, space for events (but the full-time tenants get first right of refusal)
  • space for third parties to come in and collaborate with you (unlimited)
  • wifi, power, furniture, coffee, water, office ‘perks’ (like beer and wine and snacks and stuff) and other utilities
  • use of the projector, fax, whiteboards, flipcharts and printer (and other office equipment as it is added)
  • moderate insurance
  • growing library of cool resources: books, publications, software, etc.

Basically, everything but the desk. You will have first right of refusal over drop-ins, of course (and, as it grows, we’ll manage that for you). But if all you need is an occasional office and meeting space and the ability to come and go as you please, this is a pretty cool plan. :)

These spaces are also limited…right now to 5 keys.

For more information, drop Chris or myself an email: tara at citizenagency dot com or chris at the same.

Another Speaker Training at Citizen Space (Apr.21)

Posted on 08. Apr, 2007 by in blog, Events

Do you:

* have an important pitch to VC’s coming up?
* need to brush up on your public speaking skills?
* find networking events incredibly nerve-racking?
* feel that you aren’t confidently going into job interviews?
* just want to find more confidence to talk about what you are passionate about?
* Well then, Speaker Training by Lura Dolas is exactly what you need!

Speaker Training at Citizen Space
Saturday, Apr 21, 2007 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
San Francisco, CA

About:

Instructor: Lura Dolas, Speaker Trainer Extraordinaire

Description: Whether you’re the chairman of the board or a rising star on the sales team, you have a message to convey. Your format may be a 30-second elevator pitch or a 30-minute keynote speech, a motivational address to hundreds of employees or a persuasive talk to a small group of skeptical investors. But it’s always an opportunity to present your best, most successful self.

This full-day seminar is a real deal at $99. Lura’s one-on-one rate is $150/hour. That’s almost 1/10th of her price + you will get the bonus of practicing in front of a group of peers.

(don’t worry, they are all as nervous as you) ;)

Please fill out our coworking survey!

Posted on 08. Apr, 2007 by in blog, Coworking

Hey there! We’ve put together a survey to help us serve the needs of the coworking community better going forward. It would help a bunch of you filled this out…I estimate it would take about 10-15 minutes:

Survey Here

Thanks! You are swell! :)

Questions about starting a coworking space

Posted on 05. Apr, 2007 by in blog, Coworking

Genia and Jim Parker from Tucson, Arizona are in the process of creating a coworking space for creative collaborators utilizing a 1900 square foot building that they own with three distinct work areas.

They’re in the finalization stages and asked for our opinion and experience on the follow six topics:

  1. What surprises have you encountered in operating this concept?
  2. What are the operational areas of concern today?
  3. If you had it to do over again . . . would you?
  4. What services are key to attracting the clientele you desire?
  5. What kind of turnover do you experience?
  6. Who manages the overall space for you? And how are they compensated?

What surprises have you encountered in operating this concept?

Well, first off, starting and running Citizen Space has been tremendously rewarding and gratifying. We spent many, many hours working out of our dining room and out of cafes and while that was fine, it wasn’t the best situation for us, for the cafes, for our health, diet or our sanity.

Finding a space of our own, that we could in turn offer up to other independents like us who felt isolated or uninspired working from home or who were ready to graduate out of cafes and into a space that they had some control and influence over.

That we didn’t really do any advertising (besides a few community-focused events) and still managed to attract four anchors was probably the most surprising; at the same time, we knew that there was a strong desire from many folks for a cafe-like environment in which they could have social interaction but also be productive.

So I’d like to say that I’m surprised by our success so far, and of the growth of the network, though in retrospect, I think we knew that we’d very soon joining and helping to cultivate a rather widespread movement to establish and then network spaces of a like kind.

What are the operational areas of concern today?

For the most part it’s keeping the place clean and tidy; but because we’re very lax on ground rules, we put a lot of trust and faith into the anchors that the space is theirs as much as it is ours and that they should look after it as such. I think we’ve been very fortunate to have the calibre of individuals take the to space as we have; the only real issues that have arisen have had to do with outside groups using the space for meetings and meetups, but even those issues have been minor.

Because of the way that we run the space — where either you have a key and have access or you don’t, we really don’t need to worry about constantly staffing the space, whereas if we charged for use of the coworking area, I think we’d feel something of an obligation to take care and serve those folks. To keep our overhead down and flexibility up, so far we only charge people who have a desk and a key. Everything else is free, except events that charge.

We’re making it up as we go and not trying to guess too much at things we don’t know yet.

My biggest concern is figuring out how we can afford to keep the place going longterm, but I’m not too worried about. These things have ways of working themselves out.

If you had it to do over again . . . would you?

Without a doubt. And y’know, we’ll probably do it again… and again… and again… If not personally, through the many efforts and initiatives of others.

I mean, what’s better than both establishing your own local economy and investing in the place that you live? What’s better than having a startup that hundreds of people around the world care about whether it survives or not?

If we didn’t start at the Hat Factory and then meiosis to Citizen Space, would the network be growing as it is? And really, it’s the network that will be the most interesting thing to see emerge over time.

So yes, definitely, I would do it again.

What services are key to attracting the clientele you desire?

It isn’t much of a service, but the most important thing that a space can offer (I think) is community.

People come back and they stay based on how they feel when they’re in the space. You might offer a lot of fancy things, but if the culture doesn’t feel right, you’ll probably end up back home or at the cafe.

Now, in terms of the basics, you should be prepared to offer high speed wireless internet, water service, trash/recycling/composting… and flower service if you’re particularly ambitious.

We invested in lots of furniture, in power supplies, in cabinets, a projector, cups and a coffee maker, various kinds of seats, whiteboards, a big couch… all on our own dime. But those things are necessary for creating the ambiance and flavor of the space. Our anchors bring themselves, their laptops, an office chair and a positive attitude.

So far it’s seemed to work out well, though it’s not quite sustainable yet at the rates we charge.

What kind of turnover do you experience?

Virtually none so far. We have lots of transitory guests who come and go, but they’re not paying, so we don’t really need to worry too much about that kind of turnover.

We’ve only had one person leave, but that was because of a change in employment.

Who manages the overall space for you? And how are they compensated?

We manage the space! It is certainly a challenge, what with running a consultancy as well, but again, we’ve been conservative in both the number of people we’ve taken in to the space as paying members as well as the services we provide. We don’t have the money to hire anyone but our awesome event planner and assistant, so it all comes down to us and our anchors.

I don’t know how well that works for other spaces, but given our previous experiment with cooperative management, we realized that we needed someone on the lease who could answer questions about the space definitely and take care of issues that the other anchors don’t have time or attention to deal with. That’s part of the attractiveness of the cafe-model — you show up and work and buy coffee — it doesn’t get much simpler. So that’s kind of what we’re competing against, though I think the enticements I mentioned above do give us some advantage.

So, there you go. These are certainly good questions to be asking — and I’d be curious what other spaces think about these topics.

Thanks for asking Genia!


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