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.”

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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

Shit I Never Thought I’d Have to Buy This Coworking Space

A surprise county tax form afforded me the opportunity to review every purchase I’ve made for the Cohere coworking spaces in the past 5 years. Some stuck out amid my former business plan list of what a coworking space needed (wifi, coffee, desks, chairs, power strips) In no particular order I present to you a cautionary listicle of shit you might have to buy for your coworking space:

12 Forks

A dual plug digital power cycler for Unifi Pro wifi access points

12 Forks

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Eleventy hundred packs of Command adhesives

The world’s secretly tiniest and least useful trash/recycling bin

Moon Gels

Chia Obama Handmade Decorative Planter, Determined Pose: Priceless

Preformed coin wrappers, 100 count, quarters (of which I have used exactly 8)

1 pack multi-color star stickers

3 Tripp Lite N201-020-GY Cat6 Gigabit Gray Snagless Molded Patch Cable RJ45M/M – 20 feet

4 Forks

TV Cart / Stand for LCD, LED, Plasma, Flat Panel TVs with 3″ Wheels, mobile fits 32″ to 50″: bomb proof

200 million Tripp Lite PS2408 Power Strip 120V 5-15R 8 Outlet 15ft Cord Vertical Metal 0URM

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Lite Brites: 2

12 More Forks

Recessed Door Reinforcer 1-3/4-Inch Thick by 2-3/8-Inch Backset 2-1/8-Inch Bore, Stainless Steel

Music Note Black Poly Resin Coated Tin Cookie Cutter 3.5″ for use in making Cohere Bandwiches obv.

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Polaroid High Capacity Replacement Battery For The Polaroid Instant Digital Camera

Portable Foldable Universal Mini Desk Table Stand Holder For iPad: code for world’s cheapest/most effective ipad standFullSizeRender_2

Congratulations (Gold) Award Seals Stickers – 4 stickers per sheet, 8 sheets: I wanted silver. Not gonna lie.

What weird things have you bought for your coworking space?

Tiny Coworking Spaces in Washington, Colorado and New York

Cohere was a tiny coworking space for many years before we became the VC-back multi-location titan that we are now in Fort Collins, Colorado (heavy sarcastic tone). Because of that we take special pride in sussing out the lesser-known tiny and rural coworking locations that you’ve probably never heard about in the New York Times, Entrepreneur or Fast Company publications. Today we’re going from NY to WA and stopping over in Colorado. The moral of the story: ALWAYS look for a coworking space even if you’re off the beaten path.

Carnation, Washington: Tolt Hive

Why Cohere loves them: they started their community in a barn.

tolthive

Tolt Hive is in the very beginning phases of building our community in Carnation, WA. Located in the heart of a beautiful agricultural valley about 25 miles east of Seattle, Carnation is a quaint town with a walkable neighborhood and numerous trails that lead to amazing views of the Cascades, rivers, and nearby farms just a short distance outside of town.

A small group of us began gathering twice per week in September of 2014 in a barn loft (no joke) in our little town of 2,000 people to test out the idea of coworking. I founded Tolt Hive in January of 2015 and have moved our gatherings to office space in the center of town. We are in the process of negotiating with the space owners to set up a more permanent arrangement at this location.

We currently get together on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m at the following address: 31957 E. Commercial Street, Carnation, WA, 98014. Readers can join our mailing list and get more info at www.tolthive.com.

Paonia, Colorado: The Hive Paonia

Why Cohere loves them: a Cohere member was traveling through and couldn’t wait to come back and tell us that there’s a coworking community of “hippie rafters on the western slope!” 

paonia

When The Hive was initially conceived in the spring of 2014, the plan was a far-reaching idealist concept with the intention of bringing the community together, attracting new and amazing people from far reaches, sharing resources and ideas, and collaborating on new ways to create a better future for our local community and the world. Because of overwhelming contributions from our members and the community, we’ve already succeeded , and at a reality-questioning speed!

Beacon, New York: Beahive

Why Cohere loves them: their loquacious description below.

beahive

Beahive has been around since 2009.  Many of our Beacon members are émigrés from NYC. They’re the kind of savvy, ambitious creative class habitués you find in cities, but since they’ve escaped the city for a small Hudson Valley river town famous for both its world-class museum Dia:Beacon and Pete Seeger, and galleries and cafes nestled between a mountain and the river, they’re a touch older (average: 30s and 40s vs 20s and 30s) with an admixture of individualistic and communitarian tendencies.

Cohere Coworking Stats, Figures and Growth in Fort Collins, CO

Ridiculously Productive Meetings

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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.

DIY Coworking Furniture: IKEA, Craigslist, Garage Sales

Furnishing a coworking space like Cohere in Fort Collins can be overwhelming and costly. It doesn’t have to be! I always furnish my coworking spaces with a mix of new, old and found products. This approach eliminates the threat of having a coworking space that reads like a showroom and instead gives your members lots of nooks and crannies to choose from and creates an eclectic vintage-y vibe.

So Alex Hillman doesn’t panic, here is a picture with people in it since all that follow will just be things–this is a post about furniture after all.

Cothere_Coworking

From Draft to Done Blog Group

Before anyone will sit down they want to know where the power is. These wall mountable heavy duty power strips are amazing. They are sturdy and have 8 outlets! Cohere uses one stripper per table.

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In a world where you can drop a grand on a wheely table I always opt for IKEA. Pair this top with these legs to get a table that comfortably seats 2 for $85.99. Wheels make our rooms configurable for events, yoga or plain ole coworking.

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The same goes for chairs. You can spend upwards of $500 or more if you want a fancy label on your chair and ventilation holes for your ass cheeks but we get lots of compliments on this $79.99 model from IKEA. Pro-tip: as cool as the light upholstery looks, avoid it. Denim will stain those chairs.

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If you need larger desks with storage, these are solid though they take FOR. FUCKING. EVER to assemble.

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Assign your most OCD member the joy of this task. $159.99 each.

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For softer seating, we enjoy a sofa at each of our locations. Cohere sports a fancier version of this, which was our most expensive purchase in 2010 at $299. Cothere has its cute little sister below which I picked up at a thrift store for $80. Yes, that’s brown velour and a lobster pillow.

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Cothere’s itty conference room has this sturdy IKEA table. With the legs the whole thing costs $79.00. The chairs are craigslist finds, brand new in some guy’s basement for $15 each. In the background you’ll see our big Apple TV ready flat screen for presentations and impromptu dance parties. It’s on wheels. Always put your tv on wheels.

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The beauty below came out of a garage sale for $25. I sanded, primed, then painted it my signature turquoise with a dark grey racing strip. Black spray paint on the legs took this table from scrappy to fabulous!

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This mid-century laminate table came from an estate sale for $75. I got the chairs reupholstered and re-studded for $175. The zebra print is an IKEA bargain at $39.99 for how large it is.

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We want to see your clever coworking furniture finds. Please share your photos or links in the comments!

7 MORE Terrific Coworking Spaces You’ve Never Heard Of

cowodoodlesMakers

Last year, in an attempt to highlight the diversity of the coworking movement, I posted a blog called “5 Terrific Coworking Spaces You’ve Never Heard Of.” The article featured small spaces in out of the way places…and it instantly became one of the most popular posts we’ve ever published on this blog.

That’s why we’re back with part two! Once again, we’ve focused on coworking communities in places that are NOT New York City or San Francisco. This time, we’ve also made an effort to highlight spaces that are doing more than just providing a place for people to work on laptops. The communities below are doing things differently: elevating and expanding the definition of a coworking space (not that we have one) by holding a place for makers, hackers and artists, in addition to those of us who create on a keyboard.

They also all have awesome names.

In addition to providing little-known spaces with a moment in the spotlight, I’d like this blog post to serve as my personal invitation to the owners and community managers of each: If you’re attending GCUC in Kansas City this May (and I hope you are!) let’s find a moment to meet and exchange stories. If you want to touch base in advance, you can reach me at @CohereLLC, on Cohere’s Facebook page, or by leaving a comment on this post.

7 MORE Terrific Coworking Spaces You’ve Never Heard Of

Meetupery Inc – Sussex, Wisconsin

meetupery inc coworking space

This is a community-operated workspace for creative people, freelancers, and those who enjoy technology, science, arts, math or electronics. It is part hackerspace, part co-op, and part community events center. Meetupery members are able to meet and discuss projects, explore technical endeavors, and communicate thoughts and work on projects individually or as a group. Check out the Meetupery on Facebook.

Free Range Office – Wicker Park/Bucktown Chicago

free range office coworking space

Called FREO for short, this space characterizes itself as the place “where library meets living room, with a dusting of coffee-shop mojo thrown in.” A convenient locations and lots of daylight aren’t the only thing this space has to offer: members also enjoy ergonomic chairs, an outdoor terrace, chef’s kitchen video blogging studio; laundry and dry cleaning delivery service; and even a weekly chair massage day to work out those knots. Check out Free Range Office on Facebook.

Opportunity Space – Austin, TX

Just when you think the Austin coworking market might be reaching saturation, Opportunity Space appears on the scene. Knowing that they can’t be everything to everyone, this community has positioned itself as Austin’s all-dedicated coworking space, meaning every desk is a permanent desk. This makes it the perfect place for small companies to set up shop–big monitors and all. Check out Opportunity Space on Facebook.

The Skillery – Nashville, TN

the skillery coworking space

One of the great things about coworking is how much you can learn from the people sitting next to you, whether it’s knitting or coding. The Skillery’s model is designed to elevate this benefit of coworking, with a big focus on peer-to-peer classes and workshops that help Nashville’s creative entrepreneurs with their business endeavors. Check out The Skillery on Facebook.

Reno Collective – Reno, NV

reno collective coworking space

This space is passionate about setting the stage for productive collaboration between members–at least one of whom is an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist. They call it cross-pollination which is a pretty perfect metaphor. Also they have swear words on the wall which means we automatically love them. Check out Reno Collective on Facebook.

Con Artist Collective – New York City, NY

conartist NYC coworking space

As we recently realized, artists and musicians are some of the world’s oldest freelancers. Although they use brushes and instruments instead of keyboards and software (and sometimes these too), they have many of the same needs as today’s mobile professionals. That’s why we love Con Artist Collective: an art collective with a gallery and shared workspace that started in early 2010.Members take advantage of the 4-color silk-screen press, light-table,photo studio, communal supplies, computers, and more. On top of this, members can sell their work through the Con Artist website, gallery, storefront, flea-market stands, and even international art fairs like Art Basel Miami. Check out Con Artist Collective on Facebook.

IC CoLab – Iowa City and Coralville, IA

icolab coworking spaces

IC CoLab is the brainchild of the non-profit Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD Group), proving that local government and traditional institutions are capable of grasping the essence of coworking: community and collaboration. “Encouraging economic development in emerging and existing businesses is critical to our area. Coworking spaces do this by providing contemporary workspaces that encourage collaboration,” states their website. We couldn’t agree more. Check out IC CoLab on Facebook.

5 Terrific Coworking Spaces You’ve Never Heard Of

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but coworking has been getting some serious attention from the mainstream media lately.

New York Times, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and many more have profiled, explored, and sung the praises of shared work spaces over the past few months. While this level of visibility is wonderful for the global coworking community, it’s a little lopsided.

Browse through these editorials and you’re likely to see the same, big, urban, successful spaces mentioned over and over. Not that we’re complaining, these headliners are forging the way, showing the potential of coworking spaces as incubators and successful business models.

But what about the opening acts? The out of the way spaces that exist in un-metro communities where no one would ever guess there were motivated solopreneurs or high tech startups desperate for a place to call their own. It’s the praises of these oft-overlooked hubs of collaboration and creativity that we want to sing.

So, without further ado, here are some smallish coworking spaces in places you never may have guessed. But should you find yourself off the beaten track and looking for some wifi and conversation, they’ll be waiting.

Alpha Loft – Portsmouth, New Hampshire

alpha loft

Overlooking the ridiculously quaint Market Square, Alpha Loft is a coworking space focused on serving high tech startups and creative entrepreneurs.

Why we picked them: Facebook pictures showed craft beer, bikes on shelves, and Star Wars robot decals on the walls. Clearly kindred spirits.

ThincSavannah – Savannah, Georgia

thinc savannah

ThincSavannah is this gorgeous Southern city’s first coworking place, overlooking the newly renovated Ellis Square. Opened in 2010, the space serves freelancers, mobile workers and entrepreneurs, and offers both flex-space and dedicated offices.

Why we picked them: We assume they have awesome accents. Bright art on the walls and really cool tables we’d like to examine more closely. Also, they were integral in breathing new life into a downtown building that had been vacant for two years.

ZenBungalow – Hopkington, Massachusetts

zen bungalow

The ZENBungalow is tucked away in Hopkington, MA, a sleepy down of around 14,000. The founder of this space is passionate about supporting local businesses and cultivating the connections they need to survive.

Why we picked them: They have a zen water garden, and at night the space comes alive with workshops, yoga classes and cultural events.

The Shop – Helena, Montana

the shop helena

The Shop is a coworking space in downtown Helena, Montana. It’s a communal workspace geared towards freelancers, consultants, and independent workers that just opened in March of this year. There aren’t a lot of people with the balls to live in Helena, so we’re stoked that there was someone brave enough to open a coworking space.

Why we picked them: They kind of live in Colorado’s attic, so we’re showing some mountain love. Also, there was a picture of some sort of a concert happening there, and we’ve kind of got a thing for bands.

The Docking Station – Green Bay, Wisconsin

docking station

The Docking Station is Green Bay’s first coworking office space for entrepreneurs, knowledge workers and collaborative types looking for a great place to work in a great city.

Why we picked them: Great name. Super active blog. Thingies that look like our logo on the wall.

Our blog is pretty awesome.
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