Cowork Rochester

If You Build It, They Will Come

Posted in coworking by Erik on February 19, 2010

Um, No. Community plays a huge roll in ultimately the determining success or failure of a co-working location. A building, no matter how well located, how cool and how hip can’t hope to succeed unless the community needs it. Brad Neuberg ended up closing his first c0-working facility because “nobody came”, but that is not entirely accurate. Many people did come and his idea spread to other locations. His ideas were remixed, spread and new facilities cropped up all around the country and the world. A community of space catalysts was born.

A post illustrating the differences between temporary and permanent co-working caught my attention today. The author described some of the features of a permanent location and a temporary event like a Jelly. What was missing, however, was the sense of community and collaboration, the human resources, that are present in both models. Anecdotally, I’ve learned that successful co-working facilities have grown out of communities. Both CoCo (MN) and The 3rd Place (MN) both started out as a less formal co-working group that meets regularly in Minneapolis.

In 2009, WebWorkerDaily posted an article about Justifying Coworking as an Investment. It highlights the decision process someone should go through when contemplating wether co-working will be a good fit for them. This paragraph from that article really hits the nail on the head:

If you are looking to build meaningful professional relationships, the kind that can’t come from email exchanges and the occasional lunch, then coworking presents a tangible benefit. If you need your company to have a public face, and one that exists in a brick-and-mortar sense, and you need that consistently, then coworking presents an attractive proposition. If your working hours are interrupted in consistent and unpredictable ways at your home office, damaging your productivity, then coworking could help.

So how might co-working take hold and get started in Rochester and other cities? By forming a community. Over the last few weeks I have learned that there are multiple communities of small firms and solo-workers already in place here in Rochester. I’ll be working to connect with these communities over the coming months.

Hat tip to CoCo for sharing the WebWorkerDaily article.