Community Cultivators: Cohere Coworking

I want to take a moment to recognize the FIVE Cohere members who make Cohere run smoothly. Adding several cultivators has really taken our community to the next level. While I still do much of the broader organization for Cohere (see also: Amazon Prime Orders), having this capable crew on tap has made all the difference in my sanity and has distributed responsibility across many people rather than everything landing squarely on my plate.

Alaina Massa: Team Tidy

For those of you who are really paying attention to details, my Cohere Bandwidth staff person is Tim Massa. These two are married and having both on the team is infinitely better than just having only one. Alaina recently took over the big task of keeping Cohere’s space in tip-top shape. She comes under the cover of darkness each week and when we arrive the next morning, everything is sparkling. If you are in need of some clean, contact Choice City Cleaning.

Carrie Lamanna: Copy Editing Magic

Carrie is a writer/editor/professor by trade and I’ve recently had her start copy editing all of my coworking consulting resources. I *know* I’m an average writer and having Carrie as my secret weapon helps me deliver more consistent content that makes more sense. She did NOT edit this post so don’t blame her for my flaws.

Andy Brown: Tours & More

Andy is an expert in e-media analytics and pretty much the nicest human ever. He cares for the basic maintenance around Cohere: finding rare light bulbs for old fixtures, minding the recycling and alerting me when supplies get low. He also does the bulk of our tours and orientations for prospective and new members. Book a date with Andy here. 

Jenny Benton-Fischer: Tours, Sarcasm and Therapy for Angel

Jenny and I have been running into each other for something like 15 years and she’s been a remote member of Cohere for YEARS. Her recent move back to graphic design freelance finally freed her up to be here in person. I knew she was “The One” when we both said a swear in her interview. Book a tour with Jenny.

Kim Kimball: Rocket Ships, Math and Jokes

Kim wanted a way to spend more time in the coworking area vs. his neat little office downstairs so he came on board to help out too. Kim works remotely for the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena under the guise of IT but usually just does hard math a lot. He’s also super good at scrubbing the kitchen sink (which, honestly, is why I had my eye on him to Cultivate anyway). He’ll be giving tours and delighting the members with his quick wit and Roomba jokes.

I do sincerely hope you’ll come visit us and meet our amazing team of Cohere Cultivators. They are equipped to help you meet other coworking members, find a fork or recommend a lunch spot in Downtown Fort Collins.

Honorable Mention: Harvey Wallbanger

Named by member Julie Sutter, Harvey is the unsung hero of Cohere. Between the tree seed pods, the cottonwood fluff and spilled coffee grounds, Harvey fires up at midnight each night and keeps our floor spotless. He also often gets trapped or stuck and we have to rescue him. It’s a labor of love though.

 

10 Must-Know Facts About Networking (And Why Coworking Does It Better)

networking and coworking

For freelancers and small business owners, networking is absolutely essential. Getting to know people–what they do and what they need–is the fastest way to build connections, and by extension your potential customer base.

The only problem traditional networking SUCKS. Business card exchanges, 5 second elevator speeches, feeling like you’re trapped at a used car salesman’s annual conference–all of this makes me want to gag.

Unfortunately, nothing is more effective at building your professional reputation and creating customers like face-to-face interaction. The good news is, thanks to a wealth of communication technologies, traditional networking events aren’t the only way to get to know someone.

The infographic below breaks down some interesting statistics about the impact of face-to-face networking, how the mobile workforce is changing the look of networking, and the types of situations that demand a handshake vs. those that can be accomplished over the phone or on a video chat.

But before you start scrolling through all that visual goodness, just remember: coworking is the ultimate networking event. Every time you come into Cohere, or visit another of the thousands of coworking spaces around the world, you’re expanding your collection of contacts, colleagues, and friends. Better yet, you’re not doing it in a contrived, forced, squint-at-their-nametag-and-pretend-to-be-interested kind of way. You’re doing it in a totally casual, genuine way.

Coworkers get to know each other as friends and office mates, with no hidden agendas. We ask about each other’s projects, clients, and experiences, and as we grow closer as community, there are often reasons to refer work or collaborate. It’s 21st century networking that’s effortless and efficient. And doesn’t make me want to gag. Wins all around.

Face to Face Networking
Source: GreatBusinessSchools.org

Did you like that? Here are more coworking resources that don’t suck.

Image via opensourceway

How To Keep Momentum After Startup Week Fort Collins

As Startup Week Fort Collins nears its epic end, let’s make a plan to keep the momentum into next week and beyond. Whether you got your first taste of coworking, got your mind blown by a musician or felt a much needed boost in motivation as a freelancer, it’s important to not let this enthusiasm dwindle.

Step 1: Outreach

Reach out to everyone in that pile of business cards you collected. Mention something that they said that really resonated with you. Invite them out for a coffee or beer just to talk and get to know one another better.  Ask to take a tour of their company. Mine through the Sched again and pull out company names or people you really enjoyed meeting. Follow them on twitter, like their Facebook pages and read their websites.

Step 2: Digest Your Notes

Did you take as many notes in your awesome FCSW17 notebook as I did? Now is the time to go back through all your notes. Check out the books, blogs or resources that you wrote down. Pull out action items and put them on your list to tackle next week. This post you’re reading right now was actually a footnote in my notebook. Look at me! Taking action!

Step 3: Participate OR Amplify

My key takeaway this week is a new awareness of how many people are doing AMAZING things in our community. Now is the time to participate in those activities by attending meetings or helping to push us forward as a group. If you can’t possibly take on another task, then please be an amplifier. Tell your friends and coworkers about the great progress that is being made. Awareness is the first step to Amazeness! Here are some things I learned about this week:

What are you going to take action on next week? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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

Unsolicited Advice for Displaced Galvanize Coworkers

So your coworking space is closing. That super sucks. You’re all entrepreneurs and self starters: problem solvers of the quickest kind. I’m hear to say to you STOP. Do not take action on a lease right now.

I’ve been working on coworking and community in Fort Collins and around the world since 2009. That’s three years before Galvanize incorporated for its first space. At the time of Galvanize’s closing, Cohere was/is on a wait list for membership. I think I’m worth listening to…at least when it comes to coworking in Fort Collins.

Please Hold

I was on hold with Comcast but I use this photo every time I want to indicate that I am exasperated.

Do not make decisions right now.

You’ve had a big crushing blow to your heads when it comes to office space. The great news is, you can office from literally anywhere these days. You could invite your employees into your living room and probably get in a solid day of work. A small gap in well-equipped office space is not a crisis. Spaceships won’t fall out of orbit. DO. NOT. MAKE. DECISIONS. RIGHT. NOW.

All the displaced coworkers need to take a collective deep breath and process what the fuck happened in your spaces and communities. Because you didn’t own the space, you might not understand why your space is closing. On paper, your space closed due to lack of money. In my mind, your space closed due to lack of community and an overzealous interpretation of the market research about how many people wanted to pay $26,000 to learn how to code. The fact that you didn’t know your space was closing until you got the announcement is proof that your space lacked one of the key values of coworking: transparency.

Do not sign a lease and especially don’t try to keep the Galvanize lease.

That Galvanize building will be one of THE most expensive buildings in Old Town. You don’t spend a few million on a renovation and thousand dollar desks to cut a great deal to the poor displaced members. That space has NOTHING to do with Galvanize’s success or failure. Okay, I’ll admit it was absurdly expensive but the space didn’t do much to foster community. At all. Don’t even get me started on the caste system of placing people on higher levels based on how much they could afford. Ugh.

If you love your current startup or business, you will hate being a Community Manager.

I bet you want to start your own coworking space. I bet that feels easy since you’ve been a member of one for a little while. Being a member of a space and running a space are really different. It took me TWO full time years to get Cohere off the ground. Even now, I have a small army of part time people to help me attend to all the details of our relatively small community. If you don’t want to abandon your other job, do NOT start a coworking space. Also, there is far less money in coworking than you might think.

Explore your existing coworking options first.

There are at least three shared spaces in Fort Collins that are not at capacity. Please give those a chance before trying to start your own. The Articulate, Digital Workshop Center, and Office Evolution. The fact that you were all in the same world (startup and tech) is actually a disservice to your companies. You’ll grow more when surrounded by people in different stages of growth including those people who have dialed in their businesses and are NOT in startup mode as well as the freelancers that are keeping everyone’s small businesses afloat.

cohere-member-wallHire me so you can have ^^ this many friends in your coworking space.

You don’t have to do this alone. I will encourage and teach you how to engage your budding community before you sign a lease so we don’t have to read about your closure in 18 months. Email me right away to get my $500 one-on-one consulting package. It even includes math worksheets and realistic member growth rates! There’s also another compelling reason to email me right now but it’s a secret until January 1.

 

 

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.

 

Tiny Coworking Spaces Around the World You’ve Never Heard Of

Every so often, the Cohere Coworking team deploys a set of bots (it’s just Angel) into the world (the coworking google group) to find the coworking communities you’ve likely never heard of. They are the ones you never see listed on the “Best Of” lists and the ones quietly doing amazing things in tiny towns or tiny spaces. We recognize you, tiny spaces. We salute your wee stature and appreciate you!

CoWorking Mullumbimby | Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia
This place is tiny by comparison to most – it will cap at 18. “I’m growing extremely slowly – in a small town/village so at the moment we only have 4 permanent members and the day/week guests. The coworkers were all strangers until we met here. They like it… because it’s a bit different. It was an old community hall converted into an artist’s residence with studio gallery and now a coworking space with 2 bnb rooms. So it’s still set up like a home with comfy lounge-work areas, full functioning kitchen and vege garden plus the large gallery-office area. It’s a coworking home-office away from home. We walk 3-minutes down a quiet dirt laneway into the centre of town… what else. We have a play room with a drum kit, PA and amps, guitars etc. and a punching bag.” -Kerry Gray

Bonus points from Cohere: hosting a yoga photo session with kids.
Mullumbimby

 

 

Valley.Works | Waitsfield, Vermont, USA
“Valley.Works opened on march 1st in central Vermont. My space is about 350 square feet but accommodates up to 9 members at a time with 2 printers and 2 permanent creative work stations. It was a challenge to make the space as productive as it is, the bookcases and couch are on wheels, and the desks can be re arranged into a conference table. We are brand new an membership is low but our small rural community of about 5,000 people is almost 50% telecommuter and has a large community of creative entrepreneurs and working artists, so I am hopeful that the Valley.Works membership will grow!” -Samantha www.valleyworksvt.org.

Bonus points from Cohere: trees in the view!!

Valley Works

Scribble Space | Windermere, Florida, USA
Our space is surrounded by dense rural apartments, townhomes and single family homes – lots of families so our space gets used for professional uses as well as kid, family and mom events and there’s even a farmer’s market now on our doorstep as well as vendors setup inside. We are adding a fresh coffee vendor inside at this week’s market. Our Facebook is full of photos and links to the events and the market – can find it easy searching for ScribbleSpace. :)

Bonus points from Cohere: discussion over catered lunch!

ScribbleSpace

 

Frontal Lobe | Howell, Michigan, USA

Frontal Lobe is Livingston County’s first coworking space and hosted their anniversary party in the alley. Also, I think this space is directly next to a Dairy Queen. WHUT?!

Bonus points from Cohere: This space reminds me of OG Cohere. Tiny, brick and a couple people hunched over a monitor. Good work Frontal Lobe!

Frontal Love

 

Shhared | Hamburg, Germany
If you’re ever in Hamburg, head over to Shhared. They have pictures of people on their website! You guys are crushing it.

Bonus points from Cohere: their website and Facebook page featured the most pictures of their members and people in their space. Good. Job.

Shhared

Coworking and Suicide: What the Spirograph Can Teach Us About Community

There are a thousand resources to learn how to be a community manager in a coworking space. But in all my six years of learning I never came across the chapter entitled, “How to handle the suicide of a member.” So I’ll write that chapter now and tell you how I was only able to put words to my feelings by using a Spirograph.

The Spirograph can teach us a lot about coworking, community, interaction and how we all weave an invisible net under people.

But first, let me tell you about Bill.

For the purposes of family privacy, I’ll name our member Bill. Bill came to Cohere in early 2014 to work on his freelance software project while attending school. He was always smiling, quick to chat and super excited about Cohere’s Pinball party. We all shared tacos at La Luz with Bill last May 24th. It was a really good night.

Bill stopped coming to Cohere and then in October emailed me to let me know he’d be cancelling b/c he had another office in town that required his presence more often. That’s a pretty typical scenario and set off exactly ZERO red flags for me. He told me he’d like to return in the spring. That would be now if he were still here.

My last email to him read, “Thanks for the note! It was good to see you the other night at ***. That’s neat that you have an office at ***! Congrats. I hope to see you in the summer.”

Earlier this week Bill’s wife messaged me to tell me that he had ended his long battle with depression in late January. I told her that he must have been in so much pain and was surprised that I didn’t notice. She told me that only two people in the world knew he was struggling. TWO people of the hundreds he interacted with over the past several years. Two. How could we not notice? How could we, as a community, have failed to spot the warning signs?

All I can say is that people with depression develop a helluva toolkit of coping mechanisms and mannerisms that defy their truth. It’s necessary. Society gets squeamish at the first hint of mental illness and it’s typically not a topic that will come up at the coffee pot, least of all at work.

So let’s remember Bill while we talk about the Spirograph. The Spirograph can teach us a lot about people, safety and coworking.

I borrowed this vintage set from Bryan and Maggie. Thanks, you two!

IMG_5723

To use the Spirograph, you have to pin down the primary ring onto a piece of cardboard using 4 pushpins. In the world of coworking, this ring is your coworking space. It’s the physical space, the container that holds all the neat things that happen every day. We can put your communication software in this container too. Your slack channel, your Facebook group, your Cobot, your Group Buzzio. The four pins become the holy quadrangle of coworking space amenities: wifi, coffee, electricity and redundant wifi. Those four things anchor a community to one physical space.

IMG_5722

Next come the plethora of little gear doodads. Those are your members. Each gear is a type of member and each gear has between 5 and 33 holes. Each hole makes the gear do something different and each hole is an emotion or behavior.

Next you need some pens. Not only does each member become a gear but they also each get their own unique color. Cohere would need 55 colors today. One for each member.

As you begin to rotate the pen in a gear, you’ll find that it’s actually quite hard. There’s a fair amount of concentration required. Here’s my first attempt. Yikes. That’s a little like being a new community manager. You try really hard but still fuck up at first. It’s normal.

IMG_5724

In my second attempt, everything becomes clear. With every color change, I change gears and holes and a unique pattern emerges. Each color and rotation of the gear makes loops that intersect with every other color that’s already there. Those intersections are the interactions between your members. See how many there are? Thousands, maybe even millions.

IMG_5725

At each intersection, we would hope our members are truly seeing one another, listening and helping each other. After only 3 colors, you’ll see how utterly complex the design is. That’s the web of safety that communities are striving to weave under one another. That web is made up of high fives, hugs, sharing, listening and laughter.

Who knows if Cohere could have held him if he’d stayed at Cohere for an extra 2.5 months. We’ll never get the chance to find out. So my fervent plea to you, out there in the world today tackling your to-do list and worrying about what’s for dinner is to SEE your fellow members. Ask and listen and hug and laugh and BE THERE. Weave a tight web among yourselves that is unbreakable even by the worst depression. If you have depression, fucking SHARE that with your community no matter how terrible it seems and hopeless you feel. Find 3 people to put on speed dial for the darkest of times.

Since announcing the death of Bill, we’ve had members come forward to share their own struggles with depression. That shit matters because we can tighten the net for them. We’ve opened the door to this oh-so-hard conversation and now we can build interactions around that.

Coworking, like the Spirograph is complicated, “It is possible to move several pieces in relation to each other…, but this requires concentration or even additional assistance from other artists.” -Wikipedia

Even the Spirograph, a child’s toy, admits you might need help from a friend to do the hard stuff.

Today we remember Bill. Today we have a Spirograph out for anyone to try but it’s okay to ask for help. We’re here for you. And here’s the National Number to call if you’re in crisis right now. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Hey Neighbor! Meet The Birdsong Katz Team

We’re resurrecting Featured Member posts. These Q&As let you peek behind the curtain of Cohere. Find out what makes our members tick and why, in a world (Fort Collins) of almost limitless work choices, they choose Cohere as their preferred shared office community. This motley crew resides in the former “Estrogen Den” on the lower level of Cohere.

Birdsong Katz Team 018

From left: David, Ryan, Stuart.

How long have you been in the neighborhood, and what brought you here? Why choose Cohere over any old office?

David: We have been at Cohere for 3 or 4 months.  We love the location and the more laid-back atmosphere.  The sight of cubicles make me nauseous. 

Ryan: I’ve been in Colorado for over 5 years. 1 year and a half of that in Denver. The rest of the time I’ve lived in Fort Collins. The mountains, progressive eco-mindset and the promise of new adventure brought me here. Cohere is so much better than a totally empty private office space and offers the benefits of synergy and people to visit with when you are going cross-eyed from staring at your computer screen. Plus doggie friendly :)

Stuart: I’ve been in Fort Collins for 6 years. Moved to escape the wind in Wyoming, although I do miss Wyoming. We chose Cohere because we liked the idea of sharing Peanut Butter (Crunchy of course), proximity to all of my vices Harbingers, Lucille’s, 415, Dam good Tacos'(I am fat now as the result of this) and of course Angel’s dry sense of Humor. Truthfully, we liked the flexible lease terms and overall idea of co working. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time being here. Editor’s note since Stuart is a Realtor and we’ve been over this before…this isn’t a lease. It’s a membership. Remember?!

What do you all do for work … and play?

David: We are real estate professionals that help people develop opportunities for themselves and their family’s.  For play, I can only speak for myself…. If I could ski or saltwater fly fish every day I would be “OK” with that.

Ryan: Work for Me = Executive Administrator – We can’t ALL be at Harbinger -So I handle overseeing file completion, marketing design & execution, business & marketing consultation, social media, research, managing web presence, creation of team systems and creatively thinking out-of-the-box for our clients. I truly enjoy properties, details and research. Real Estate is full of new obstacles and unique situations. I really enjoy complex problem solving and helping others. Play for Me = hiking, mountain biking, yoga, thrift shopping, painting and ceramics.  

Stuart: Full Time Parent and Real Estate Investor/ Broker. I love to Fly Fish, Ski and any activity in the outdoors that doesn’t involve Horses.

What makes this neighborhood unique?

David: The neighborhood is in walking distance to 3 of my favorite places to indulge. Lucile’s, Harbinger Coffee, & Damn Good Tacos.

Ryan: Super friendly people, “house” businesses that Colorado loves so much, the train running down the street, mix of businesses and homes with a focus on local privately owned businesses.

Stuart: Angel,… duh

What makes YOUR team unique? (hidden talents? odd habits? guilty pleasures? etc.)

David: Unique?  Have you met Stuart?

Ryan: Our team is unique in that we each have a valuable yet specific skill-set. We all really excel in our areas of expertise with little overlap and that has allowed for a natural, sustainable role-creation. We also have a similar sense of humor which never hurts a group dynamic. Dave and Stuart like to drive around in their matching trucks and talk smack to each other at traffic lights. They also have several “bro-mances” in the industry besides their total ‘old married business couple’ banter. Sometimes they have very differing opinions on things but that has created an environment where we don’t fear but embrace the progress of conflict. This is a necessity of a functional team. Dave and Stuart love to play- travel, ski, bike – etc. What makes our team unique is that they think that is just as important for me to go play and have that balance as well. Dave and I are both junkies for new industry and business techniques, ideas and approaches. Fun Facts: Dave has a strong weakness for chocolate and an affinity for electronics- destroying them upon touch. Stuart is a master at old man noises. Also, Stuart serenades me daily ;) Ask for a personal song – I’m sure he’d be happy to share his massive, massive talents.

Stuart: Dave and Ryan may be the loudest speakers in the building. Thankfully, we are in the basement. Ryan is a surprising Do-it-yourselfer; She can rebuild dishwashers, stoves and any electronic appliance you cannot figure out. In addition to that, she is an exceptional communicator(other than loud speaker) and makes our business run flawlessly, despite Dave and I’s obvious quirks. Dave, on the other hand, is not allowed anywhere near electronics (It will most likely combust in his presence). Truthfully, Dave is all about Self Motivation and Personal Development. He genuinely cares about the people he works with and has a 110% commitment to being a great Dad, Husband, and businessmen. Our team is awesome, despite me, and I am thankful to work with them every day.

Favorite neighborhood haunts (nearby restaurants, stores, businesses you frequent)?

David: See above.

Ryan: Flamingo Boutique and Find Of The Day – Told you i was thrifty ;)

Stuart: I go to Harbinger Coffee 6 days a week(and Thanks for the 10% discount) and Lucilles once a week with my Wife, Cassady, and Daughter, Stella, strictly for the weekly pancake special.

In your opinion, what makes a good neighbor?

David: There is some old book that says “help thy Neighbor” (or something like that)

Ryan: “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”
Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers (Just for you, Angel)

Courtesy and kindness are just as powerful as anger and alienation. We’re all in this environment for different reasons/purpose. The next Cohere member’s purpose/mission and mine are different- each day. My mission doesn’t really help their mission or vice versa. People could easily not be friendly because they don’t have a specific reason to (i.e. no negative consequences from HR, trouble from your boss, etc). Yet, in this environment we are helpful to each other- with no real benefit to ourselves. That to me, is what makes a good neighbor. No strings attached – no personal benefits up your sleeve – truly just being helpful and courteous to your fellow man.
Plus the consistent flow of donuts into this building may be related…

Stuart: A smile and a hello, when you see them.

What’s your favorite part of Cohere?

David: Angel…duh.

Ryan: The witty instructional notes, environmentally conscientious, random silly surveys on personal hygiene, dog friendly environment and the opportunity to connect with others.

Stuart: Everything.

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

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