Community vs Corporate Setup in Coworking

Hi all,

As someone who is relatively new to the world of coworking (I only realised it existed about 6 months ago!) I was curious to hear people’s views on community vs corporate coworking spaces.

As someone who is looking to setup a coworking space there appear to be two distinct views as far as I can see.

One side - community - seems to come from the side of most commonly associated with the original view of coworking - start a community first, figure out what they want and then create a space to suit the community.

The other side - corporate - looks like it takes the view, create some amazing spaces and “they will come”. I’m thinking specifically about WeWork and the other companies that are like them. For example, I could be wrong, but I’m not sure that WeWork necessarily invest massive amounts of resources in creating a community in an area before they launch a new space?

Is this simply a question of things moving on or is there evidence to suggest that the community method is preferable and therefore more sustainable?

My hunch would be that there are more “community” minded people in this forum which might make things a little biased bit I’d be interested to hear regardless.

I’m in the process of looking at launching a dedicated coworking space in a city in the UK that doesn’t have any spaces yet, and so (again) my hunch would be that community first is the way to go in order to quantify the demand.

Thanks again!

Mark

Hi Mark,
I’m not sure this is an either/or question. We’ve found that if you’re doing smaller spaces (under 10,000 s.f.) in smaller cities and towns, we build a non-homogenous community based on location as well as interest groups. If you go with community first, you’re too dependent on that initial group. That said, we start with meetups and community connections as soon as we decide on a location. I guess I’m trying to say that you’re safest if you do both!

···

On Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 8:49:50 AM UTC-7, Mark wrote:

Hi all,

As someone who is relatively new to the world of coworking (I only realised it existed about 6 months ago!) I was curious to hear people’s views on community vs corporate coworking spaces.

As someone who is looking to setup a coworking space there appear to be two distinct views as far as I can see.

One side - community - seems to come from the side of most commonly associated with the original view of coworking - start a community first, figure out what they want and then create a space to suit the community.

The other side - corporate - looks like it takes the view, create some amazing spaces and “they will come”. I’m thinking specifically about WeWork and the other companies that are like them. For example, I could be wrong, but I’m not sure that WeWork necessarily invest massive amounts of resources in creating a community in an area before they launch a new space?

Is this simply a question of things moving on or is there evidence to suggest that the community method is preferable and therefore more sustainable?

My hunch would be that there are more “community” minded people in this forum which might make things a little biased bit I’d be interested to hear regardless.

I’m in the process of looking at launching a dedicated coworking space in a city in the UK that doesn’t have any spaces yet, and so (again) my hunch would be that community first is the way to go in order to quantify the demand.

Thanks again!

Mark

Figure out your main "why", then market that. If it is "money and status", or "community of like-minded people" or "community of people doing a variety of work", those seem to be the big areas of "coworking". And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I've seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

Mark,

Welcome to the party!

It can be a bit tricky to understand the nuances of these two camps as you define them. We’re all still getting a handle on it ourselves!

Here’s another way of looking at it:

**1. You can organize a coworking community without ever having a business. **

Go on Meetup, start a group, meet at a cafe. Hooray, you’re coworking, without any money involved!

2. You can build a workspace without doing coworking.

There’s a whole industry of serviced offices that has been around for a while. Raise some money, get a space, rent bits of that space out to companies for a margin.

There’s lots of established competition in this world, and it’s entirely transactional. No emotional relationship between the space and the customer. If you want to step into that arena, godspeed!

**3. You can build a workspace with coworking in mind. **

Coworking exists regardless of office space; physical workspaces just happen to be a handy delivery vehicle.

Many in the business center industry are scrambling to change their spaces to catch the trend. Many of them think they can get away with offering open plan memberships and fancy decor, but that misses the point.

**The point here is that lots of people don’t need workspace, but they do need each other. **

If you can build something that facilitates real connections between people, then you can do something really exciting and fun and impactful.

Even WeWork knows this—they try very hard to build community. But they are always going to be hamstrung by the fact that their approach is one of being a provider to consumers, and it’s hard to get consumers to care about you or the other consumers.

You, by contrast, are a human, with hopes and dreams.

If you find others who share those hopes and dreams in your city, and you invite them to conspire with you to build something that can help lots of other people find the belonging and support they need, you just might be on your way to starting something that will bring both profit and fulfillment.

Tony

···

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

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Thanks Barbara - very interesting insight.

I’ll be sure to catch your presentation and to have a chat with Jess & Jay!

···

On Thursday, 12 October 2017 17:43:52 UTC+1, Barbara Sprenger wrote:

Hi Mark,
I’m not sure this is an either/or question. We’ve found that if you’re doing smaller spaces (under 10,000 s.f.) in smaller cities and towns, we build a non-homogenous community based on location as well as interest groups. If you go with community first, you’re too dependent on that initial group. That said, we start with meetups and community connections as soon as we decide on a location. I guess I’m trying to say that you’re safest if you do both!

On Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 8:49:50 AM UTC-7, Mark wrote:

Hi all,

As someone who is relatively new to the world of coworking (I only realised it existed about 6 months ago!) I was curious to hear people’s views on community vs corporate coworking spaces.

As someone who is looking to setup a coworking space there appear to be two distinct views as far as I can see.

One side - community - seems to come from the side of most commonly associated with the original view of coworking - start a community first, figure out what they want and then create a space to suit the community.

The other side - corporate - looks like it takes the view, create some amazing spaces and “they will come”. I’m thinking specifically about WeWork and the other companies that are like them. For example, I could be wrong, but I’m not sure that WeWork necessarily invest massive amounts of resources in creating a community in an area before they launch a new space?

Is this simply a question of things moving on or is there evidence to suggest that the community method is preferable and therefore more sustainable?

My hunch would be that there are more “community” minded people in this forum which might make things a little biased bit I’d be interested to hear regardless.

I’m in the process of looking at launching a dedicated coworking space in a city in the UK that doesn’t have any spaces yet, and so (again) my hunch would be that community first is the way to go in order to quantify the demand.

Thanks again!

Mark

Thanks Alex - I’m really just in the process of learning what kind of communities exist in my city - immersing myself in clubs, meetups, get togethers etc. but it will be really interesting to approach the next set of interactions with this in the back of my mind.

It’s interesting that the “education” of local people needs to happen - there are a few die-hard “we don’t need no space, we work anywhere” guys and girls but I think the idea of setting out a clear vision for a space will mean the wider community “get it” much faster.

Thanks again for your feedback - as a newbie I’m soaking up as much information as I can and finding the community is really helpful and open with providing it!

All the best

Mark

···

On Thursday, 12 October 2017 18:56:59 UTC+1, Alex Linsker wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.
-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

Thanks Tony - that’s a really interesting point about WeWork.

The couple I visited in London definitely had that “service first” feel when you walked in. In truth I have no idea if communities existed in the ones I went to, but I can tell you that the independent ones all felt different - the minute you walked in the door. Some were polished, others less so, but they definitely had that community-not-corporate vibe.

Ultimately I’m not looking to set the world alight in terms of launching another corporate WeWork clone - the more I read and learn about the coworking community, the more I feel like I just want to create “my” own little space for a community which will ultimately become the community’s space once it’s up and running. Obviously there’s a financial aspect to all of this - I can’t exist on no income - but I would rather struggle and be happy than sell out and end up with just another space full of tenants who expect a lot from their service provider. Easily said at this early stage I know - I’ve no doubt there are examples of others who have had the same ideals and thought the same, then gone on to fail!

···

On Thursday, 12 October 2017 19:50:53 UTC+1, Tony Bacigalupo wrote:

Mark,

Welcome to the party!

It can be a bit tricky to understand the nuances of these two camps as you define them. We’re all still getting a handle on it ourselves!

Here’s another way of looking at it:

**1. You can organize a coworking community without ever having a business. **

Go on Meetup, start a group, meet at a cafe. Hooray, you’re coworking, without any money involved!

2. You can build a workspace without doing coworking.

There’s a whole industry of serviced offices that has been around for a while. Raise some money, get a space, rent bits of that space out to companies for a margin.

There’s lots of established competition in this world, and it’s entirely transactional. No emotional relationship between the space and the customer. If you want to step into that arena, godspeed!

**3. You can build a workspace with coworking in mind. **

Coworking exists regardless of office space; physical workspaces just happen to be a handy delivery vehicle.

Many in the business center industry are scrambling to change their spaces to catch the trend. Many of them think they can get away with offering open plan memberships and fancy decor, but that misses the point.

**The point here is that lots of people don’t need workspace, but they do need each other. **

If you can build something that facilitates real connections between people, then you can do something really exciting and fun and impactful.

Even WeWork knows this—they try very hard to build community. But they are always going to be hamstrung by the fact that their approach is one of being a provider to consumers, and it’s hard to get consumers to care about you or the other consumers.

You, by contrast, are a human, with hopes and dreams.

If you find others who share those hopes and dreams in your city, and you invite them to conspire with you to build something that can help lots of other people find the belonging and support they need, you just might be on your way to starting something that will bring both profit and fulfillment.

Tony

*New Work Cities *

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Tony, I love how you wrote that. Made me smile to read.

···

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 11:50:53 AM UTC-7, Tony Bacigalupo wrote:

Mark,

Welcome to the party!

It can be a bit tricky to understand the nuances of these two camps as you define them. We’re all still getting a handle on it ourselves!

Here’s another way of looking at it:

**1. You can organize a coworking community without ever having a business. **

Go on Meetup, start a group, meet at a cafe. Hooray, you’re coworking, without any money involved!

2. You can build a workspace without doing coworking.

There’s a whole industry of serviced offices that has been around for a while. Raise some money, get a space, rent bits of that space out to companies for a margin.

There’s lots of established competition in this world, and it’s entirely transactional. No emotional relationship between the space and the customer. If you want to step into that arena, godspeed!

**3. You can build a workspace with coworking in mind. **

Coworking exists regardless of office space; physical workspaces just happen to be a handy delivery vehicle.

Many in the business center industry are scrambling to change their spaces to catch the trend. Many of them think they can get away with offering open plan memberships and fancy decor, but that misses the point.

**The point here is that lots of people don’t need workspace, but they do need each other. **

If you can build something that facilitates real connections between people, then you can do something really exciting and fun and impactful.

Even WeWork knows this—they try very hard to build community. But they are always going to be hamstrung by the fact that their approach is one of being a provider to consumers, and it’s hard to get consumers to care about you or the other consumers.

You, by contrast, are a human, with hopes and dreams.

If you find others who share those hopes and dreams in your city, and you invite them to conspire with you to build something that can help lots of other people find the belonging and support they need, you just might be on your way to starting something that will bring both profit and fulfillment.

Tony

*New Work Cities *

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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Mark this is a good podcast about how to start via a meet up - https://dangerouslyawesome.com/2016/03/we-almost-sold-out-on-our-principles-before-we-even-started/

I got LOADS out of this episode :heart_eyes:

···

Have a remarkable day

Bernie J Mitchell
0777 204 2012

www.berniejmitchell.com

Sent from my mobile device

*Unless we agree otherwise, this email conversation is confidential.

On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 20:57, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Tony, I love how you wrote that. Made me smile to read.

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 11:50:53 AM UTC-7, Tony Bacigalupo wrote:

Mark,

Welcome to the party!

It can be a bit tricky to understand the nuances of these two camps as you define them. We’re all still getting a handle on it ourselves!

Here’s another way of looking at it:

1. You can organize a coworking community without ever having a business.

Go on Meetup, start a group, meet at a cafe. Hooray, you’re coworking, without any money involved!

2. You can build a workspace without doing coworking.

There’s a whole industry of serviced offices that has been around for a while. Raise some money, get a space, rent bits of that space out to companies for a margin.

There’s lots of established competition in this world, and it’s entirely transactional. No emotional relationship between the space and the customer. If you want to step into that arena, godspeed!

3. You can build a workspace with coworking in mind.

Coworking exists regardless of office space; physical workspaces just happen to be a handy delivery vehicle.

Many in the business center industry are scrambling to change their spaces to catch the trend. Many of them think they can get away with offering open plan memberships and fancy decor, but that misses the point.

The point here is that lots of people don’t need workspace, but they do need each other.

If you can build something that facilitates real connections between people, then you can do something really exciting and fun and impactful.

Even WeWork knows this—they try very hard to build community. But they are always going to be hamstrung by the fact that their approach is one of being a provider to consumers, and it’s hard to get consumers to care about you or the other consumers.

You, by contrast, are a human, with hopes and dreams.

If you find others who share those hopes and dreams in your city, and you invite them to conspire with you to build something that can help lots of other people find the belonging and support they need, you just might be on your way to starting something that will bring both profit and fulfillment.

Tony

New Work Cities

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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Thanks Bernie - funnily enough I’d just been listening to those podcasts!

Do you know if there are anymore after episode 57? They seem to just stop?

Also - FYI I took you up on your advice - I’ll see you at the Copass Camp!

···

On 13 October 2017 at 21:30, Bernie J Mitchell [email protected] wrote:


Mark this is a good podcast about how to start via a meet up - https://dangerouslyawesome.com/2016/03/we-almost-sold-out-on-our-principles-before-we-even-started/

I got LOADS out of this episode :heart_eyes:

Have a remarkable day

Bernie J Mitchell
0777 204 2012

www.berniejmitchell.com

Sent from my mobile device

*Unless we agree otherwise, this email conversation is confidential.

On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 20:57, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Tony, I love how you wrote that. Made me smile to read.

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 11:50:53 AM UTC-7, Tony Bacigalupo wrote:

Mark,

Welcome to the party!

It can be a bit tricky to understand the nuances of these two camps as you define them. We’re all still getting a handle on it ourselves!

Here’s another way of looking at it:

1. You can organize a coworking community without ever having a business.

Go on Meetup, start a group, meet at a cafe. Hooray, you’re coworking, without any money involved!

2. You can build a workspace without doing coworking.

There’s a whole industry of serviced offices that has been around for a while. Raise some money, get a space, rent bits of that space out to companies for a margin.

There’s lots of established competition in this world, and it’s entirely transactional. No emotional relationship between the space and the customer. If you want to step into that arena, godspeed!

3. You can build a workspace with coworking in mind.

Coworking exists regardless of office space; physical workspaces just happen to be a handy delivery vehicle.

Many in the business center industry are scrambling to change their spaces to catch the trend. Many of them think they can get away with offering open plan memberships and fancy decor, but that misses the point.

The point here is that lots of people don’t need workspace, but they do need each other.

If you can build something that facilitates real connections between people, then you can do something really exciting and fun and impactful.

Even WeWork knows this—they try very hard to build community. But they are always going to be hamstrung by the fact that their approach is one of being a provider to consumers, and it’s hard to get consumers to care about you or the other consumers.

You, by contrast, are a human, with hopes and dreams.

If you find others who share those hopes and dreams in your city, and you invite them to conspire with you to build something that can help lots of other people find the belonging and support they need, you just might be on your way to starting something that will bring both profit and fulfillment.

Tony

New Work Cities

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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We are making this survival guide with you in mind :slight_smile:

https://included.co/been-to-a-coworking-conference-contribute-to-the-survival-guide/

···

Have a remarkable day

Bernie J Mitchell
0777 204 2012

www.berniejmitchell.com

Sent from my mobile device

*Unless we agree otherwise, this email conversation is confidential.

On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 17:32, Mark van Keulen [email protected] wrote:

Thanks Bernie - funnily enough I’d just been listening to those podcasts!

Do you know if there are anymore after episode 57? They seem to just stop?

Also - FYI I took you up on your advice - I’ll see you at the Copass Camp!

On 13 October 2017 at 21:30, Bernie J Mitchell [email protected] wrote:

Mark this is a good podcast about how to start via a meet up - https://dangerouslyawesome.com/2016/03/we-almost-sold-out-on-our-principles-before-we-even-started/

I got LOADS out of this episode :heart_eyes:

Have a remarkable day

Bernie J Mitchell
0777 204 2012

www.berniejmitchell.com

Sent from my mobile device

*Unless we agree otherwise, this email conversation is confidential.

On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 20:57, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Tony, I love how you wrote that. Made me smile to read.

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 11:50:53 AM UTC-7, Tony Bacigalupo wrote:

Mark,

Welcome to the party!

It can be a bit tricky to understand the nuances of these two camps as you define them. We’re all still getting a handle on it ourselves!

Here’s another way of looking at it:

1. You can organize a coworking community without ever having a business.

Go on Meetup, start a group, meet at a cafe. Hooray, you’re coworking, without any money involved!

2. You can build a workspace without doing coworking.

There’s a whole industry of serviced offices that has been around for a while. Raise some money, get a space, rent bits of that space out to companies for a margin.

There’s lots of established competition in this world, and it’s entirely transactional. No emotional relationship between the space and the customer. If you want to step into that arena, godspeed!

3. You can build a workspace with coworking in mind.

Coworking exists regardless of office space; physical workspaces just happen to be a handy delivery vehicle.

Many in the business center industry are scrambling to change their spaces to catch the trend. Many of them think they can get away with offering open plan memberships and fancy decor, but that misses the point.

The point here is that lots of people don’t need workspace, but they do need each other.

If you can build something that facilitates real connections between people, then you can do something really exciting and fun and impactful.

Even WeWork knows this—they try very hard to build community. But they are always going to be hamstrung by the fact that their approach is one of being a provider to consumers, and it’s hard to get consumers to care about you or the other consumers.

You, by contrast, are a human, with hopes and dreams.

If you find others who share those hopes and dreams in your city, and you invite them to conspire with you to build something that can help lots of other people find the belonging and support they need, you just might be on your way to starting something that will bring both profit and fulfillment.

Tony

New Work Cities

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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That’s awesome - looking forward to reading and learning!

···

On 13 October 2017 at 21:30, Bernie J Mitchell [email protected] wrote:

Mark this is a good podcast about how to start via a meet up - https://dangerouslyawesome.com/2016/03/we-almost-sold-out-on-our-principles-before-we-even-started/

I got LOADS out of this episode :heart_eyes:

Have a remarkable day

Bernie J Mitchell
0777 204 2012

www.berniejmitchell.com

Sent from my mobile device

*Unless we agree otherwise, this email conversation is confidential.

On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 20:57, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Tony, I love how you wrote that. Made me smile to read.

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 11:50:53 AM UTC-7, Tony Bacigalupo wrote:

Mark,

Welcome to the party!

It can be a bit tricky to understand the nuances of these two camps as you define them. We’re all still getting a handle on it ourselves!

Here’s another way of looking at it:

1. You can organize a coworking community without ever having a business.

Go on Meetup, start a group, meet at a cafe. Hooray, you’re coworking, without any money involved!

2. You can build a workspace without doing coworking.

There’s a whole industry of serviced offices that has been around for a while. Raise some money, get a space, rent bits of that space out to companies for a margin.

There’s lots of established competition in this world, and it’s entirely transactional. No emotional relationship between the space and the customer. If you want to step into that arena, godspeed!

3. You can build a workspace with coworking in mind.

Coworking exists regardless of office space; physical workspaces just happen to be a handy delivery vehicle.

Many in the business center industry are scrambling to change their spaces to catch the trend. Many of them think they can get away with offering open plan memberships and fancy decor, but that misses the point.

The point here is that lots of people don’t need workspace, but they do need each other.

If you can build something that facilitates real connections between people, then you can do something really exciting and fun and impactful.

Even WeWork knows this—they try very hard to build community. But they are always going to be hamstrung by the fact that their approach is one of being a provider to consumers, and it’s hard to get consumers to care about you or the other consumers.

You, by contrast, are a human, with hopes and dreams.

If you find others who share those hopes and dreams in your city, and you invite them to conspire with you to build something that can help lots of other people find the belonging and support they need, you just might be on your way to starting something that will bring both profit and fulfillment.

Tony

New Work Cities

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Alex Linsker [email protected] wrote:

Figure out your main “why”, then market that. If it is “money and status”, or “community of like-minded people” or “community of people doing a variety of work”, those seem to be the big areas of “coworking”. And then make your place embody that fully. The others can happen in the same place over time, but they are 3 different ways to start from what I’ve seen.

-Alex Linsker, Collective Agency, Portland Oregon

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As time goes on we are seeing lines blurred more and more.

Cooperates need community too and old school coworkers are developing sustainable businesses that are serving the mainstream.

Regards,

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexahom/

Nice summation, Troy