If You Don’t Have These 7 Types of Members, Your Coworking Space Will Fail

It takes all kinds of people to make a coworking space go ’round. Does your coworking community have all SEVEN  types of critical members? If not, you better manifest them in a hurry!

  1. The Connector: Forget 7 degrees of separation. This person probably had lunch with Kevin Bacon yesterday. Your super connectors take pleasure in connecting two people together on a theme. The more bizarre or remote the connection, the greater the thrill for a connector. Question you are most likely to be asking a Connector, “do you know anyone who (jumps rope while singing, used to work at that one company that was over on Riverside?)…..??”
  2. The Attentive: This member knows a little bit about any topic. You’ll find them frequently scrolling social media platforms and reading a wide variety of headlines (they probably don’t read the actual article). That thing you mentioned about baby pigs in passing? She stored it for later use. An Attentive makes a wonderful community manager because she remembers all the small details about members (and who hates coconut on their donuts). Question you are most likely to be asking an Attentive, “Hey, do you know anything about LED bulbs/composting/SEO/best chocolate….?”2015-06-26 17.05.52-1 (1)
  3. The Sarcastic: The eyeroll and upside down face emojis are this member’s best friend. They are extra quick with the quips. Any new member who can survive a day coworking next to Mr. Sarcasm will be a member for life.
    Notable: The Sarcastic usually pairs well with a Counselor (if you’ve got one in your space).
  4. The Extrovert: You don’t need very many extroverts to make a coworking space work. In fact, I recommend a max of 3 and never in the same room at the same time unless you like to hear 3 people talking at the same time all day. Your Extroverts are perfect for social events and getting conversations started. Disclosure: I’m an extrovert and banned from our quiet coworking areas.
    Question you are most likely asking the Extrovert: invalid. They will ask YOU the questions.
  5. The Caretaker: Sometimes referred to as a “Work Spouse,” this person attends to the earthly tasks of the space. Taking out trash, changing lightbulbs and tightening door handles all come with the territory. Some Caretakers actually enjoy this (mindless) work as a way to take a break from the hardcore analysis/thinking of their day job.
    Statement the Caretaker is most often telling you, ”people aren’t washing their dishes again.”
  6. The Empath: It’s hard to find an empath that can actually function in a coworking space for long periods of time since they can be quite drained by being around a lot of people all day. If you are lucky enough to have an Empath, love them hard while they are there. The Empath will sooth nerves and validate the other members’ emotions. They’ll see your soul with merely a glance and are easy to talk to.
    Question the Empath is asking you: they will ask you about the thing you least want to talk about at that moment but you need to.
  7. The Catastrophizer: Arguably my favorite type of member, the sky is always falling. Changing a lightbulb? According to the Catastrophizer, you’ll probably drop it, it’ll shatter and we’ll all inhale some carcinogen. Launching a business? This is the member to buy a six pack for and let him run down all the ways you’ll be homeless by next Tuesday if you do anything. The Catastrophizer is great with safety checks, emergency plans and alerting someone when the toilet paper is low.

Do you have all seven types? What other types would you add?

2014-12-09 08.48.12

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.

Believe it or Not: Cohere Coworking is Now Valued at…

 

Tech SupportCohere, the Fort Collins, Colorado-based coworking space that specializes in being awesome, has just raised $0 million in a round of funding. The deal values the company at a whopping $.00000000000000000000001 billion, according to Founder, Angel Kwiatkowski.

It’s a decent price for what is essentially a sharing hub of friendship and unlimited coffee. But Cohere’s business model, which combines real people with each other, plays into the “sharing economy” trend that has captivated hardly any investors for itself in recent years.

In addition to its modest physical footprint, which includes 2 spaces in this one city with one more on the way, Cohere also recently debuted its own social network, called “turn around and talk to your neighbor in person.” It’s similar to LinkedIn, in that it’s a business networking site, but it’s not infuriating to use nor does it generate 27 emails every hour to its members.

As Angel Kwiatkowski, Cohere’s community manager, told a friend when Cohere launched, the goal was to accommodate all the people who fill up coffee shops and pajama pants at home. “We literally cannot make coffee fast enough,” she said. “I get the feeling that there is much larger demand for donuts and coffee in coworking spaces than we ever anticipated.”

Now, however, Cohere has more demand for more toilet paper. “We happen to need two-ply just like Uber happens to need cars, just like Airbnb happens to need apartments,” Cohere co-founder Angel Kwiatkowski told a concerned member.

But Cohere’s approach is not more or less risky than Uber’s or Airbnb’s. Unlike either of those companies, which essentially act as marketplaces for independent drivers and home owners, Cohere leases all the physical space, itself, and for now, that’s working out well for the company. Thanks to a marginally positive checking account balance, many of the members who occupy Cohere’s spaces are capable of paying for a monthly membership.

So it’s no wonder Cohere’s getting while the getting’s good. The question is: what happens when the coffee dries up or—dare we say it—the bubble bursts?

Tea. The answer is hot tea.

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

Non sequitwitter

An oldie but a goodie archived post…

Please enjoy a select few of my tweets.  You’d think that due to the volume, this was several weeks’ worth.  It’s not.  It’s just the last 14 days.  Apparently, my followers enjoy these types of tweets much more than the informational or educational ones.  #perhapsIshouldhavebeenacomedian.

@SMacready Latte to go: $4, Drive to Cohere: 50 cents, Spare underpants: $2, Having a hired wedgie giver on call: Priceless (@reusmith)

Waiting for @caligater to get to my desk (6 feet away) so we can get a snack.

Partied like it was 1985 with photos @coherellc http://bit.ly/bqSQza

coworkers are competing in a which word represents each letter of the alphabet in military @michaelclingan is winning @coherellc

@petechee smart phones…. that’s all we ever use, unless you count Skype. Then I guess it’s a world of smart phones and skype-like things.

Productivity dips by 300% due to Google Pacman interactive logo.

Impressed at how easily my hair went into a side ponytail for Old Town’s 80’s party today.

@juliesutter “childrens’ concerts aren’t a priority anymore..you know what is? Sewage.” -Leslie Gnope, Parks & Recreation.

@juliesutter Almost bought a cropped black vinyl jacket with grey sweatshirt hood. Yeah, it was pretty sweet..I mean rad.

@LaurieMacomber Does there HAVE to be a reason to have mass mustache hysteria?!

We’re doing Halo (the song) mitigation @coherellc this morning. We’re all plugged in and blasting different music.

Trololololo! @rockstar_ @juliesutter and @ecosphericblog are here and we’re admiring our new Tears for Fears poster @coherellc.

Successfully resisted offer of cupcake, tho I can feel it staring at the back of my neck.

You might be wondering about the donkey video on the Cohere youtube channel. That’s fine.

OH at an event this morning “Angel, I’m wearing a bathing suit under my clothes.”

@RedheadWriting Well, your “rat sputum” data is going to be off the charts tomorrow.

@juliesutter History channel investigating “glowing, flying, headless pig.” Maybe that keychain does unlock a parallel universe.

I can call them toll free….thanks Kleenex, b/c I worry about tolls so often on my cell phone

@CleverCubed Let me know if you need to borrow my slide rule#architectjokes

Feeling proud of this chicken icon thing I just invented (**>

Spent morning idolizing thought of having a backyard chicken, spent afternoon learning that chickens are kind of a pain in the ass

@mrembolt It was a nightmare, hair follicles felt all strained!

Tabs I have open: gmail, calendar, twitter, Cohere, Facebook, Pandora, Bit.ly and 5 minute hummus. Can anyone analyze that?

I have generalized excitement disorder today.

@DorseyPromotion I know…I like how you can just see Lindsay’s eyebrows.

New Product Dev @coherellc today. Adhesive pockets to attach (to bare skin or clothes) when you need a place to put your hands @alliebrosh

**special thanks to Cohere coworker, Julie Sutter, for the title of this post.  Brilliant.

When the going gets tough

This is how awkward I feel in a 1 on 1 yoga class

Ever show up for a yoga class just to find out that you’re the only student? Most people would be thrilled for a $7 one-on-one yoga session with an expert.  Not me. I like to blend my non-bendy body and jagged breaths  into a crowd. This is admittedly hard because at 6 feet tall I tend to quite literally stand out. There was no hiding my clumsy body from my yoga instructor and he apparently didn’t want to hide his from me in a 100% spandex outfit.

Instead of just proceeding with the class, he wanted to engage in a long conversation about what type of yoga I like, what positions I wanted to concentrate on etc, etc. Again, a lot of people would be thrilled about this situation but as he asked more and more questions in an attempt to accommodate me, I just kept thinking. “Crap. Now I’m not going to get a good workout.” The reason I knew I wouldn’t get a a good workout is because I would cop out on the tough poses and typical challenges that go along with a class filled with moderately experienced yogis.

When given the option of a difficult task or an easier task, I will almost always do what I perceive to be simpler or faster. I once took a personality test that told me that my main characteristic is “likes to save effort.” It’s absolutely true. I won’t go back even 4 aisles in the grocery store if I forget something. It’s too much effort; I’ll just do without. As you can imagine, exercise is difficult for me owing to the fact that the main characteristic of exercise is effort. This is a real problem for me.

So now I’m trapped with Mr. Spandex and he keeps giving me options like, “We could do Fish or Dancer or Blah-vanassana now. Would you like that?”

“No thanks,” I reply. The poor guy had to go through about 200 different poses before he found the 5 that I was willing to do. Then I asked if the class could be over early. He apologized profusely which I didn’t understand. I am clearly the one with the issue here. I actually had to use the, “it’s not you, it’s me” line on him.

You might be wondering where the nugget of business wisdom is in this TMI post. Me too…tune in next time for the answer.

Unmet Potential

I ran as fast as I could to get outside. It was sunny and inexplicably bright. What wonderful delights would the yard hold today? Would I climb a tree, turn on the sprinkler and run through it? Would I dig a hole?  A light breeze flicked the leaves on the big cottonwood tree. I watched it as I ran. I grabbed the corner of the kitchen island so I could whip around faster.

I woke up on the floor. My head hurt. Mom cleaned the sliding glass door to an invisible sheen again.

Unmet potential.

I could have done more. I could have made a bigger impact. I could have changed things/people/lives for the better. I feel this swelling inside my chest. It’s somewhere between the lump you get right before you cry and the kind of utter exploding happiness you feel when a puppy wriggles in your hand or you watch two baby bunnies squirm.

Possible but not yet actual.

What to do with the utter certainty that you didn’t get to go all the way with your plans, your passion, your inspiration, your life’s work? Were you cut off at the pass? Did someone beat you to it? Did you sabotage yourself?

I had this great job once. A perfect job, really. The kind that hundreds of people wanted and didn’t get. I got it. I planned on working there for 26 years. For 86 days I ran so fast I lapped myself. I ran at full speed while I looked so far in to the future at what *could* be that I didn’t see the obvious barriers right in front of me. Instead of running in to a door, it was shown to me.

Undeveloped excellence.

That’s what they call potential. Undeveloped excellence. I sure had a lot of potential in that job. Bursting with ideas, alive with passion and well regarded by most of my coworkers as “the best [insert job title] person I’ve ever had.” Too bad I didn’t have even a cursory idea how to implement my big ideas in a way that wouldn’t result in my swift termination.

Do it anyway.

So I started a company. My very own squirmy bunny that I could raise up right in the vision of my own potential. Now I’ve got the developed excellence and ALL . I . WANT is to go back to that dream company and set the record straight.

I’d step off their elevator in impossibly cute shoes and say in an impossibly articulate way, “I was great for your company. I had the vision, the passion to carry it out and a whole boatload of employees who STILL WANT what I have to offer. But I’m Cohere’s now so I can’t come back to you. Your sprinkler is on and I can’t run through it.”

And they’ll smile and weep and hug me and offer me some ridiculous compensation to just hear my thoughts.

It’s possible.

#funfriday

Time to wind down for the weekend with some hilarious Cohere and coworking shenanigans from the week.

Today has been all about link sharing.  Enjoy this snapshot of our irc chat between @_achiang, @rockstar, @sgillies and @coherellc

<achiang> http://i.imgur.com/UTSDN.jpg
<achiang> seang: rockstar ^^
<seang> … D’ALBA
<seang> barbera?
<seang> mmm
* Angelk doesn’t want to see rockstar dance
<achiang> awilliam: so, king weiner?
<awilliam> achiang: sure
<seang> yes
<awilliam> achiang: I’m leaving in a few, I’ll just meet you @cohere
<achiang> http://www.asofterworld.com/
<Angelk> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=832P-WWv0JM (trolololo guy with real sounds)
<achiang> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqxIZD4phJw&feature=related
<achiang> Angelk: hitler and balloon boy
<achiang> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM5Bpz9HA5k
<achiang> hitler ipad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lui0-4IW64
<achiang> wait, this is a better hitler ipad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHchZtRL40Y&feature=related
<achiang> HTFU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EY7lYRneHc
<achiang> yay, weiner quorum
<smallakin> I’m still looking at this frequently. http://i.imgur.com/MgxEY.jpg  love them

Additionally, Cohere welcomed many of our old Coherants back into the folds of coworking on Wednesday night.  There’s something about having @reusmith, @shirjoycreative, @kevin_u and @coherellc (the person) in #inappropriate corner that lends itself naturally to science + graphs + relationships.

We got on the topic of “levels of nerdery” and naturally we had to use some XY graphs to represent each of us.  Fossil fuel, mucus production, chocolate intake and keyword density were all found on at least one graph.  Enjoy these pictures of the results.

Coworking fits drug addiction criteria

Coworking has become a drug to me.  I love coworking so much that I think about it constantly. I found a list of drug addiction signs and I think coworking fits the bill.

  • Increase or decrease in appetite; changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain. (yes, we have all gained weight b/c of Kilwin’s/Walrus/Starry Night/Mary’s Cookies and then lost it doing group lunges on the way back to the office)
  • Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness. (yes, yes and yes especially when @imnickarmstrong is in the house)
  • Change in overall attitude / personality with no other identifiable cause (yep again, we all experience extreme happiness before, during and after coworking).
  • Changes in friends: new hang-outs, avoidance of old crowd, new friends are drug users.(nothing could be truer..we’re in new places, meeting new friends and we are all on coworking)
  • Change in activities; loss of interest in things that were important before.(yes, I have lost interest in a 9-5 job, crappy bosses and tedious meetings and structure for structure’s sake)
  • Skips or is late to work. (we don’t care if you’re late or miss a day but it has happened)
  • Unexplained silliness or giddiness. (I’m not even going to comment)
  • Change in personal grooming habits (yes, we usually get dressed to come to coworking whereas we normally work seminude or in pjs at home aka “pants optional”).
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia. (yes, we’re all packing laptops, travel mugs and smart phones…guilty as charged).

**in case it’s not obvious, I might have tinkered with the graphic, but for having ZERO graphics skills and using Microsoft Paint (I know!, <barf>) I think it looks pretty good.

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