Happy Holidays From Cohere: Thanks, Reflection, Future

As the year comes to a close I wanted to take some time to thank you, reflect, and give you a preview of what’s coming in 2015.

Thank You.

I never say it often enough but you make Cohere possible. You choose us. You work with us. You laugh with us. You grow with us. Maybe you’ve been a member for 5 years or for 5 days. You matter. You are important.

Without you, Cohere is just an empty shell, a real estate transaction and a line item on someone’s budget. WITH you, we become a community, a pivot point for new friendships, and a platform for personal growth and change.

Let’s Reflect.

In December of 2009 we started out coworking in a donated reception area once/week. On the 5th week we ran out of chairs (14 of them) and broke the internet.RMI2 coworking test In March 2010, we opened our first location in Old Town with 4 members. Coworking-Cohere

In January 2012 we moved to the Howes location. Last December we had 39 members and 1 location. This December we have 75 members and 2 locations. That’s double. That’s huge. And we’re set to double again in 2015. Whether you told a friend about Cohere or posted an update on Facebook, many of our new members come from word of mouth and it makes a difference.2014-11-07 13.17.06

What’s Next.

2015 will bring Cohere to its final space frontier: Cohere Bandwidth, shared rehearsal space for musicians inside the amazing artist ecosystem that is the Downtown Artery. We’re looking forward to creative new connections between the artists of the Artery, the musicians of Bandwidth and the nerds of Cohere.

While Bandwidth may be located at the intersection of Linden and Jefferson we’re really at the crossroads of combining art, music and brains in brand new ways.

Here’s to 2015, may it bring you meaningful connections, amazing independence, kindness and love.

Love, Angel

2014-11-21 10.20.46

Ps. Hat tip to Julie who’s been with us every step of the way from our first pre-community meeting to today.


Ridiculously Productive Meetings


I bet you never wonder how 3 people with full-time jobs manage to shoe-horn in the creation of a shared rehearsal space for Fort Collins in their “spare” time. If you’ve been following us, you might wonder why I would brag about our ridiculously productive meetings for Cohere Bandwidth when we’ve been at this for almost 2 years. If you must know, most of that 2 years was spent waiting on real estate with very few DONES getting checked off of our TO-DOS. Skip below to the COMPLETION step if you are skimming.

But now that the space is REAL and under construction we spend every Friday going from Oh Fuck! to Hell Yes! Here is our extremely effective meeting process:

  1. AGENDA: Anyone can create or add to the agenda. We do this in a shared google doc that everyone can edit. The doc contains ALL of the agendas with the most recent at the top. The agenda is usually created the night before or the morning of each meeting. We’re agile and quick so it wouldn’t make sense to create an agenda further in advance than that.
  2. SCHEDULE: Meetings are always at 10am on Fridays at Cohere and last 1.5 hours. The person who is late has to get coffee for everyone else.FullSizeRender (1)
  3. AIRING OF GRIEVANCES: At the start of each meeting we get our feelings out. Yep, you read that right. If anyone is frustrated or flabbergasted or just plain giddy, we talk it out BEFORE we task. This step is key. Due to the nature of our structure, we can’t be together or even talk every day so it’s important to make a real connection to one another before we start doling out chores.
  4. ORDER: We go through the agenda in order. Always. We rarely add anything to the agenda during the meeting.
  5. TIME: Never, ever, ever put an estimated time for discussion on an agenda item. This makes no sense.
  6. COMPLETION: We complete any tasks that come up IN THE MEETING. Example, if Julie needs to email someone about a radio interview then Shane and I talk about a graphic design task or similar. This allows everyone to be productive during the entire meeting, which is something I never got to experience in corporate life.
  7. DELEGATE: If any tasks remain, they are completed directly after the meeting ends or get shifted to me (Angel) if possible since I have the most spare time to complete things. Shane will often do heavy duty graphic design tasks outside of the meeting as it’s part of his creative process.

So there. Now you know how we make the most out of our 12 hours/month together.

Does your team have an unconventional meeting process? Tell us all about it so we can steal your tips for our next meeting.

Happy 4th Anniversary Cohere! Let’s Play Alumni Catch-Up

happy anniversary Cohere

That’s right folks, it’s already been FOUR long, wonderful, coworking-filled years since our community officially opened! It’s hard to believe. We started with just a handful of independents working in the loft space on Jefferson Street, and now, Cohere has almost 50 members, we’re charging full steam ahead with Cohere: Bandwidth (our effort to bring shared rehearsal space to the local music scene), and (fingers crossed!) opening a new Midtown location soon.

Thinking about all that’s happened since we became Fort Collins’ first coworking space got me thinking about our alumni. Those members who were there in the early stages, but have moved on to other things or places because of life or work or both!

So I decided to play a little game of Cohere Alumni Catch-up (aka Where are they now?!) Enjoy catching up with your colleagues below, and thank you for supporting this small, woman-owned business. YOU ARE ALL MY FAVORITE!

Cohere Alumni Catch-up (aka Where are they now?!)


Suzanne Akin

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
Freelance graphic design and working on my clothing line, Akinz

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
I’m running my clothing line full time and opened our flagship store in Old Town last August.  

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Lots of them. Either power lunging to Kilwin’s to make up for the salted caramels we were about to eat or the very first Custom Beanie Creation Station setup :)

Member Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane Griesemer

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere? 

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
Work- I am the Director of Product for the Global Accelerator Network, an organization of technology seed accelerators located in over 50 countries. 

Life- I married Eoin, a guy I met on OK Cupid, a dating website I tried because Alex convinced me I should during an afternoon of coworking. I am incubating our first gremlin, due June 2.

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Getting laid off from my shitty, shitty job and driving directly to Cohere to celebrate my new found freedom and bright future. And the people. I love my Coherians.


Beth Buczynski

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
Freelance copywriting/environmental blogging (for WAY too little).

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
Living in Longmont and coworking at the Armory Workspace in Loveland. Still copywriting and blogging about the environment (for MUCH better rates), doing a little editing, and promoting my new book about the sharing economy, “Sharing is Good: How to Save Money, Time and Resource through Collaborative Consumption“!

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Night coworking! Cupcake runs. Publishing the coworking ebooks. Hanging Holindaise decorations with Angel and Kevin U.


Lindsay Ogden

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
When I joined Cohere, I was working as a freelance Drupal developer. I had been in Drupal for a little over a year and was still pretty green.

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
I am working as a technical business analyst and product manager in web technologies, unfortunately no longer remote :)

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Learning from other professionals who became my friends. Getting to work with such different people, expand my network of colleagues and friends was invaluable and treasured. A particular memory that stands out is walking to the hot dog stand with friends for lunch.


Alex Chiang

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
Working remotely for Canonical.

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
Living in San Francisco, eating $4 toast, and paying way too much to live in a twitter-sized apartment. On the plus side, it’s always sunny and in the 60s.

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Culinary camaraderie, whether it was helping the sweet toothers find the perfect gelato or on a more personal note, discovering that Big Al’s would stack as many 60/40 bacon/burger patties on top of each other as you wanted.

Image via macrj


Featured Member Monday: Meet Rosalie Rae Robinson

Rosalie Rae Robinson
Copywriter, international marketing manager, and
 the managing director of Physique: Body of Tea

As freelancers, we’re often guilty of neglecting our physical bodies while pursuing more cerebral activities. This is bad news because without healthy bodies, our creativity and productivity will always suffer. Part of the struggle of being a member of the independent workforce is that we’re responsible for everything, and that means the work (almost) never ends. Entrepreneurs sometimes have trouble making time for the rest, relaxation and nutrition that keeps us delivering our best day after day. That’s why Cohere is thrilled to count a health-conscious member like Rosalie Rae Robinson among our number.

Rosalie is a wellness and fitness freak. She’s also pretty darn good at copywriting and marketing. Through her work with Physique, she’s creating awareness about how organic, non-GMO, and fair trade tea can be the secret to unlocking the healthiest you. Here’s more about Rosalie:

How did you hear about Cohere?
I was looking into renting an office space for myself, and then found out that such a thing as coworking. I liked that idea much better than sitting alone in an office all by myself … which is what I was doing at home anyway. From there, Cohere was just a Google search away!

What’s your favorite part about Cohere?
Being around other people who are working makes me want to work harder … that, and I get an extra guilt trip when I know someone’s just seen me on Facebook.

Favorite past time?
At the moment, calligraphy, cello, and reading.

What’s something we don’t know about you?
I have a first degree black belt in tae kwan do.

What was your life like before Cohere?
Full of sweat pants and distractions.

How has it changed since joining?
Dress pants and … well, different and more enjoyable distractions. ;)

Featured Member Monday: Meet Kevin Udy

Kevin Udy
Search Engine Nerd
NerdyMind Marketing

Kevin U. (as he’s been affectionately dubbed) is one of the unique individuals that brings a wonderful spice to our coworking community. Kevin was one of the driving forces behind NoCoFat (Northern Colorado Friday Afternoon Tweetup) which brought together many of the online personalities who eventually became Cohere’s founding members. To say Kevin is an old soul would be an understatement, but his grasp on new technologies is a blessing for his clients and friends.

Even though Kevin had a 9 – 5 office job for much of Cohere’s first year, he made a point to make his SEO expertise and general knowledge about website design available to members through social events and night coworking. In fact, the majority of members have probably turned to Kevin in a time of Word Press crisis, only to have him calmly dissect the problem, and carry on. Here’s the story of how he found our community, and how it, eventually, helped him become more independently connected:

How did you hear about Cohere?

There was a bit of buzz about it in my twitter stream, the concept of coworking was new to me, but I loved the idea and wanted to try it out. Unfortunately I had a job in an office, so I didn’t join right away… I just stalked the community from the fringe. I also remember seeing a meetup group that met before the space was procured, but I didn’t attend. And finally, I met and talked with Angel about Cohere at the FCIP meetup.

When did you join?

In my head… when the doors first opened, in reality – when the night owl plan was added!

What’s your favorite part about Cohere?

Belonging to a resourceful and fun community – participating in social events with everyone.

Favorite past time?

In the past few years, I’d have to say… cloudscape photography or vegetable gardening.

What’s something we don’t know about you?

I love doing taxes and financial planning. Also, I’m not always a catastrophizer (shhhh… don’t tell Angel).

What would you tell a friend who is interested in joining Cohere?

I would tell them how valuable it can be to belong to a community of like-minded and awesomely varied professionals, how nice it is to have a place to work and socialize that isn’t your home office, and how much fun I’ve had at night coworking.

Meet Cohere’s New Community Manager: Kristin Mastre


Remember a few weeks ago when we introduced Bill Mastre? We waxed poetic about the fact that both Bill and his wife Kristin were both independent professionals, using coworking to make life easier. This week, it’s time to introduce Kristin, not just as a Cohere member (she’s been a member for a while) but in her new role as Cohere’s community manager.

Kristin’s introduction into coworking came as it did for many of us, in the form of Angel’s memorable Ignite presentation about collaborative work. “I was intrigued because she had been a coworker in a company with my husband and here she was with this brand spankin’ new business to share with Fort Collins,” Kristin said. “I loved the concept from the moment she spoke about it because community is a very important value to me. It resonated deeply and I knew that night that I was going to check out Cohere. I’ve been hooked ever since!”

That was around three years ago, and since then, Kristin has become a fixture in our community. Now that Angel’s taken some time off to care for her adorable baby, Kristin has come on board to help manage the day-to-day activities in her absence. In case you’ve never met Kristin, or aren’t sure what a community manager does at a coworking space, here’s the scoop:

What’s your job as the community manager? 

KM: I think most of it is really just being there at the office with everyone. I’ll take people on tours and show them around, get their membership paperwork together, update our Cohere website with new member information, and brew a new pot of coffee every now and then. I organize some community events every month – one low-key fun related (usually revolving around food) and another that is more educational utilizing the expertise and talents of our members.

What kinds of questions do you love to answer for Coherians? 

KM: I love sharing connections. A big benefit of Cohere is being a member to a pool of resources. Life as a freelancer can be scary and we depend on business referrals. I get the warm fuzzies when I’m able to connect people – one getting new business, the other finding an outstanding solution, both forming a fantastic relationship.

What’s been your favorite moment so far as community manager?

KM: It’s hard to say because I haven’t been in this position for longer than a month, but two moments stick out in my mind. One was the roundtable meeting we had with The Coloradoan. It was awesome that our group of tech savvy small business owners were able to give insight as to what kind of content would be useful to our community. The other is when I’m nose-deep in my work on my laptop and realize that I’ve worked through lunch. I haven’t said a word about it and before I know it, someone is offering to pick up lunch or coffee for me. That really has nothing to do with community management, but everything to do with the community.

What’s something we don’t know about you?

KM: I am a diehard fan of rap and hip hop. In fact, it’s all I listen to (98% of the time). Every Friday night Bill and I have a date night at home after the kids go to bed where we grill up a steak dinner, drink cocktails and listen to hours of tracks from different artists. Ask me about rap and I might not shut up.

If you want to learn more about what Kristin does to pay the bills, check out her member feature here. Otherwise, just stop by her desk and say ‘hi’ next time you’re at Cohere!

Featured Member Monday: Meet Carrie Visintainer


Carrie Visintainer

Looking for a way out of the seclusion of working at home – or as she calls it, the “insanity” – Carrie Visintainer found a social, comfortable and safe harbor in Cohere. “I joined Cohere to save myself, and my family!” This wife and mother-of-two was drawn to Cohere’s tremendous amenities that her lovely home just couldn’t offer her, including excellent networking, educational opportunities and inspiring diversions, such as a Dire Straits poster that she swears consistently helps her push through writing blocks! Not only do Carrie’s words flow more freely at Cohere, but she enjoys being a part of a committed group of professionals who strive for personal success.

“As a writer, working from home means sitting in front of my laptop for hours on end, trying to access my subconscious, and crazy stuff like that. It’s isolating. In order to feel connected to the larger world, I joined Cohere. It’s been a great balance for me,” Carrie shared.  The social aspect is one of Cohere’s elements that keeps her coming back for more. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people that I might not have come into contact with otherwise. I enjoy the professional connections, as well as the socializing,” Carrie explains.

As a world traveler with a degree in zoology and a Masters in molecular, cellular, developmental biology and genetics, Carrie is part of the remarkably bright core at Cohere. “I split my time between literary projects and freelance assignments. Mostly I write about travel and science, but I’m open to (almost) anything.” Carrie has experienced the success of Cohere’s networking potential first-hand by receiving a variety of freelance projects though her social and professional connections there.

Carrie says that her time at Cohere is spent typing a lot, chatting a little, cracking jokes here and there and enjoying the view out the window. Regarding her favorite spot at Cohere, she said, “I’m a person who loves change, yet I head for the same seat every time. It’s in the brightly lit room with lots of windows. I also love the kitchen, sofa and fireplace.” Carrie knows at least fifteen other Coherians by name and that number may be on the rise – “If a friend of mine was considering joining Cohere, I would definitely recommend it and tell them it’s a great way to learn and grow, and to feel supported.”

Friday’s Featured Cohere Member: Meet Derek Haynes


Meet Derek Haynes, Web Developer

Co-founder of Scout


When Derek Haynes uprooted his life in San Francisco and made the trek to “the Fort” (as he lovingly calls it), one of the first things in his cross-hairs was a coworking office. Luckily, he found Cohere, which he says far exceeded his big-city expectations with its strong community, central location, comfortable space, amenities and the dedication and involvement of Cohere’s founder, Angel. He signed up for a membership after his first day checking the place out and can’t imagine working from anywhere else.

“When you’re working for yourself, you’re often doing it because you love the challenge of working on many different things. Everyday I meet someone at Cohere that’s better than me at many of things I do and it’s great to see how they do it,” Derek explained. Derek’s co-workers surely have a lot to learn from him as well – he is the co-founder of Scout, a performance monitoring service that companies like Zynga, The New York Times and Skype love to use. Being surrounded by local talent in diverse fields not only inspires and pushes Derek in his own professional work, but allows him to enjoy encounters that make life special, such as meeting new people, getting coffee with friends and giving and receiving advice. Derek adds, “Working for yourself or remotely for a large company from home can be very isolating. You lose out on a lot of those impromptu things. Cohere makes it easier to experience these moments. It makes me a happier person, which is great all-around.”

Living and working “the good life” is important to Derek and his typical day at Cohere reflects that, starting with a morning bike ride to Cohere, putting his nose to the grindstone for a good chunk of the day and then off to Old Town for lunch – perhaps stopping at 415, a foodie hot-spot behind Cohere that is quickly becoming popular with fellow Coherians.

“Cohere is a terrific melting pot – because it’s a shared space, it attracts people that really want to help and learn from each other. As a new father, it’s incredible to watch our daughter soak up things around her without any direct instruction. The same thing happens at Cohere with the great people that work from there,” Derek explained. How Cohere’s coworking osmosis phenomena works, no one really knows, but Derek knows for sure that Cohere adds to his happiness and success – both personally and professionally.

Friday’s Featured Cohere Member: Meet Kristin Mastre


Kristin Mastre
Food Blogger/Restaurant Critic, Owner of Feasting Fort Collins

Three years ago, Kristin Mastre would never have guessed that her life would look like what it does today.  When she decided to casually take on the role of restaurant critic and food blogger for the local Ft. Collins area—she imagined an outlet for her creative writing and passion for nutrition—not the unexpected twist of unprecedented, straight-out-of-the-gate success and local celebrity that she actually experienced.  Her writing and reviews for her site, FeastingFortCollins.com, were so well received that she went from casual hobby writer, to professional blogger within a year’s time—a true rarity in the blogosphere and entrepreneurial world.  And, if you were to ask Kristin how she did it—she’d say that she’s not sure she could have done it without Cohere.

Hearing Cohere owner Angel Kwiatkowski, speak locally on the subject of coworking, Kristin immediately connected with the idea. “(The coworking) concept was amazing.  Being at home with two kids, it was so appealing to me—I need to get out and talk to other adults.  (My coworkers) are going to know about adult things like SEO and advertising and I can talk about something other than Playdoh and diapers.”  Little did she know at the time, a break from the isolation of working from home and the perks of adult conversation would be just the beginning of all of the other incredible ways that her colleagues at Cohere would contribute to her professional life.

After just six months of blogging, Kristin was being approached by local businesses who wanted to advertise—something she knew nothing about setting up, and was quickly realizing that the technical side of running a website was beyond the scope of her expertise.   And, right off the bat, her new Cohere community showed up for her.  “I needed to switch blogging platforms—and there was someone there willing to help.  And we’re talking—they are openly giving me help, expecting nothing in return. It’s just this unspoken understanding, when you’re part of the community—you give help and receive help.  It’s been incredible to be part of this collaborative environment.”

For Kristin’s family, working in the evenings was ideal for maintaining her work/life balance, an option she has been elated to have available at Cohere.  During the nighttime shift, she’s met others who are in her same situation—working odd hours to make staying at home with kids possible, or operating additional businesses on the side—connections that make her feel right at home.  Other things that have made her feel at home?  Realizing that these supportive work relationships had evolved beyond the confines of her work life, and that the support she receives is not only for her business—but also, genuinely, for her.

“There was a time when my husband was between jobs, and things were difficult.  During one of the Thursday morning pancake breakfasts (a weekly Cohere social event), they were talking about what they all wanted out of their businesses for the coming year.  I wasn’t able to make it—but (my coworkers) went out of their way to tell me that they had talked about, for me, wanting my business to be so successful that my husband wouldn’t even have to work,” a sentiment that is still incredibly moving and meaningful to her.  Kristin went on, “The thing with freelancing is that it’s not only that it can be lonely—but sometimes you also really don’t feel supported. Everyone at Cohere has this unwavering, undying support.  It’s not just a space to do your stuff—it’s a work family.”  And that, to Kristin, means more than anything.

It’s Fat Tuesday! Cohere Celebrates Mardi Gras In Style

King Cake Mardi Gras

Today is Fat Tuesday, and those who were lucky enough to be at Cohere today were treated to some Mardi Gras treats!

Member Jennifer Davey brought in a King Cake–crazy sweet danish thing that people in New Orleans eat to celebrate Fat Tuesday–so that everyone could have their dose of sugar for the day. Here’s a little background in case you’ve never heard of this tradition:

“The King Cake tradition came to New Orleans with the first French settlers and has stayed ever since. Like the rest of Mardi Gras during those early days, the king cake was a part of the family’s celebration, and really didn’t take on a public role until after the Civil War. In 1870, the Twelfth Night Revelers held their ball, with a large king cake as the main attraction. Instead of choosing a sacred king to be sacrificed, the TNR used the bean in the cake to choose the queen of the ball. This tradition has carried on to this day, although the TNR now use a wooden replica of a large king cake. The ladies of the court pull open little drawers in the cake’s lower layer which contain the silver and gold beans. Silver means you’re on the court; gold is for the queen.

King Cake Cohere

“”With the TNR making a big deal over the king cake in the society circles, others in the city started having king cake parties. These parties particularly among children, became very popular and have also continued to today. The focus of today’s king cake party for kids has shifted more to the school classroom than the home, however. Up through the 1950s, neighborhoods would have parties. One family would start the ball rolling after Twelfth Night, and they’d continue on weekends through Carnival. Whoever got the baby (the coin or bean had changed to a ceramic or porcelain baby about an inch long by then) in the king cake was to hold the next party.”

Be sure to stop by Cohere this week to find out who earned the privilege of supplying next year’s King Cake!

Source: GumboPages.com

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