Cohere Bandwidth: People Before Place

Field of Dreams

No Place <<<— here is your local song of the week by The Holler!

Unless you like baseball and see ghosts and live on a farm you are unlikely to find success building a collaborative shared space without a robust community in place. I see coworking spaces struggle when they believe that, “if you build it, they will come.” A better matra for fledgling community efforts would be, “we will build it as we grow (and we don’t really need a physical space right now or ever).”

Removing your attachment to finding a physical space is really, really hard. We’re conditioned to look for A PLACE for ourselves at every turn: your first bedroom, treehouse, dorm room, first apartment, house, office building, coffee shop. People like containers that house things. It’s natural but hella hard to remember when we get a call about every 6 hours from somebody claiming that they’ve been wanting to start a shared rehearsal space and already have a building etc etc.

We could easily fall in to the trap of finding a “great” space that works for US (us being Julie, Ian and me) but as Julie constantly reminds us, “are we putting the musicians first?” Afterall, the space isn’t about US, it’s about THEM and until THEY tell US what THEY need, we have no business looking at buildings for THEM, WITHOUT THEM. I’ll stop shouting at you now. If you want more detail on this please buy the ebook I co-authored about the importance of people before place.

Here are the other less philosophical things that happened this week.

  • We continue survey deployment and have already exceeded our goal of 50 respondants! Woohoo. This means we can start analysis sooner than we thought.
  • Focus group planning is in the works. Ian is gathering email addresses and checking dates/times.
  • We need 10 pizza/beer sponsors to keep everyone lively at the focus groups. If you feel inspired by this project and can spare $20 please email Angel at
  • Julie and I haven’t had our zany weekly chat yet but we have pancakes tomorrow so I’ll let you know if any hilarity ensues.

Bookmark this link to see all the Cohere Bandwidth updates together.

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Cohere Bandwidth: Widely Announced, Lovingly Received

Cohere Bandwidth Love

Telling you everything is a lot of work–but worth it. Here’s what has happened this week. Catch up with last week’s post.

Last Wednesday Julie invited me to a meeting that the Coloradoan hosted at Avo’s to see how they could further support the local music scene. A few of the attendees were Stacy Nick, the entertainment writer for the Coloradoan, Merry from Bohemian (music events), Andrew from KRFC, Alana from Fierce Bad Rabbit, Dani with Spokesbuzz and Hans Mueller with FOCOMx. There were other attendees, don’t feel sad that I’ve not mentioned you.

I went merely to listen and see what was going on in the music scene because I already admitted that it’s a community that I don’t know at all. Throwing caution to the wind, I announced our plans to work on Cohere Bandwidth as a shared rehearsal space in Fort Collins.

Stacy requested to interview me about Cohere Bandwidth the following day, which I did, which was fun. She is nice and lovely. Meanwhile, I filled Julie in and then Julie and Ian (of Wire Faces and our helpful intern) also contributed to the story.

ALSO meanwhile, Julie and I had a late night google chat to tidy up the survey to distribute to musicians on their current reality and desires. Here are a few excerpts of our chat. We couldn’t publish the chat in its entirety because there was ALOT of swearing. ALOT. I did leave some swears in here for you. To show that even smart articulate women swear in the safety of one another’s online presence even when both parties are aware the the chat will likely be published in a blog post.

9:35 PM
me: herd. I can’t believe I’m working right now. Usually I’m watching netflix at this hour.
me: I think that Ian is going to incorrectly think that I’m some kind of shit kicker badass!
9:38 PM
Julie: Ian’s mind is getting blown this semester; he just didn’t realize how much.

Also: you are a shit kicker badass

me: I feel deeply that i need cowgirl boots. Also, I’m getting hung up on the age collection question. surveymonkey is not helpful.
9:40 PM
Julie: You don’t have cowgirl boots? That’s a travesty. If this thing fucking works, I am making it my mission to buy you cowgirl boots as a opening day bonus. You can kick the fucking front door in at christening time.

me: gently as I will have paid out the nose for that door.

Julie: :)

9:41 PM
me: Go in there and look at the age one. It’s going to be way time consuming to type all the dates in if we want it that granular. What if we just ask them how old they are? and they type it in? It’ll be slightly harder to analyze but I might be okay with that.

Julie: I just wanted a “select your birthdate” spinner … but age type-in is same thing, really
9:42 PM
me: there isn’t a spinner that I could find. that would be helpful

Julie: What the fuck is wrong with those people and their FREE TOOL. Assholes.

me: ah success. found the turquoise theme colors

Julie: Yes!

me: I was SO worried.

9:58 PM
Julie: Do we need to tell them in the intro who “we” are or leave that to the emails/social media postings/etc.

me: We have room for 3 more questions. Good point–that might be helpful. Then they’ll know we’re not strangers. Well, you’re not a stranger. I probably am. yes, add it.

Julie: OK.

Later, possibly the same night or early the next morning Julie sent this little wonder email to me. Any entrepreneur needs emotional fuel to keep them going and Julie provides it.


Huff Post today. Naturally. With collaboration listed among the greatest strengths in the female brain.

The Estrogen Den is the new Bat Cave.” -Julie

The Coloradoan story ran Friday night online and last Saturday in print. Stacy, if you’re reading this I want to make sure that you know how absolutely lovely and well-written this story is. Never has the Coloradoan so accurately captured the spirit of one of my projects. Love. Love. Love. BAND MEMBERS: TAKE THE SURVEY PLEASE! <—-deadline is May 1st.

Within moments of the story going online, I got a phone call from Pho-Co, a local collaborative arts and recording studio and they want to talk with Julie and I about–you guessed it, collaboration. We met on Tuesday. They were really fun and we like them A LOT and their project is going to be amazing. Watch out Linden Street! THEN, I got a facebook message from Kirk Alberts offering to help out with graphic design and from Carson Block, just offering to help. Everyone has been put to work distributing the survey. Also, my friends Andrea, Kristin, Don and Christi posted nice words about the project and most importantly, my mom thinks it’s cool.

I would also field calls from Jody who has an empty building and Mike Sherry who is already on the runway with his project to bring a shared rehearsal space to south Fort Collins. Stay tuned for more on that.

In the spirit of musicality, I tasked Julie and Ian with finding a music selection for each blog post that matches the spirit of our efforts each week. I told them the theme this week is LOVE and here is your appropriately matched song by Justin Roth WITH bonus love scene footage. As you watch the video please keep this metaphor in  mind: as I have already admitted, I have no connections with the music scene in Fort Collins. The music scene seems hot and sexy to me. In this video, I AM THE BLIND GUY. Musicians, YOU are the hotty in the black lacy underwear. You will have to help me find the bed and pretty much lay right on top of me so I can find you in “the dark” but make sure you are wearing a lot of bronzer so I can smell you. Until next week.

Justin Roth

image credit: danielle scott


Cohere Bandwidth: Shared Rehearsal Space for Musicians–Or Not


I’m not even sure where to begin with this post. So I’ll just dive right in and hope that you can hang on to me as I plummet in to the depths of this announcement.

I’ve been dabbling with the idea of opening another Cohere location for over a year. We started and stopped, almost found what we needed and then my gut told me to bail late last year. It was a painful thing to let go but I knew I should wait for the next great idea to “pop.”

Last December, this POPPED.

Naturally, I would stay awake at night tossing this story around in my head-alternating between the excitement of feeling that I could contribute to the problem (lack of safe shared rehearsal space) and terror (lack of ANY knowledge of the local band scene).

Luckily, one of Cohere’s tenured members and one of my dearest friends Julie Sutter happens to know EVERYTHING about the local band scene and she GETS coworking and ME <

I broke the news to her over a pancake breakfast that I wanted to work on shared rehearsal space. She was instantly on her phone texting her music friends and getting traction for the idea. I hadn’t even swallowed my bite of food.

I’ll stop to interject that Julie has been involved with Spokesbuzz since it started helping local bands get national attention and Spokesbuzz just happens to have their world headquarters at Cohere.

The above announcement is all fine and well. New coworking spaces and their communities get announced like every 2.4 seconds these days. Nothing really fancy there. What IS fancy is that I’m going to tell you EVERYTHING about the process of building a new community AS IT HAPPENS. Yes, Beth and I wrote a couple of coworking ebooks for you about starting coworking communities but that was done AFTER we had gone through it. It’s one thing to remember how you did it and edit it down and make it consumable. It’s another thing to bring you along on the journey in real time where you can really see how complex and often joyous and painful it can be. The number one question people always ask us veterans of the coworking scene is, “how do you create community?” Well, my dear ones, watch for these blog posts to come on Fridays. Not every Friday mind you, I’m not a superhero. I’ll tell you pretty much everything that happened each week or two that will move us closer to or further away from our goal of creating a shared space and community for musicians in Fort Collins.

I say “closer to or further away from our goal” because there are 7 gabillion variables and my gut intuition that will let us know if we’re on the right path or if Cohere Bandwidth will never come to fruition. The fun part is the process. I hope you’ll join us no matter the outcome and learn something along the way.

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