“Maximizing Synergy and Backward Revenue Streams”

The Cohere Coworking Community is a verbal group. We enjoy a good conversation about words. Let’s discuss one.

Synergy might be the most overused word right now behind the recently revived “D*****bag.”  I get annoyed with the word synergy because people use it for everything.  “I’m going to synergize my workout by adding weights.”  “Let’s get some synergy going at lunch today.”  “That D-bag totally ruined the synergy we talked about.”  None of these phrases makes any sense.

What is synergy?

Screw the dictionary.com and wikipedia definitions and let’s get back to an example that we can relate to.  The best use of synergy is when the ghostbusters cross the streams of their proton packs to destroy Gozer.  Initially, the ghostbusters thought that crossing streams would be detrimental.  Similarly, many business people shy away from joining networking groups where other people in their same profession are members.  This is lame and a totally unrealistic and unproductive way to approach business.  Don’t avoid crossing streams with people in the same field as you.  Who knows, if you cross streams with similar people, you’ll be able to destroy a demon from a parallel universe.  Don’t discount the magic that can happen through co-opetition.

The intersection of ideas and passion between like minded people is where the true synergy happens.  Synergy: working with others to achieve more together than you could alone.

Please give some critical thought to the word synergy and let’s clean it up a bit so that it can get its meaning back.


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.

What “type” of people cowork at Cohere?

This post is inspired by a new coworker in the Loveland group named Dusty.  He found out about coworking through a flier in a coffee shop.  He said that when he saw the flier, he immediately thought, “Yes!  THESE are my people!  This is the tribe I’ve been looking for!” Dusty worked one day with us in Loveland and after 4 hours proclaimed, “I’m in.  Whatever you need me to do to help, I’m there.”

Not everyone feels as comfortable as Dusty to just show up to a new place filled with strangers.  You might have some reservations about coming in for the first time so I thought I’d take a moment to describe, in more detail, who we are. If you can identify with at least one thing on this list, we’re a match made in coworking heaven.

Members list their values for coworking and Cohere

Cohere is made up of what the coworking movement calls “like-minded people.”  At first glance, like-minded seems a little cultish and you might even believe that we all think alike, have the same opinions and are basically clones of one another.  Nothing could be further from reality.  Our diverse opinions is what keeps the conversation flowing and lively. None of us think exactly alike.  That would be boring! When we say “like-minded” we are talking about our values as independent workers.  The basic values we hold in the space are:

  • Being Part of a Community
  • Freedom to Collaborate and ask for/give Help.
  • Productivity balanced with Social Time
  • Giving and Getting Inspiration
  • Forming Deeper Relationships

If those values appeal to you, read on to see how our interests overlap.  After collecting over 20 members and spending countless hours together, I’ve noticed some trends in member behaviors and preferences.

Most members:

  • Make a conscious decision to work together instead of alone and have been willing to abandon home offices and the coffee shop circuit to be at Cohere.
  • Believe that they get much more value out of membership than just a physical space to do work.
  • Exhibit happy, helpful attitudes in life and at Cohere.  Members are happy to offer up their expertise when another member hits a roadblock or gets jammed up in the creative process. They are also resilient and hard working.
  • Are willing to collaborate on projects and make useful introductions to key people in the community to grow social networks.
  • Have quirky or off beat senses of humor. We all have our own particular comedic style and we’re all embraced just as we are.  If you’ve ever read our twitter stream, this should be apparent!
  • "like-minded" ladies sport matching Bike to Work tees; locally designed by Akinz.com

    Participate in physical activities like going for walks, ultimate frisbee, softball, running, spinning, climbing, yoga or individual activities.

  • Enjoy eating, growing and/or learning about natural or organic foods.  Many members enjoy shares of community supported agriculture, have gardens of their own or support the local economy by shopping at farmers’ markets and buying/eating local foods.
  • Like animals.  Most members have pets ranging from dogs and cats to bunnies, horses and fish.
  • Are technically diverse.  Members are nearly evenly split PC and MAC and run both Linux and Windows based systems.  Some use social media a lot, others not at all. Some are “power users” and others just use computers as a means to get their jobs done.

If any of these resonate with you, try out a Free Day Pass. I won’t spam your email or force you to join.  I won’t even ask you to make a decision about membership while you’re here.  Just come check it out.  All we ask is that you come with an open mind and get some work done or meet a new friend.

Cohere Members–what other characteristics have you noticed?

4 word resumes

Inspired by an event which I can no longer remember, I launched a “create your 4 word resume” contest and received the following entries.  I have decided that the 4 word resume should take over the traditional resume.  It takes a good chunk of time to write only 4 words that sum up who you are as a person and if my experience in HR has taught me anything, that’s all the HR folks are reading anyway.  Read on to see the winner.

Graphic & Clothing Designer: Imagination Vendor

Stay at home mom: Skilled incubator

Unknown: I care

Writer: Writes well for money

Game developer: I am a Ninja

Unknown: Jill of all trades

Trainer: Passionate about Singapore Math

Art Advocate: I teach sustainable creativity

Community Platform Builder: I know my gifts

Writer: Creates content, changes world

Marketing Strategist: Strategic Marketing Trail Guide

Videographer: Telling Creative Visual Stories

Programmer: Computer plumber, mirth maker

Programmer: Will work for comics

Web Dev: I am a Drupalista

After a quick vote yesterday during Free Coworking Day, a clear winner emerged: Creates content, changes world.  Congratulations to veteran Coherian and writer, Beth @gonecoworking who just won an Explorer pass for the month.  This will be Beth’s last month at Cohere before she launches her year long travels across the USA as a truly location independent freelancer!

On Listening

As the community “manager” of Cohere, it’s important that I take in lots and lots of information daily. I have to listen to all of the social media channels, inquiries from prospective members, my vendors, my landlord, friends, family, well-wishers and so on. While all of those sources give me valuable data to work with, current members of Cohere get my full attention and top priority when they have something to say.

When the Cohere members need something, they all seem to need it within about 32 hours of one another. Example, Julie asked me if we could have a venue to share our specialties/passions with each other. Then Paul walked up and asked if I could organize something where the members could come together to teach and learn from each other. Then I got an email from Skippy asking if we could all get together as a group regularly. I’d have to be an idiot to ignore this kind of collective brain trust.

So I implemented it, the same day, within an hour of the request. We went to Stuft as a group and Julie got to share with us how she came to be a freelancer, what her favorite projects are and who her ideal client is. Listening to Julie was inspiring for all.  I think we all took a little slice of her passion with us and now every Friday, we get together as a group to listen, share and learn from each other.

Flock Together at Cohere: Member Post

Please enjoy Cohere Member Skippy’s thoughts about working at Cohere.  Here is a snippet…

At Cohere I am surrounded by people with high standards. People who achieve and create. People who seek out new limits to push and new rules to break.

These people are entrepreneurs, writers, programmers, copy writers, technical wizards, marketing masters and more. They freelance and create and come up with brilliant ideas almost daily. By associating with them there can only be two outcomes.

The Cohere Flock can lower their standards. Not likely.

I can raise mine. More probable.

Not only does who you flock with influence your standards; your flock also holds you accountable. Your flock will hold you accountable for your actions and call you on your standards. You might say to me “my flock doesn’t hold me to anything or call me on anything” and you might be right. But the absence of standards is still a standard. A low standard, but it’s a standard. A total lack of accountability is simply the lowest form of accountability…Full post

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