A Guide to Current and Alumni Coherians Speaking at Startup Week Fort Collins

cohere-member-wall

Members of coworking spaces love to support their fellow members in their endeavors. Here’s a cheat sheet to ALL the Cohere members, current and past, who are speaking at Fort Collins Startup Week. Don’t waste another day working from home. Fo(co)works has put together free coworking every day of Startup Week so you can try all of the Fort Collins Coworking Spaces.

MONDAY

How Coworking Can Save You From Destitution (Angel Kwiatkowski, Julie Sutter, Current Members of Cohere)

In a world where you can work from anywhere, why cowork? Hear from members of four Fort Collins coworking spaces about how being a part of a coworking community can supercharge your skills, connections and success as a solopreneur, freelancer or non-profit.
Moderator: Angel Kwiatkowski, Founder, fo(co)works (Fort Collins Coworking Alliance).
Julie Sutter (Cohere)
Aaron Todd (Cohere) Only he’ll be stuck in Canada waiting for his work visa to renew :(
Logan Hale (Articulate)
Sara Durnil (The Music District)

FREE Drop-In Coworking at Cohere

Enjoy FREE drop-in coworking each day of Fort Collins Startup Week courtesy of fo(co)works, the Fort Collins’ coworking alliance. If you’ve been coworking-curious, cooped up your your home office or fighting over power outlets at the coffee shop, this FREE event is for you to try out all the amazing coworking communities. To attend, simply show up at the space you would like to visit on their free day. You can cowork for a few minutes between sessions or up to the full day.
• Monday 9a-4p: Cohere at 418 South Howes Street

2015-06-26 17.05.52-1 (1)TUESDAY

Getting Started with Your Startup (Ariana Friedlander, Recent Graduate of Cohere)

Wish you felt smarter about starting your own startup? And had some quick start tips & tricks to get there? We’ll walk you through a business model canvas quick start… You’ll leave this session knowing just what you need to tackle, next —  to create or scale your own startup!

Endurance is the Price Tag of Achievement (Kristin Mastre, Alumnae of Cohere)

Startup life is all about tenacity. Sometimes your plans may become obsolete as society (or technology) evolves. Sometimes the community doesn’t hold as much value in your product as they once did before. And sometimes the toll of startup life almost kills you. I’ve been there. Most (sane) people throw in the towel and quit when the going gets tough, and I’ve found that “fail fast” doesn’t always work in Fort Collins. Entrepreneurs generally aren’t sane nor do they quit easily. I’ll share how our foray into market research got us ready for a pivot and how burnout led to new business perspective.

Sourcing and Valuing Local Marketing Creative (Julie Sutter, Current Member of Cohere)

How do you find the talent located in your own back yard? What is your true cost in sourcing your photos, video,written content, web design, logos locally? Hear from local creators and experts about the added benefits of using local firms and artists to fulfill your business marketing and strategic goals.

I’ve Looked at Clouds That Way (Brian Fromme, Alumus of Cohere)

This talk will help entrepreneurs to better understand their own need to learn about cloud technology. Most non-technical people think of the cloud as a place to store data. But, the cloud can be used to make your rapidly-changing business processes more lean. In this talk, you will learn about aspects of cloud technology and how you can utilize it in your startup to grow more quickly without adding headcount.

Startup Music Videos and VR Show and Tell (Shane Zweygardt, Current Member of Cohere)

Join us for an hour of locally produced and directed music videos in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater.

From Soloprenuer to Multi-Person Business (Nick Armstrong, Mary Merritt, Alumni of Cohere)

Calling all Solopreneurs! This month’s Fort Collins Internet Pros meetup is a collaboration with Fort Collins Startup Week. Look forward to a 45-minute roundtable discussion with local business owners, followed by audience Q&A. Panelists will share their tips and experiences as Solopreneurs—growing their businesses from one-person shops to team-supported enterprises.

Integrating Social Media with WordPress (Jeremy Green, Current Member of Cohere)

Whether you blog, design, code, sell, or anything in between, if you use WordPress then you belong here. Even if your just interested in finding out more about this powerful piece of software, please feel free to join us!

We will be discussing all things WordPress, including themes, plugins, security, blogging, and business uses. There is so much you can do with WordPress. So whether you are just getting started, have mastered the basics, or are a WordPress core developer, we have a place for you!

https://www.meetup.com/Fort-Collins-WordPress-Meetup/events/237558045/

ianclapWEDNESDAY

Access to Capital: Show Me The Money (Ryan Stover, Alumnus of Cohere)

Are you seeking funding for your small business but are unsure of where to begin? With all the options available for small businesses today, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed! The Larimer SBDC and Innosphere are partnering to bring together several types of funding sources and respective experts for you to ask questions and get answers.

THURSDAY

Work-life Balance for Entreprenuers: Staying Happy and Healthy While Building a Business (Chrysta Bairre, Current Cohere Member)

Learn how the 80/20 rule applies to your work and life as we discuss how to build a successful business without sacrificing your health and happiness, including top tips for creating healthy habits, improving productivity, and focusing your efforts on what will get results in your business without burning you out!

Crowdfunding for Today and Tomorrow  (Ryan Stover, Alumnus of Cohere)

Crowdfunding is an ever growing trend to get early stage ideas off the ground. Colorado leaders in the crowdfunding arena let us know where it is today and where its headed. Get the inside scoop on how startups and entrepreneurs are accessing billions of dollars of usable capital through this innovative financing method.

Startup a Music Business (Angel Kwiatkowski)

Starting a business is hard. Starting a music-focused business can be even harder when it comes to tight budgets.  Music businesses must learn to balance their affinity for helping musicians with the reality of the cost of doing business. Come by The Music District to hear from local professionals that have been able to create and sustain music related businesses over the long-term.  Bring your curiosities and questions to learn about music entrepreneurship.

Startup Music Software Stories (John Dawes, Cohere Alumnus, Rob Viola’s Company Vionza, Current Cohere Member)

This panel will feature stories and experiences of music software’s creative leaders.  This is an opportunity to both meet and learn from the folks that make great ideas great.

_MG_6937FRIDAY

How to Self-Publish a Book Without Losing Your Shirt or Soul (Ariana Friedlander, Recent Cohere Graduate)

Ariana will share the story of how she applied Lean Startup Principles to write and self-publish her first book, A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Business Your Way so it was profitable within a few weeks of it’s release. She will then challenge attendees to begin re-imagining their idea with a Lean Startup lens and provide insight into how to maintain your soul while steadying yourself for success. This engaging and fun talk is relevant to anyone embarking on a creative endeavor that is entrepreneurial in nature.

Meet the Female Founders (Maria Gregori, Cohere Alumnae)

The Typo That Cost $620 Million (Molly McCowan, Current Cohere Member)
What do NASA, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. government have in common? They’ve all paid the price of a missing hyphen, misplaced comma, or rogue letter.
Hear the true stories of companies that have lost millions of dollars, trashed their reputations, and even gone out of business because of one typo.
In today’s world of instant connection, Autocorrect, and the ubiquitous screenshot, one mistake can spread around the world and take on a life of its own—with just the click of a button.
Learn why it’s worth the time and money to hire a copyeditor or proofreader to look over your company’s written content (including proposals, whitepapers, contracts, blog posts, email newsletters, and marketing collateral) before you click “send.”

Happy Hour Networking for Musicians at Cohere Bandwidth (Angel Kwiatkowski, Tim Massa, Current Cohere Members)

(free beer/drinks)
2014-12-09 08.48.12

The Surprising Way Cohere Coworking Helped My Family

When it comes to coworking, you never know where or how inspiration will hit–unless you’ve activated your community using Cotivation.

Cotivation is a five-week program for members of a coworking community. Participants meet on a weekly basis to set goals and revisit previous commitments, so every participant has a chance to make progress with the help of fellow coworkers. Weekly meetings ensure everyone has a sense of accountability as well as ongoing guidance from helpful peers. Challenges are routinely identified, tackled, then re-examined, so participants can feel a sense of not just progress in their work but in their development as better professionals and more well-rounded people.”

2013-04-04-0095-Cohere

Cohere has had 6 cycles of Cotivation over the past 2 years. We decided to take a hiatus from it last summer due to travel and member Gina REALLY wanted Cotivation to keep going so she implemented it with her family!

Gina and I sat down over matchy-matchy mandarin salads at The Rainbow and I quizzed her about why she would take a “work” tool to her family.

Why did you join Cohere’s Cotivation group? I needed a kick in the @ss. I have these year long projects with huge deadlines and I have to keep moving forward on them no matter what. I wanted to have accountability to other people.

Why did you take Cotivation home? We were ending a family book club cycle and I suggested Cotivation as a way to work on our goals. We’ve been doing it for almost a year together. We do a weekly google hangout.

What benefits has your family seen as a result? HUGE RESULTS. My mom had retired and fell into a rut. Cotivation inspired her to re-certify as a teacher and begin subbing again. She also started exercising. My dad started exercising for the FIRST time in his life. He uses a Total Gym. ***at this point the conversation devolved into me telling Gina all about Chuck Norris Facts***

Gina loves that her parents are getting healthier and she loves that she’s now flossing on a regular basis. She also got to know her sister-in-law better which has been awesome.

What’s the best thing about Cotivation at Cohere? I love the safety of it, the non-judgmental aspect and how self motivating I found it to be. I had no fear in setting goals and giving progress updates because I don’t actually work for or with anyone in Cotivation. Just look how happy Gina is with her excellent gum health!

Gina Hooten

If you want to bring Cotivation to your coworking space, reach out to Tony and Susan! If you want to join Cohere and our next round of Cotivation, schedule a tour.

 

Coworking: The True Preferences of Members

 

After developing and managing a coworking community for over 5 years, I feel like I’ve learned a few things about member preferences. I’ve done extensive yet non-mathematical A/B testing on a variety of variables that make life with coworking even better. Here’s a light-hearted take on what really matters to the Cohere Community members.

  1. Never ever put out plain M&Ms when you have peanut M&Ms in your desk drawer. If the coworkers find out that you’ve been holding out on them, certain death will follow.
  2. If you have to choose between buying plain Hershey’s Kisses and Almond ones, always choose the Almond ones. The plain ones will last in the bowl longer but you’ll suffer o_O squinchy eyes for your frugality.
  3. It’s always worth it to splurge on Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Basil scented hand soap. The members prefer its scent to any other hand soap that has ever been or will ever be available in the domestic United States. Shockingly, hand washing percentages go up and the incidence of infectious disease plummets when they can scrub with basil goodness. (I’m serious, more people washed their hands more frequently when this soap was available. Don’t ask me how I know this, that’s why I’m the community manager).
  4. Give all members 24/7 access. Just because I can’t function after 8pm or before 6am doesn’t mean they can’t.
  5. When planning an event, make sure that food is available and not just any crappy food but really good, delicious food. Our most successful social event is DONUTS. Don’t overthink this one.
  6. Give them communication tools or give them death. Cohere members use no fewer than 6 ways to communicate with one another…sometimes at the same time and sometimes while they sit next to one another speechless, typing.
  7. Don’t underestimate the power of a group lunch. Coworkers prefer to eat together instead of alone. Always forego your lunchbox when the opportunity presents itself.
  8. Never use an image in a blog post that makes sense when you’ve accidentally come across a gem like today’s.

Image credit: Ashley Dryden

DIT Coworking Board Combats #selfie-ness

2015-03-06 13.24.00

In this digital age permeated by a pervasive #selfie culture, the Cohere coworking members decided to turn some introspection outward. Last week, over donuts and coffee, we wondered what a whiteboard might bring to our break room. Options included a life-sized Angel cutout replete with changeable outfits and a spreadsheet of how we take our coffee. Then the tables turned: quite magically. We decided to dust off our old Polaroid and crowd-source the content, hence the DIT (Do It Together) instead of the DIY.

Our first #everyoneelsie board has been up for 5 days. It comes with no instructions except the declaration, “Make it Ours!” and a small tray of supplies nearby.

2015-03-06 13.23.12

2015-03-06 13.23.36

2015-03-06 13.23.41

2015-03-06 13.23.18

2015-03-06 13.23.46

We’re looking forward to seeing how the board progresses over time and I’m secretly hoping for more people-pics. Does your coworking space have a community curated board? Show us!

Stop Fucking Up This Type of Email

suggestion-boxIn a world of increasing remote work and ever expanding social networks people are desperate to connect in a more meaningful way (besides our lovely coworking space in Fort Collins). Often, that meaningful way is to get a cooperative 3rd party to introduce you to someone over email. If one more well-meaning 3rd party sends me a “connection” email like the following, I’m going to go CRAY all over the interwebs.

Angel,

I was in a meeting with these folks yesterday and thought you’d all like to connect. Find their email addresses above.

Tom

WHY?! Why would I want to email a bunch of strangers? It’s sort of like ringing my doorbell and slinging a couple of strangers into my living room then driving away, tires squealing. But because I’m a lovely person, I tried to email the strangers and ask what they needed from me but Tom, in his infinite wisdom, mistyped all of their email addresses so they all bounced back. Tom, you’re a peach. Never change.

Here is a formula for crafting connection emails that won’t make your friends and colleagues cringe:

Character Key:

Needer: person who you’re trying to help

Giver: person who you think can help

Me: I tell the Needer that I’ll send a connection email so they know it’s coming. OCCASIONALLY I will warn the Giver that a connection email is coming but since I’ve pretty much nailed the connection email process this isn’t usually necessary. I ALWAYS address the Giver first in the email and the NEEDER second.

Components of the Connection Email:

Address the email to both the NEEDER and the GIVER.

Title: Please e-meet each other!

Giver,

I’d like to introduce you to my friend NEEDER. She loves X, Y, Z (Z is always directly related to the need they have). Background info like relocation, education, jobs or another way they might know each other OR the context of why they should know one another (you were both at my birthday party). Needer asked for my help in meeting people who Z & A so naturally you jumped right out at me as an expert in those areas. NEEDER will be emailing you with more info about the project etc. Needer is also available to help volunteer for your upcoming event if that’s helpful for you.

Needer,

Please meet my dear friend, GIVER. She loves X, Y, Z and we’ve known each other for xx years. She has been instrumental in Z & A so she’ll be a wealth of information for your upcoming project. Giver is wicked busy right now due to an upcoming presentation so it may take her a few days to get back with you. Thanks for being patient.

I’ll let you two connect directly from here as everyone is copied on this email. I hope it’s fruitful for you both!

Angel

Summary:

There are a couple of key components that will make your connection email more useful to everyone.

First, in order to pull off a stellar connector email, you HAVE to know both parties fairly well. You won’t be able to address their likes, needs and personality if you’ve never had a good conversation. If you don’t know each party well enough to follow the script above YOU SHOULD NOT BE SENDING CONNECTOR EMAILS!

Second, always make it clear WHO is supposed to take action. 99% of the time, I ask the NEEDER to send the next email and a tip on what it should contain. This removes ALL the ambiguity of who is supposed to do what and it’s the key thing that is lacking in almost every connection email I RECEIVE. #awkward.

Here are some real world examples of connection emails that I have sent in the past month:

Amanda M,

Please meet Amanda W.  Amanda is relocating here in August. She mentioned that she’s certified in event planning, has an MBA and loves coordinating business events so it seemed natural to connect you two.

Amanda W, please meet Amanda M. Amanda and I have known each other for years and she’s a neighbor to our midtown Cohere location. Here is her website xxxxxxxx. Amanda is well-connected to many businesses, events and the arts scene here in town.

 I’d love for you two to meet sometime and see if an interesting connection pops for you. I’ll leave it to Amanda W to email Amanda M.

 Glad my name’s not Amanda,

Angel

C,
Please meet S, Founder of the xxxxxx. We used to be next door neighbors in Fort Collins (our businesses, not our homes) and S is expanding into Denver. He’s looking for connections with the coolest coworking spaces both for space to conduct the tech workshops AND as a business landing place.

S, Please meet C of xxx xxx. We’ve been circling each other in the coworking world for 4-ish years now?! xxx xxx is very similar to Cohere and if I may be biased, is my favorite Denver coworking hub. C is the founder and community manager for both locations.
S, please email C and explain in more detail what you’re needing.

Angel

***********************************

Go forth and connect.

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

FullSizeRender

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.

Writers, Stop Giving It Away

Guest post from Cohere member Heidi

First, I’m going to share a quote that sums up my thoughts on the issue of writers doing work for free. A week ago, Rick Reilly, sportswriter and ESPN star, was asked to deliver the final commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism. He said the following:

“When you get out there, all I ask is that you: DON’T WRITE FOR FREE! Nobody asks strippers to strip for free, doctors to doctor for free or professors to profess for free. Have some pride! What you know how to do now is a skill that 99.9 percent of the people don’t have. If you do it for free, they won’t respect you in the morning. Or the next day. Or the day after that. You sink everybody’s boat in the harbor, not just yours. So just DON’T!” (Read more: Husted: Alum Rick Reilly puts CU J-school to bed – The Denver Post)

Here’s what I would like to add to Reilly’s eloquent statement.

Think about your future and don’t mess with my present

Young or new writers often give away their work. Perhaps it’s because they are building a portfolio or maybe they’re just overly eager to see their byline. Whatever the reason, writing for free is bad.

First, if you write for free, you are setting a precedent establishing that your work is not worth real money. When you decide to start charging for your time and work, you’ve already established that your price is free. Last, but far from least, as Reilly points out above, by writing for free you are hurting other writers. Working for free undercuts our industry, period.

Trade is not free, but tread carefully

A trade is only legitimate when both parties are truly getting equal value from the exchange. Some writers are happy to free write articles in exchange for hotel stays or other travel freebies. I know writers who write reviews for free products; this is popular with mommy bloggers. While this isn’t my preferred type of payment, this is a legitimate trade.

I would caution writers against doing frequent trade. I promise that the mortgage company will not take the organic oven cleaner you got as trade in lieu of a house payment, no matter how good it is.

Boost your portfolio without undercutting yourself or others

Look, I know it’s hard to break in to this industry, and believe me when I tell you that you’ll always feel as though you are “breaking in.” Making a living as a writer is tough, but I do have some tips on getting clips without undercutting your future or my present.

Find a nonprofit and DONATE your time – My first official writing gig was producing a quarterly newsletter for a small, nonprofit organization. I wrote all the articles, took the photographs and even did the design and layout work. And yes, I did this for free because I believed in the cause, but, above all, I needed clips. Happily, these clips helped me secure my first paying writing job at a local newspaper. If you must work for free, support a non-profit or charity that you care deeply about.

Blog, blog, blog – If you have a blog that is published and updated weekly with well-written work, then *presto* you have clips. Here’s a tip: build a professional looking blog by paying the small fee associated with removing the /wordpress or /blogspot from your url.

Guest blogging is another great way to get clips and to establish yourself as a sought after writer. Again, limit the number of guest posts you write; there are bloggers who will take advantage of free work as well.

Don’t do it alone – Networking with other writers is priceless. Join a writers group, join a writers association, or join an online industry organization such as Media Bistro and Avant Guild. Believe it or not, Twitter has an active group of writers, and is a good place to connect. Coworking at a facility where there are other writers is also a wise idea. Find out more about coworking here.

By surrounding yourself with people you want to emulate, good things will happen.

For the rest of you

It may sound like I’m picking on writers, so I will leave you with this:  PEOPLE, STOP ASKING WRITERS TO WRITE FOR FREE. You wouldn’t expect your dentist to fill a cavity for free or your accountant to do your taxes for a box of chocolates. The fact is that you can’t fill your own cavity and you aren’t good at doing your taxes. You are also a terrible writer – that’s why you’ve asked someone else to do it – so pay them!

-Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is the Mayor of HeidiTown and a working writer. You may follow her on Twitter or join the HeidiTown block party on Facebook.

Image credit: photosteve1o1

 

New Book! Coworking: How Freelancers Escape The Coffee Shop Office

Coworking: How Freelancers Escape The Coffee Shop OfficeFast on the heels of the first-ever ebook for coworking space catalysts comes another riveting read…made for coworkers by coworkers!

Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office (and Tales of Community from Independents Around the World) is designed to help the mobile workforce and small business owners escape the coffee shop or home office, and embrace the coworking movement.

“Anyone can locate a desk and a free internet connection, but coworking provides more,” said Angel Kwiatkowski, the book’s co-author and Madame of Cohere. “It allows independent professionals to participate in a global community that is part support system, part educational network, and part creative think tank.”

If you’ve ever tried to explain coworking to a skeptical audience, and wished for a resource that would convey all the benefits along with reasons to give it a try, this book is for you!

Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office includes vital tips for finding and participating in a coworking community as well as over 30 stories from independent professionals all over the world that are embracing this new style of work.

“Today’s mobile workforce is savvy, but their options for workspace and community are limited,” said Beth Buczynski, the book’s co-author and coworking blogger. “They are desperate for something better than the same old networking events and meetups. Coworking recognizes that freelancers can accomplish more through collaboration, and gives them the solid platform they need to grow and succeed.

Check out a preview of the book here, or download your own copy today!

Two Quick Fixes for the Worst Networking Events

Two Quick Fixes for the Worst Networking Events

I’ve attended my fair share of networking events in the last year, and I just want to go on the record as saying:

Most networking events are a waste of my time and yours.

I’ve been to networking events for web people, sustainable people, people with “integrity,” early risers, late nighters, coffee drinkers, tea enthusiasts, women, pet lovers, commerce lunchers, bar hoppers and more.

Here are a few examples of why those events are falling short.

Treating people like children

I got an email alerting me to a new “networking” function today. Out of sheer morbid curiosity, I went to the website to see what it was all about. One of the activities listed on an agenda was to draw names out of a hat to get a lunch date. Now, keep in mind that this is purportedly a group of professionals who want to get to know one another better. The last time I had to pick a team out of a hat, I was in 4th grade. This activity totally devalues the most important part of the coffee meeting: the 2 people in it! I’d much rather have one meaningful conversation with someone I care about or WANT to care about than five quicky-converations.

QUICK FIX: Look for events that don’t have an agenda but rather a simple theme. For instance, in our Business of Freelance/Pancake Eating mornings, we share a meal together and answer a question that I prepare in advance (in my car, on my way to breakfast). Last month we shared what inspires us. That’s it…no names in hats. Our group grew from 4 pancake eaters to 14 in just a few months. And with no gimmicks.

Exclusivity falsified as integrity

I once went to a networking function called “integrity networking.” As Cohere member Skippy would later point out, “you should probably avoid groups that claim to be ethical right in their title—if they have to overtly say they are ethical, then they probably aren’t.” At the event, everyone had their chance to give an elevator speech, an activity that makes me want to turn to liquid and slide through the floorboards. After I sat through elevator speech Round 2 (in the same meeting), I was handed an application and asked to pay more than a hundred dollars for the privilege of hanging out with Fort Collins’ finest integritarians. Yikes. I’d much rather find authenticity and integrity on a person-by-person basis than go to an event (falsely) promoting integrity.

QUICK FIX: Don’t pay a dime for a networking group. Your money is better spent bringing a 6-pack of beer to our monthly NoCoFat meetup (combined with Articulate City this week!). We keep Cohere open late, member Kevin brings his laptop speakers, and we drink beer, eat chips and talk. Just talk. No funny stuff. There’s no fee to get in, no application and no exchanging of meaningless business cards.

What’s been your experience with networking events? Which ones do you love?

Image Credit: Flickr – Official GDC

Our blog is pretty awesome.
What are you looking for?

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Stay in touch with news and events from the Cohere community with a monthly subscription to our newsletter.

The only spam we like is fried. We assume you feel the same.