Know anyone in Fayetteville, North Carolina? New coworking community here!

I wanted to post a link to the local coworking group I started in Fayetteville, NC in case anyone knows someone in the area who’d like to join. It’s http://meetup.com/fayetteville-coworking.

We have no dedicated space, but in the span of a week, a bunch of us came together, agreed upon a recurring time and place, and began coworking together at a coffee shop! We’re working together at a big table at the spacious, modern Marquis Market from 10am-3pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

I am a member of New Work City in NYC, but have been spending most of the late fall here in North Carolina, and may be moving here next year. There are a dozen coworking spaces in the Carolinas, but none in Fayetteville, which is about 60 miles south of Raleigh. I figure that even if I don’t end up moving here, if I can plant the seed that forms the community, it would at least expose the metro area to the idea and perhaps get the ball rolling for others even if I am not ultimately part of it. And we are in wholehearted agreement of a community first model. The space will come later, if/when.

So far we have 9 coworkers, 4-5 of whom show up on any given day. Other than one fellow coworker (an IndyHall alum), the rest of the members are completely new to coworking! We’re hoping to have at least 12 members by the end of the year. I’m working on promoting the group in various ways, but suggestions are always welcome. So yeah, a good start for less than a month’s worth of work. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Hey Alicia!

This is awesome, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

Is it Rasa who’s jamming out with you?

-Alex

···


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

I wanted to post a link to the local coworking group I started in Fayetteville, NC in case anyone knows someone in the area who’d like to join. It’s http://meetup.com/fayetteville-coworking.

We have no dedicated space, but in the span of a week, a bunch of us came together, agreed upon a recurring time and place, and began coworking together at a coffee shop! We’re working together at a big table at the spacious, modern Marquis Market from 10am-3pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

I am a member of New Work City in NYC, but have been spending most of the late fall here in North Carolina, and may be moving here next year. There are a dozen coworking spaces in the Carolinas, but none in Fayetteville, which is about 60 miles south of Raleigh. I figure that even if I don’t end up moving here, if I can plant the seed that forms the community, it would at least expose the metro area to the idea and perhaps get the ball rolling for others even if I am not ultimately part of it. And we are in wholehearted agreement of a community first model. The space will come later, if/when.

So far we have 9 coworkers, 4-5 of whom show up on any given day. Other than one fellow coworker (an IndyHall alum), the rest of the members are completely new to coworking! We’re hoping to have at least 12 members by the end of the year. I’m working on promoting the group in various ways, but suggestions are always welcome. So yeah, a good start for less than a month’s worth of work. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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Hi Alex!

Yep, it’s Rasa! She is so great. Within two minutes of meeting, we were like, “Yep, we’re on the same page.” Hope we can spread the coworking word together!

Alicia

···

On Saturday, November 23, 2013 1:26:56 PM UTC-5, Alex Hillman wrote:

Hey Alicia!

This is awesome, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

Is it Rasa who’s jamming out with you?

-Alex


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

I wanted to post a link to the local coworking group I started in Fayetteville, NC in case anyone knows someone in the area who’d like to join. It’s http://meetup.com/fayetteville-coworking.

We have no dedicated space, but in the span of a week, a bunch of us came together, agreed upon a recurring time and place, and began coworking together at a coffee shop! We’re working together at a big table at the spacious, modern Marquis Market from 10am-3pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

I am a member of New Work City in NYC, but have been spending most of the late fall here in North Carolina, and may be moving here next year. There are a dozen coworking spaces in the Carolinas, but none in Fayetteville, which is about 60 miles south of Raleigh. I figure that even if I don’t end up moving here, if I can plant the seed that forms the community, it would at least expose the metro area to the idea and perhaps get the ball rolling for others even if I am not ultimately part of it. And we are in wholehearted agreement of a community first model. The space will come later, if/when.

So far we have 9 coworkers, 4-5 of whom show up on any given day. Other than one fellow coworker (an IndyHall alum), the rest of the members are completely new to coworking! We’re hoping to have at least 12 members by the end of the year. I’m working on promoting the group in various ways, but suggestions are always welcome. So yeah, a good start for less than a month’s worth of work. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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

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Alicia it’s so good to hear you are moving forward!
We get made fun of for saying “community” so often… but there’s no such thing as saying it too much.

···

On Sunday, November 24, 2013 1:36:33 PM UTC-5, Alicia Hurst wrote:

Hi Alex!

Yep, it’s Rasa! She is so great. Within two minutes of meeting, we were like, “Yep, we’re on the same page.” Hope we can spread the coworking word together!

Alicia

On Saturday, November 23, 2013 1:26:56 PM UTC-5, Alex Hillman wrote:

Hey Alicia!

This is awesome, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

Is it Rasa who’s jamming out with you?

-Alex


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

I wanted to post a link to the local coworking group I started in Fayetteville, NC in case anyone knows someone in the area who’d like to join. It’s http://meetup.com/fayetteville-coworking.

We have no dedicated space, but in the span of a week, a bunch of us came together, agreed upon a recurring time and place, and began coworking together at a coffee shop! We’re working together at a big table at the spacious, modern Marquis Market from 10am-3pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

I am a member of New Work City in NYC, but have been spending most of the late fall here in North Carolina, and may be moving here next year. There are a dozen coworking spaces in the Carolinas, but none in Fayetteville, which is about 60 miles south of Raleigh. I figure that even if I don’t end up moving here, if I can plant the seed that forms the community, it would at least expose the metro area to the idea and perhaps get the ball rolling for others even if I am not ultimately part of it. And we are in wholehearted agreement of a community first model. The space will come later, if/when.

So far we have 9 coworkers, 4-5 of whom show up on any given day. Other than one fellow coworker (an IndyHall alum), the rest of the members are completely new to coworking! We’re hoping to have at least 12 members by the end of the year. I’m working on promoting the group in various ways, but suggestions are always welcome. So yeah, a good start for less than a month’s worth of work. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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].

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Hi all,

I just wanted to update this thread, as I am indeed moving to Fayetteville in April. I’ve got lots of ideas on how to make coworking happen there, from more coffee shop meetups to a popup space to working with the city, and will be trying to make something happen starting in the spring.

More soon!

···

On Friday, November 22, 2013 1:54:50 PM UTC-5, Alicia Hurst wrote:

I wanted to post a link to the local coworking group I started in Fayetteville, NC in case anyone knows someone in the area who’d like to join. It’s http://meetup.com/fayetteville-coworking.

We have no dedicated space, but in the span of a week, a bunch of us came together, agreed upon a recurring time and place, and began coworking together at a coffee shop! We’re working together at a big table at the spacious, modern Marquis Market from 10am-3pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

I am a member of New Work City in NYC, but have been spending most of the late fall here in North Carolina, and may be moving here next year. There are a dozen coworking spaces in the Carolinas, but none in Fayetteville, which is about 60 miles south of Raleigh. I figure that even if I don’t end up moving here, if I can plant the seed that forms the community, it would at least expose the metro area to the idea and perhaps get the ball rolling for others even if I am not ultimately part of it. And we are in wholehearted agreement of a community first model. The space will come later, if/when.

So far we have 9 coworkers, 4-5 of whom show up on any given day. Other than one fellow coworker (an IndyHall alum), the rest of the members are completely new to coworking! We’re hoping to have at least 12 members by the end of the year. I’m working on promoting the group in various ways, but suggestions are always welcome. So yeah, a good start for less than a month’s worth of work. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Another update!

It’s been slow going to bring coworking to Fayetteville, NC. I’ve been talking with Robert from Bull City Coworking as well as Tony (from NWC) about the differences from what other cities have experienced.

  • Last year when I started the group on Meetup, we had a new face every week and about 4-6 people per session, but when I left to go home to NYC for several months and await the decision of whether I was moving here or not, the group disintegrated. When I resumed coworking last month, no one new really came. So we decided to abandon Meetup, where the monthly fee was unnecessary, and we moved to a free, open Facebook group: http://facebook.com/groups/fayettevillecoworking. The thinking behind this was that everyone uses Facebook all the time. We already have 18 members on this new group because one of our members added a bunch of friends of hers she thought might be interested. Also, a woman from a different Facebook group I am a member of showed no interest in joining our Meetup group, but joined the Facebook group right away. However, only a few of the old members of the Meetup group have joined us on Facebook. So, that might provide some insight for someone looking to start a new community (but not coworking space) in the future.
  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

So, yeah, I just wanted to post what our progress is in case anyone else finds it interesting or has anything to share! Sorry it’s not the most peppy or optimistic of posts.

This is such a helpful share, Alicia. I’m sure that it’ll resonate with a lot of people. Thank you for being candid!

A few thoughts on some of your bullet points:

  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
    You just described my experience in Philadelphia in 2006, almost exactly. :slight_smile: Down to the comparison to another city where I could easily see what I thought I wanted. In my case, that was SF, and the early coworking communities there.

There weren’t any packs of designers and developers. They were scattered, hidden in pockets, both everywhere and nowhere.

I’d be curious what kinds of aspirations people do have, even if they don’t talk about them without some active tummeling. I’ve learned over and over that the things that people talk about on the surface, especially when it comes to work, has very little to do with with they actually care about. You need to dig deeper. Get some distance from professional goals, and I bet you’ll start finding some new common ground and the finding shared vision for your first 10.

Perhaps most importantly: I think you’re doing yourself and your community a disservice by using NYC as a measuring stick. Don’t try to make Fayetteville more like NYC, try to make it a better version of itself. In order to do that, you need to get a much clearer picture of what people in Fayetteville think “better” could be.

  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
    I looked for your new facebook group, I imagine you’re using similar language to what was on the meetup.

“Coworking is when people who work for themselves—freelancers, solopreneurs, sole proprietors, startups, consultants, etc.—come together and work alongside each other. It’s not merely networking; it’s actual working – with other people. We usually meet for several hours at a time at a coffee shop, the library, or somewhere else; we’re always looking for new places to cowork. The coworking community offers a common place to work, support, collaboration, and more.”

You know that thing where somebody tells you “don’t imagine a pink elephant” and then you can’t help yourself but think of what a pink elephant would look like"? That’s what you’re doing here. :slight_smile:

Don’t say what you aren’t, instead, say exactly what you are. The more precise, the better. Something like:

“Your home office might be cozy, but I bet you’re not getting the best business advice from the dog. Even if you leave the house to work from a cafe, it isn’t that much better than working by yourself. Every couple of weeks, this group chooses the same cafe, or library, or living room to work from. Bring your laptop or notebook and plan to get some work done. The goal is to be more productive than we would be alone, and then we can celebrate that productivity at the end of the day”

You can adjust, and add even more detail, but framing it as work time followed by social time lets people know what to expect and when.

  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
    Look beyond the existing cafe workers. “Work for themselves” is just one tiny demographic under a bigger umbrella of people who “can choose here they work, some or all of the time, and feel lonely.”

The real-est challenge I think you have is that a lot of people have big houses and yards and they aren’t “forced” out into public as much as in a city where space is a constraint. This is especially true during the work day.

So the question you need to answer is: what things cause them to leave their private spaces? Where do people gather, regardless of the kind of work they do? Get a better sense of that, and then narrow your search by demographics later.

  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
    This is rough, but a very real feeling. You can ignore it, or try to understand it better. I recommend the latter. :slight_smile:

I’ll repeat what I said before: don’t project your expectations of what they should be like, on them. You can’t change other people, but you can help them change themselves towards something that *they *care about.

If you come to the table with a certain set of expectations, no matter how “optimistic” you are, you’re also putting up a wall for people who don’t share those expectations. It’s subtle and unintentional, but it’s there, and people can detect it.

If you change your mindset to one of curiosity, where you’re seeking to learn things from and about them instead of trying to show them “how to be,” I’d be willing to bet that your experiences will shift dramatically toward the more positive!

  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.
···

Again, goes back to my point about dropping the “demographics” part of your search, and focusing on what people care about.

In case you missed it on my newsletter, this post includes a primer for taking a Tummler mindset, which looks like these three main components at 10k feet:

Step 1 – Get curious, and stay curious.

Step 2 – Notice patterns. Patterns are opportunities to instigate.

Step 3 – Give other people permission participate.

Hopefully this helps refresh your optimism. :slight_smile:

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, May 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

Another update!

It’s been slow going to bring coworking to Fayetteville, NC. I’ve been talking with Robert from Bull City Coworking as well as Tony (from NWC) about the differences from what other cities have experienced.

  • Last year when I started the group on Meetup, we had a new face every week and about 4-6 people per session, but when I left to go home to NYC for several months and await the decision of whether I was moving here or not, the group disintegrated. When I resumed coworking last month, no one new really came. So we decided to abandon Meetup, where the monthly fee was unnecessary, and we moved to a free, open Facebook group: http://facebook.com/groups/fayettevillecoworking. The thinking behind this was that everyone uses Facebook all the time. We already have 18 members on this new group because one of our members added a bunch of friends of hers she thought might be interested. Also, a woman from a different Facebook group I am a member of showed no interest in joining our Meetup group, but joined the Facebook group right away. However, only a few of the old members of the Meetup group have joined us on Facebook. So, that might provide some insight for someone looking to start a new community (but not coworking space) in the future.
  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

So, yeah, I just wanted to post what our progress is in case anyone else finds it interesting or has anything to share! Sorry it’s not the most peppy or optimistic of posts.

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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

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Alica,

Thank you so much for posting this.

I’m at the begining stages of starting to build a community in Southfield MI and I thank you for openly sharing your story. I’m from New York, and have been living in Michigan for 8 years. I’ve just come across the coworking concept perhaps within the last year and have been searching for real life stories about people building their communities from scratch.

Most of the stories I’ve read, kind of have a magical trajectory from the desire or idea of a coworking space, to a seemingly fully functioning space, without the small real life tidbits that shows the ups and downs of the process.

With that said, I hope what Alex said encourages you as much as it did me. You’ve started ar great work there, and I hope you will continue it. Fayetteville will thank you, i’m sure of it.

Alex,

I also wanted to thank you for your response and the link to the article. It helps to put into perspective what a budding Tummler has to do to help his or her community be better. I’ll be sure to stay curious, notice patterns, and give people permission to participate. Thank you for your candidness and insight.

AJ Kelley

···

On Monday, May 26, 2014 3:00:39 PM UTC-4, Alex Hillman wrote:

This is such a helpful share, Alicia. I’m sure that it’ll resonate with a lot of people. Thank you for being candid!

A few thoughts on some of your bullet points:

  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
    You just described my experience in Philadelphia in 2006, almost exactly. :slight_smile: Down to the comparison to another city where I could easily see what I thought I wanted. In my case, that was SF, and the early coworking communities there.

There weren’t any packs of designers and developers. They were scattered, hidden in pockets, both everywhere and nowhere.

I’d be curious what kinds of aspirations people do have, even if they don’t talk about them without some active tummeling. I’ve learned over and over that the things that people talk about on the surface, especially when it comes to work, has very little to do with with they actually care about. You need to dig deeper. Get some distance from professional goals, and I bet you’ll start finding some new common ground and the finding shared vision for your first 10.

Perhaps most importantly: I think you’re doing yourself and your community a disservice by using NYC as a measuring stick. Don’t try to make Fayetteville more like NYC, try to make it a better version of itself. In order to do that, you need to get a much clearer picture of what people in Fayetteville think “better” could be.

  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
    I looked for your new facebook group, I imagine you’re using similar language to what was on the meetup.

“Coworking is when people who work for themselves—freelancers, solopreneurs, sole proprietors, startups, consultants, etc.—come together and work alongside each other. It’s not merely networking; it’s actual working – with other people. We usually meet for several hours at a time at a coffee shop, the library, or somewhere else; we’re always looking for new places to cowork. The coworking community offers a common place to work, support, collaboration, and more.”

You know that thing where somebody tells you “don’t imagine a pink elephant” and then you can’t help yourself but think of what a pink elephant would look like"? That’s what you’re doing here. :slight_smile:

Don’t say what you aren’t, instead, say exactly what you are. The more precise, the better. Something like:

“Your home office might be cozy, but I bet you’re not getting the best business advice from the dog. Even if you leave the house to work from a cafe, it isn’t that much better than working by yourself. Every couple of weeks, this group chooses the same cafe, or library, or living room to work from. Bring your laptop or notebook and plan to get some work done. The goal is to be more productive than we would be alone, and then we can celebrate that productivity at the end of the day”

You can adjust, and add even more detail, but framing it as work time followed by social time lets people know what to expect and when.

  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
    Look beyond the existing cafe workers. “Work for themselves” is just one tiny demographic under a bigger umbrella of people who “can choose here they work, some or all of the time, and feel lonely.”

The real-est challenge I think you have is that a lot of people have big houses and yards and they aren’t “forced” out into public as much as in a city where space is a constraint. This is especially true during the work day.

So the question you need to answer is: what things cause them to leave their private spaces? Where do people gather, regardless of the kind of work they do? Get a better sense of that, and then narrow your search by demographics later.

  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
    This is rough, but a very real feeling. You can ignore it, or try to understand it better. I recommend the latter. :slight_smile:

I’ll repeat what I said before: don’t project your expectations of what they should be like, on them. You can’t change other people, but you can help them change themselves towards something that *they *care about.

If you come to the table with a certain set of expectations, no matter how “optimistic” you are, you’re also putting up a wall for people who don’t share those expectations. It’s subtle and unintentional, but it’s there, and people can detect it.

If you change your mindset to one of curiosity, where you’re seeking to learn things from and about them instead of trying to show them “how to be,” I’d be willing to bet that your experiences will shift dramatically toward the more positive!

  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

Again, goes back to my point about dropping the “demographics” part of your search, and focusing on what people care about.

In case you missed it on my newsletter, this post includes a primer for taking a Tummler mindset, which looks like these three main components at 10k feet:

Step 1 – Get curious, and stay curious.

Step 2 – Notice patterns. Patterns are opportunities to instigate.

Step 3 – Give other people permission participate.

Hopefully this helps refresh your optimism. :slight_smile:

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, May 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

Another update!

It’s been slow going to bring coworking to Fayetteville, NC. I’ve been talking with Robert from Bull City Coworking as well as Tony (from NWC) about the differences from what other cities have experienced.

  • Last year when I started the group on Meetup, we had a new face every week and about 4-6 people per session, but when I left to go home to NYC for several months and await the decision of whether I was moving here or not, the group disintegrated. When I resumed coworking last month, no one new really came. So we decided to abandon Meetup, where the monthly fee was unnecessary, and we moved to a free, open Facebook group: http://facebook.com/groups/fayettevillecoworking. The thinking behind this was that everyone uses Facebook all the time. We already have 18 members on this new group because one of our members added a bunch of friends of hers she thought might be interested. Also, a woman from a different Facebook group I am a member of showed no interest in joining our Meetup group, but joined the Facebook group right away. However, only a few of the old members of the Meetup group have joined us on Facebook. So, that might provide some insight for someone looking to start a new community (but not coworking space) in the future.
  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

So, yeah, I just wanted to post what our progress is in case anyone else finds it interesting or has anything to share! Sorry it’s not the most peppy or optimistic of posts.


Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.
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You bet, AJ. :slight_smile:

···

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM, AJ Kelley [email protected] wrote:

Alica,

Thank you so much for posting this.

I’m at the begining stages of starting to build a community in Southfield MI and I thank you for openly sharing your story. I’m from New York, and have been living in Michigan for 8 years. I’ve just come across the coworking concept perhaps within the last year and have been searching for real life stories about people building their communities from scratch.

Most of the stories I’ve read, kind of have a magical trajectory from the desire or idea of a coworking space, to a seemingly fully functioning space, without the small real life tidbits that shows the ups and downs of the process.

With that said, I hope what Alex said encourages you as much as it did me. You’ve started ar great work there, and I hope you will continue it. Fayetteville will thank you, i’m sure of it.

Alex,

I also wanted to thank you for your response and the link to the article. It helps to put into perspective what a budding Tummler has to do to help his or her community be better. I’ll be sure to stay curious, notice patterns, and give people permission to participate. Thank you for your candidness and insight.

AJ Kelley

On Monday, May 26, 2014 3:00:39 PM UTC-4, Alex Hillman wrote:

This is such a helpful share, Alicia. I’m sure that it’ll resonate with a lot of people. Thank you for being candid!

A few thoughts on some of your bullet points:

  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
    You just described my experience in Philadelphia in 2006, almost exactly. :slight_smile: Down to the comparison to another city where I could easily see what I thought I wanted. In my case, that was SF, and the early coworking communities there.

There weren’t any packs of designers and developers. They were scattered, hidden in pockets, both everywhere and nowhere.

I’d be curious what kinds of aspirations people do have, even if they don’t talk about them without some active tummeling. I’ve learned over and over that the things that people talk about on the surface, especially when it comes to work, has very little to do with with they actually care about. You need to dig deeper. Get some distance from professional goals, and I bet you’ll start finding some new common ground and the finding shared vision for your first 10.

Perhaps most importantly: I think you’re doing yourself and your community a disservice by using NYC as a measuring stick. Don’t try to make Fayetteville more like NYC, try to make it a better version of itself. In order to do that, you need to get a much clearer picture of what people in Fayetteville think “better” could be.

  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
    I looked for your new facebook group, I imagine you’re using similar language to what was on the meetup.

“Coworking is when people who work for themselves—freelancers, solopreneurs, sole proprietors, startups, consultants, etc.—come together and work alongside each other. It’s not merely networking; it’s actual working – with other people. We usually meet for several hours at a time at a coffee shop, the library, or somewhere else; we’re always looking for new places to cowork. The coworking community offers a common place to work, support, collaboration, and more.”

You know that thing where somebody tells you “don’t imagine a pink elephant” and then you can’t help yourself but think of what a pink elephant would look like"? That’s what you’re doing here. :slight_smile:

Don’t say what you aren’t, instead, say exactly what you are. The more precise, the better. Something like:

“Your home office might be cozy, but I bet you’re not getting the best business advice from the dog. Even if you leave the house to work from a cafe, it isn’t that much better than working by yourself. Every couple of weeks, this group chooses the same cafe, or library, or living room to work from. Bring your laptop or notebook and plan to get some work done. The goal is to be more productive than we would be alone, and then we can celebrate that productivity at the end of the day”

You can adjust, and add even more detail, but framing it as work time followed by social time lets people know what to expect and when.

  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
    Look beyond the existing cafe workers. “Work for themselves” is just one tiny demographic under a bigger umbrella of people who “can choose here they work, some or all of the time, and feel lonely.”

The real-est challenge I think you have is that a lot of people have big houses and yards and they aren’t “forced” out into public as much as in a city where space is a constraint. This is especially true during the work day.

So the question you need to answer is: what things cause them to leave their private spaces? Where do people gather, regardless of the kind of work they do? Get a better sense of that, and then narrow your search by demographics later.

  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
    This is rough, but a very real feeling. You can ignore it, or try to understand it better. I recommend the latter. :slight_smile:

I’ll repeat what I said before: don’t project your expectations of what they should be like, on them. You can’t change other people, but you can help them change themselves towards something that *they *care about.

If you come to the table with a certain set of expectations, no matter how “optimistic” you are, you’re also putting up a wall for people who don’t share those expectations. It’s subtle and unintentional, but it’s there, and people can detect it.

If you change your mindset to one of curiosity, where you’re seeking to learn things from and about them instead of trying to show them “how to be,” I’d be willing to bet that your experiences will shift dramatically toward the more positive!

  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

Again, goes back to my point about dropping the “demographics” part of your search, and focusing on what people care about.

In case you missed it on my newsletter, this post includes a primer for taking a Tummler mindset, which looks like these three main components at 10k feet:

Step 1 – Get curious, and stay curious.

Step 2 – Notice patterns. Patterns are opportunities to instigate.

Step 3 – Give other people permission participate.

Hopefully this helps refresh your optimism. :slight_smile:

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, May 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

Another update!

It’s been slow going to bring coworking to Fayetteville, NC. I’ve been talking with Robert from Bull City Coworking as well as Tony (from NWC) about the differences from what other cities have experienced.

  • Last year when I started the group on Meetup, we had a new face every week and about 4-6 people per session, but when I left to go home to NYC for several months and await the decision of whether I was moving here or not, the group disintegrated. When I resumed coworking last month, no one new really came. So we decided to abandon Meetup, where the monthly fee was unnecessary, and we moved to a free, open Facebook group: http://facebook.com/groups/fayettevillecoworking. The thinking behind this was that everyone uses Facebook all the time. We already have 18 members on this new group because one of our members added a bunch of friends of hers she thought might be interested. Also, a woman from a different Facebook group I am a member of showed no interest in joining our Meetup group, but joined the Facebook group right away. However, only a few of the old members of the Meetup group have joined us on Facebook. So, that might provide some insight for someone looking to start a new community (but not coworking space) in the future.
  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

So, yeah, I just wanted to post what our progress is in case anyone else finds it interesting or has anything to share! Sorry it’s not the most peppy or optimistic of posts.


Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

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Sorry it took me so long to reply to this! I read it immediately when you posted last week.

Alex – Thank you so much for the feedback and encouragement. I might just lift your rewrite of the group description, if you don’t mind, and I’m definitely working on not projecting my expectations onto the people here, but rather try to meet their needs as well as mine.

Just wanted to add, in case it wasn’t clear before, that I’m moving back to Brooklyn by mid-2016, as I’m only here for military reasons myself. I don’t want to open a space here, just trying to start a community. If there are any long-standing residents who might take coworking in a permanent direction, great, but so far everyone else I know is headed out of here within a year or two as well. I feel like just a member, and I guess an organizer for now. But I’m not trying to found a space, as I’ve never had any interest in being an owner and do not want to plant any roots here. I really love just being a coworker and a freelance web developer.

Second, I don’t want to give an impression that Fayetteville is just another up-and-coming small city. It sure doesn’t seem like it. Wal-Mart is the fourth-largest employer, after the Army, the City, and the hospital system here. Most other jobs serve the Army in some way, be it private contractors, schools, or retail. About 2% of residents are self-employed, and I think roughly 25% have a degree of higher education. I’m not happy to be living here or anything, it’s true, but I’m not trying to bash it, just trying to say what it is. I don’t really believe there are any hidden pockets of people doing great things, but if there are, say, five such people, well, I’ll do my best to find them and work together with them from coffee shops, even if they aren’t web designers!

Anyway, Alex, I hope to meet you in Durham later this summer and give you a more hopeful outlook then.

And AJ thanks also for the encouragement. I certainly will keep at it.

-Alicia

···

On Monday, May 26, 2014 3:00:39 PM UTC-4, Alex Hillman wrote:

This is such a helpful share, Alicia. I’m sure that it’ll resonate with a lot of people. Thank you for being candid!

A few thoughts on some of your bullet points:

  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
    You just described my experience in Philadelphia in 2006, almost exactly. :slight_smile: Down to the comparison to another city where I could easily see what I thought I wanted. In my case, that was SF, and the early coworking communities there.

There weren’t any packs of designers and developers. They were scattered, hidden in pockets, both everywhere and nowhere.

I’d be curious what kinds of aspirations people do have, even if they don’t talk about them without some active tummeling. I’ve learned over and over that the things that people talk about on the surface, especially when it comes to work, has very little to do with with they actually care about. You need to dig deeper. Get some distance from professional goals, and I bet you’ll start finding some new common ground and the finding shared vision for your first 10.

Perhaps most importantly: I think you’re doing yourself and your community a disservice by using NYC as a measuring stick. Don’t try to make Fayetteville more like NYC, try to make it a better version of itself. In order to do that, you need to get a much clearer picture of what people in Fayetteville think “better” could be.

  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
    I looked for your new facebook group, I imagine you’re using similar language to what was on the meetup.

“Coworking is when people who work for themselves—freelancers, solopreneurs, sole proprietors, startups, consultants, etc.—come together and work alongside each other. It’s not merely networking; it’s actual working – with other people. We usually meet for several hours at a time at a coffee shop, the library, or somewhere else; we’re always looking for new places to cowork. The coworking community offers a common place to work, support, collaboration, and more.”

You know that thing where somebody tells you “don’t imagine a pink elephant” and then you can’t help yourself but think of what a pink elephant would look like"? That’s what you’re doing here. :slight_smile:

Don’t say what you aren’t, instead, say exactly what you are. The more precise, the better. Something like:

“Your home office might be cozy, but I bet you’re not getting the best business advice from the dog. Even if you leave the house to work from a cafe, it isn’t that much better than working by yourself. Every couple of weeks, this group chooses the same cafe, or library, or living room to work from. Bring your laptop or notebook and plan to get some work done. The goal is to be more productive than we would be alone, and then we can celebrate that productivity at the end of the day”

You can adjust, and add even more detail, but framing it as work time followed by social time lets people know what to expect and when.

  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
    Look beyond the existing cafe workers. “Work for themselves” is just one tiny demographic under a bigger umbrella of people who “can choose here they work, some or all of the time, and feel lonely.”

The real-est challenge I think you have is that a lot of people have big houses and yards and they aren’t “forced” out into public as much as in a city where space is a constraint. This is especially true during the work day.

So the question you need to answer is: what things cause them to leave their private spaces? Where do people gather, regardless of the kind of work they do? Get a better sense of that, and then narrow your search by demographics later.

  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
    This is rough, but a very real feeling. You can ignore it, or try to understand it better. I recommend the latter. :slight_smile:

I’ll repeat what I said before: don’t project your expectations of what they should be like, on them. You can’t change other people, but you can help them change themselves towards something that *they *care about.

If you come to the table with a certain set of expectations, no matter how “optimistic” you are, you’re also putting up a wall for people who don’t share those expectations. It’s subtle and unintentional, but it’s there, and people can detect it.

If you change your mindset to one of curiosity, where you’re seeking to learn things from and about them instead of trying to show them “how to be,” I’d be willing to bet that your experiences will shift dramatically toward the more positive!

  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

Again, goes back to my point about dropping the “demographics” part of your search, and focusing on what people care about.

In case you missed it on my newsletter, this post includes a primer for taking a Tummler mindset, which looks like these three main components at 10k feet:

Step 1 – Get curious, and stay curious.

Step 2 – Notice patterns. Patterns are opportunities to instigate.

Step 3 – Give other people permission participate.

Hopefully this helps refresh your optimism. :slight_smile:

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, May 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

Another update!

It’s been slow going to bring coworking to Fayetteville, NC. I’ve been talking with Robert from Bull City Coworking as well as Tony (from NWC) about the differences from what other cities have experienced.

  • Last year when I started the group on Meetup, we had a new face every week and about 4-6 people per session, but when I left to go home to NYC for several months and await the decision of whether I was moving here or not, the group disintegrated. When I resumed coworking last month, no one new really came. So we decided to abandon Meetup, where the monthly fee was unnecessary, and we moved to a free, open Facebook group: http://facebook.com/groups/fayettevillecoworking. The thinking behind this was that everyone uses Facebook all the time. We already have 18 members on this new group because one of our members added a bunch of friends of hers she thought might be interested. Also, a woman from a different Facebook group I am a member of showed no interest in joining our Meetup group, but joined the Facebook group right away. However, only a few of the old members of the Meetup group have joined us on Facebook. So, that might provide some insight for someone looking to start a new community (but not coworking space) in the future.
  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

So, yeah, I just wanted to post what our progress is in case anyone else finds it interesting or has anything to share! Sorry it’s not the most peppy or optimistic of posts.

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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

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I can’t wait to meet Alex, Robert, and anyone else who is coming to the WorkShift conference in Durham next month!

Just a quick update: Four of us got together a few days ago at a new (to us) coffee shop, which we really liked, so I think we’ll use it as our base. We’ll try to meet there every week at the same time, and perhaps the regularity will encourage new people to drop in. I recall reading on this group of a meetup group up in Maine, was it?, that had success doing it this way.

One of our founding members had added 15 people she knows who work from home to our Facebook group, none of whom have come to any of our jellies yet. The member was dumbfounded, as she knows them all personally and felt they could benefit from joining us. She said she’d reach out to each of them individually, but I also posted the following message to the group, thinking that a first-hand account might help others visualize what a day really looks like?:

Hi everyone! We had such a great time at Detour Coffee House on Tuesday that we’re going to try to make it regular. Join us there again this coming Tuesday, July 15, from 10am-2pm.
If you’re still thinking, “what’s up with this coworking thing?” here’s a Cliff’s Notes version of how the day went on Tuesday: Jamie, a ph.D candidate, arrived first and had already conquered a bit of writing on her laptop (with the company of a hot cup of coffee), when I, Alicia, a web developer,arrived. I bought coffee and chatted with Jamie, until Rachel, an interior designer, and Kristen, an upcoming frozen yogurt shop owner, each arrived and did the same. By 11am, we had either gotten to know each other or caught up since last meeting, and the conversation naturally began to lull as everyone buried their heads in their laptops. Kristen and Jamie chatted on and off for a while, while Rachel and I nodded and laughed along, and every now and then we all became engrossed in conversation, serving as much-needed breaks from staring at a screen. Jamie left around 1pm, Rachel a little after 2pm, and Kristen and I stayed until 3pm, hardly noticing the time. In all, I had gotten nearly four solid hours of work done, sitting with friends instead of being alone, in a well-lit, comfortable coffee shop with great wifi. Reports from the other ladies were similarly favorable. Not bad for a half-day and a $2.50 cup of iced coffee!
Hope you’ll come cowork with us, too!

I felt really energized from this session on Tuesday, so I am looking forward to doing it again, even if our group does end up always being four people!

Alicia

···

On Sunday, June 1, 2014 4:31:52 PM UTC-4, Alicia Hurst wrote:

Sorry it took me so long to reply to this! I read it immediately when you posted last week.

Alex – Thank you so much for the feedback and encouragement. I might just lift your rewrite of the group description, if you don’t mind, and I’m definitely working on not projecting my expectations onto the people here, but rather try to meet their needs as well as mine.

Just wanted to add, in case it wasn’t clear before, that I’m moving back to Brooklyn by mid-2016, as I’m only here for military reasons myself. I don’t want to open a space here, just trying to start a community. If there are any long-standing residents who might take coworking in a permanent direction, great, but so far everyone else I know is headed out of here within a year or two as well. I feel like just a member, and I guess an organizer for now. But I’m not trying to found a space, as I’ve never had any interest in being an owner and do not want to plant any roots here. I really love just being a coworker and a freelance web developer.

Second, I don’t want to give an impression that Fayetteville is just another up-and-coming small city. It sure doesn’t seem like it. Wal-Mart is the fourth-largest employer, after the Army, the City, and the hospital system here. Most other jobs serve the Army in some way, be it private contractors, schools, or retail. About 2% of residents are self-employed, and I think roughly 25% have a degree of higher education. I’m not happy to be living here or anything, it’s true, but I’m not trying to bash it, just trying to say what it is. I don’t really believe there are any hidden pockets of people doing great things, but if there are, say, five such people, well, I’ll do my best to find them and work together with them from coffee shops, even if they aren’t web designers!

Anyway, Alex, I hope to meet you in Durham later this summer and give you a more hopeful outlook then.

And AJ thanks also for the encouragement. I certainly will keep at it.

-Alicia

On Monday, May 26, 2014 3:00:39 PM UTC-4, Alex Hillman wrote:

This is such a helpful share, Alicia. I’m sure that it’ll resonate with a lot of people. Thank you for being candid!

A few thoughts on some of your bullet points:

  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
    You just described my experience in Philadelphia in 2006, almost exactly. :slight_smile: Down to the comparison to another city where I could easily see what I thought I wanted. In my case, that was SF, and the early coworking communities there.

There weren’t any packs of designers and developers. They were scattered, hidden in pockets, both everywhere and nowhere.

I’d be curious what kinds of aspirations people do have, even if they don’t talk about them without some active tummeling. I’ve learned over and over that the things that people talk about on the surface, especially when it comes to work, has very little to do with with they actually care about. You need to dig deeper. Get some distance from professional goals, and I bet you’ll start finding some new common ground and the finding shared vision for your first 10.

Perhaps most importantly: I think you’re doing yourself and your community a disservice by using NYC as a measuring stick. Don’t try to make Fayetteville more like NYC, try to make it a better version of itself. In order to do that, you need to get a much clearer picture of what people in Fayetteville think “better” could be.

  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
    I looked for your new facebook group, I imagine you’re using similar language to what was on the meetup.

“Coworking is when people who work for themselves—freelancers, solopreneurs, sole proprietors, startups, consultants, etc.—come together and work alongside each other. It’s not merely networking; it’s actual working – with other people. We usually meet for several hours at a time at a coffee shop, the library, or somewhere else; we’re always looking for new places to cowork. The coworking community offers a common place to work, support, collaboration, and more.”

You know that thing where somebody tells you “don’t imagine a pink elephant” and then you can’t help yourself but think of what a pink elephant would look like"? That’s what you’re doing here. :slight_smile:

Don’t say what you aren’t, instead, say exactly what you are. The more precise, the better. Something like:

“Your home office might be cozy, but I bet you’re not getting the best business advice from the dog. Even if you leave the house to work from a cafe, it isn’t that much better than working by yourself. Every couple of weeks, this group chooses the same cafe, or library, or living room to work from. Bring your laptop or notebook and plan to get some work done. The goal is to be more productive than we would be alone, and then we can celebrate that productivity at the end of the day”

You can adjust, and add even more detail, but framing it as work time followed by social time lets people know what to expect and when.

  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
    Look beyond the existing cafe workers. “Work for themselves” is just one tiny demographic under a bigger umbrella of people who “can choose here they work, some or all of the time, and feel lonely.”

The real-est challenge I think you have is that a lot of people have big houses and yards and they aren’t “forced” out into public as much as in a city where space is a constraint. This is especially true during the work day.

So the question you need to answer is: what things cause them to leave their private spaces? Where do people gather, regardless of the kind of work they do? Get a better sense of that, and then narrow your search by demographics later.

  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
    This is rough, but a very real feeling. You can ignore it, or try to understand it better. I recommend the latter. :slight_smile:

I’ll repeat what I said before: don’t project your expectations of what they should be like, on them. You can’t change other people, but you can help them change themselves towards something that *they *care about.

If you come to the table with a certain set of expectations, no matter how “optimistic” you are, you’re also putting up a wall for people who don’t share those expectations. It’s subtle and unintentional, but it’s there, and people can detect it.

If you change your mindset to one of curiosity, where you’re seeking to learn things from and about them instead of trying to show them “how to be,” I’d be willing to bet that your experiences will shift dramatically toward the more positive!

  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

Again, goes back to my point about dropping the “demographics” part of your search, and focusing on what people care about.

In case you missed it on my newsletter, this post includes a primer for taking a Tummler mindset, which looks like these three main components at 10k feet:

Step 1 – Get curious, and stay curious.

Step 2 – Notice patterns. Patterns are opportunities to instigate.

Step 3 – Give other people permission participate.

Hopefully this helps refresh your optimism. :slight_smile:

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

On Mon, May 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

Another update!

It’s been slow going to bring coworking to Fayetteville, NC. I’ve been talking with Robert from Bull City Coworking as well as Tony (from NWC) about the differences from what other cities have experienced.

  • Last year when I started the group on Meetup, we had a new face every week and about 4-6 people per session, but when I left to go home to NYC for several months and await the decision of whether I was moving here or not, the group disintegrated. When I resumed coworking last month, no one new really came. So we decided to abandon Meetup, where the monthly fee was unnecessary, and we moved to a free, open Facebook group: http://facebook.com/groups/fayettevillecoworking. The thinking behind this was that everyone uses Facebook all the time. We already have 18 members on this new group because one of our members added a bunch of friends of hers she thought might be interested. Also, a woman from a different Facebook group I am a member of showed no interest in joining our Meetup group, but joined the Facebook group right away. However, only a few of the old members of the Meetup group have joined us on Facebook. So, that might provide some insight for someone looking to start a new community (but not coworking space) in the future.
  • I think the market for coworking here is almost zilch. Technology and the way of life is very stalled here, or at least compared to what I’m used to. In NYC, everything is modern, cutting edge, competitive. In NYC, I felt in the back of the pack as far as being a web designer/developer goes, and here, it’s like all the design firms (there seem to be few or no freelancers) are 5+ years behind the times, and it shows everywhere. The American Dream is alive and well here, not the new ideals I’m used to seeing with creativity and technology and whatnot, and thus loving your work, having passions, forward-momentum… don’t seem to be huge priorities.
  • The biggest obstacle is literally communicating what coworking is all about to new people. New people simply think it’s networking, that we get together and chat for a few hours. Rarely do people bring work when we’ve met up at a coffee shop. So I’ve also found it difficult to work there, too, and we often abandon the session hours before we were scheduled to, because all we did was chat.
  • We still struggle to find people who work for themselves, as there’s not much of that here. What I see in the coffee shops are students and army guys working on group projects.
  • I’ve become a bit demoralized as an organizer. I’m not culturally used to it here. It appears I have higher expectations for just about everything – from work to friends to intellect to fashion, so I’ve gotten used to working from home and talking to friends up north, and am okay with trying this group out every other week or so. I thought I’d find more army spouses and girlfriends here like me, but the reality is that most people in the army aren’t from cities, and spouses are more concerned with raising children than building independent business.
  • I realized something about myself too, which is that at NWC, while I loved being around people who did all sorts of different things all the time, my closest friends (who I usually sat with) all did the same thing as me. I’ve not been as interested in coworking/jellying here when I’m not sitting next to other developers who I can bounce ideas off of or chat client work with. So I realized that for me, coworking is not just about variety, but finding colleagues who you have a lot in common with.

So, yeah, I just wanted to post what our progress is in case anyone else finds it interesting or has anything to share! Sorry it’s not the most peppy or optimistic of posts.

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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Stoked to see you next month, too :slight_smile:

We'll try to meet there every week at the same time, and perhaps the

regularity will encourage new people to drop in.

That's how Indy Hall, New Work City, and many others have gotten their
start. Without that regularity, it's hard to jump start ANYTHING new. Check
out this story here about how hard it was for us (with the help of some
very motivated members) to get our Night Owls program off the ground.

http://dangerouslyawesome.com/2011/10/the-importance-of-rhythm-rituals-for-coworking-communities/

-Alex

···

--

/ah
indyhall.org
coworking in philadelphia

Hello hello! It has been eight months since I gave an update on my humble Fayetteville Coworking group, and I wanted to share an exciting update: I’m helping a church open Fayetteville’s first coworking space.

The one person I reliably jelly with is now my close friend, the associate pastor of a progressive Methodist-affiliated church that is located in the building of the coffee shop where we jelly. To make the story short, the church is opening a second campus on the other side of town, and the property, which they were given and now own outright (so no rent) has two buildings, one of which has a 1,300 sq ft space that was often rented out for meetings. Coworking will be a great way for them to build community, a la St. Lydia’s in Brooklyn, and there is almost no risk for them since the overhead is low, they are a nonprofit, and they are a-ok with failure!

I’m volunteering to help since I want to bring coworking to Fayetteville while I still live here. It’s been great fun so far. We’re hosting an organizational meeting next month (on April 13th) and are trying to get everyone interested to come. After that, we’re thinking of launching a Kickstarter (a la New Work City back in the day) to expand our fundraising initiative nationally, and the church has done the math – they only need the equivalent of ten full-time members in order to open in August.

Here’s our website with all the details: fayettevillecoworking.com

I’m looking forward to keeping everyone up to date, especially Alex, whose words and thoughts I’ve really been channeling throughout this process!

···

On Friday, July 11, 2014 at 12:49:01 PM UTC-4, Alex Hillman wrote:

Stoked to see you next month, too :slight_smile:

We’ll try to meet there every week at the same time, and perhaps the regularity will encourage new people to drop in.

That’s how Indy Hall, New Work City, and many others have gotten their start. Without that regularity, it’s hard to jump start ANYTHING new. Check out this story here about how hard it was for us (with the help of some very motivated members) to get our Night Owls program off the ground.

http://dangerouslyawesome.com/2011/10/the-importance-of-rhythm-rituals-for-coworking-communities/

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

This is so awesome, Alicia! :smiley:

···

On Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 12:29 PM, Alicia Hurst [email protected] wrote:

Hello hello! It has been eight months since I gave an update on my humble Fayetteville Coworking group, and I wanted to share an exciting update: I’m helping a church open Fayetteville’s first coworking space.

The one person I reliably jelly with is now my close friend, the associate pastor of a progressive Methodist-affiliated church that is located in the building of the coffee shop where we jelly. To make the story short, the church is opening a second campus on the other side of town, and the property, which they were given and now own outright (so no rent) has two buildings, one of which has a 1,300 sq ft space that was often rented out for meetings. Coworking will be a great way for them to build community, a la St. Lydia’s in Brooklyn, and there is almost no risk for them since the overhead is low, they are a nonprofit, and they are a-ok with failure!

I’m volunteering to help since I want to bring coworking to Fayetteville while I still live here. It’s been great fun so far. We’re hosting an organizational meeting next month (on April 13th) and are trying to get everyone interested to come. After that, we’re thinking of launching a Kickstarter (a la New Work City back in the day) to expand our fundraising initiative nationally, and the church has done the math – they only need the equivalent of ten full-time members in order to open in August.

Here’s our website with all the details: fayettevillecoworking.com

I’m looking forward to keeping everyone up to date, especially Alex, whose words and thoughts I’ve really been channeling throughout this process!

On Friday, July 11, 2014 at 12:49:01 PM UTC-4, Alex Hillman wrote:

Stoked to see you next month, too :slight_smile:

We’ll try to meet there every week at the same time, and perhaps the regularity will encourage new people to drop in.

That’s how Indy Hall, New Work City, and many others have gotten their start. Without that regularity, it’s hard to jump start ANYTHING new. Check out this story here about how hard it was for us (with the help of some very motivated members) to get our Night Owls program off the ground.

http://dangerouslyawesome.com/2011/10/the-importance-of-rhythm-rituals-for-coworking-communities/

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia


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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

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