Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday 3 Months Ago

As I considered what to write the morning, I was still full from last night's Thanksgiving feast—aka Gaffney Fatfest 2007. Feeling like I even had stuffing stuffed fingers, I decided to check back to see if I had any draft entries sitting pretty for revival. Well, they were never really live, so maybe "vival" is more appropriate. And here's what I found from 11 Fridays ago...

At the suggestion of Amit Gupta (founder of Jelly and Photojojo), I attended my first coworking session. For those not in the know, coworking blends the appeal of an independent environment with the benefits of a traditional office by offering a space for people to work in the company of others. I won't get into the definition too much, just my experience. Here is the space:
Yes, I was the first one there at 9:30AM. The host was not even awake. I felt a lot less cool than I did entering the Chambers Street apt in my t-shirt from Buenos Aires, jeans, and high-top vans at 9:20.

Either way, by 10:45 or so it was packed. About 12 people, all with their laptops. And as suspected all of their laptops, Macs. I had never met any of them, but I did know a little bit about 'em. The beauty and fluidity of the Jelly NYC Wiki, which is the place where we all signed up for the Jelly session. Here is the wiki:
Yup, there really was a dude named Patrick Ewing and he had a sick keyboard technique. But seriously, overall it went down like this. Everyone introduced themselves as new peeps entered the apartment. We worked in relative silence for the most part - some indie rock played softly in the background - but every once in a while people would get up move around and show some of their work to each other. I commented on a few sites' usability, functions, and content and started to flesh out an idea I had for one of my clients (a hotel):

To host coworking sessions. Yes, that simple. To provide an area/open an existing area to this community. This "work together" confirmed that Jelly may become a victim of its own success. It was pretty packed even in the sizable Financial District apt., so a little more space would not only be appreciated but soon necessary. All it needs to provide is a comfortable space and Wi-Fi access. This hotel had the space (in fact it had a newly created space in its lobbies that was supposed to enable the same type of interaction). It could go above and beyond by offering free coffee and snacks, which is an expenditure it would likely recoup in people buying more substantial breakfasts or lunches. Regardless, it would do three things: (1) Build good energy in the hotel, (2) Build goodwill with entrepreneurs and creative types (which would hopefully impact future stays), and (3) Create the Hot Club Effect (which means people aspiring to be like these guys and girls as well as those wanting to meet these thoughtful people would come and stay).

In sum: Jelly, and the like, are really just forums to not feel alone, to bounce ideas off others, to meet interesting people, to inspire and be inspired while working. And really, that's more than enough. It happens naturally and seamlessly as you can see even from the way that people sign up to attend. It demonstrates the selflessness of the host and the power of the community. It's what every office that values creativity and collaboration should seek to create.

Other Resources:
Coworking Community Blog
Cream Cheese in Philly


Deb said...

Nice Friday's Feast! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! Come on over and Check out my combined blog with Thursday and Friday! Have a good weekend! Gotta go put up Christmas decor soon!

Eric said...

Great idea. I would be much more willing to go to a hotel spot that Jelly - but with your review that might change. I have wanted to check it out, but sadly I have an office to go to. Wait, which is sadder?