Twin Cities Co-Working Conversation Re-Ignited

UPDATE 27 May 2009
New url for this effort:

Earlier this week, I had a fairly thorough conversation with a St. Paul-based serial entrepreneur exploring starting a co-working business.

I’ve been writing about the “co-working” / “work club” concept off and on for a while now (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Bonus) and there hasn’t been any blips on my radar for more than a year. So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him.

The notion of having access a low-cost office-y space with some of the amenities of ‘bigger’ offices is attractive. Unfortunately – like flying cars and carbon trading markets – there are a number of reasons why it hasn’t caught on. Some of those reasons are obvious (Herman Miller decor) others are less so (How is it different than Kopplin’s?).

In one of my earlier posts, I talked about these third places as transitional places.

“The third workplace is inherently a transitional place – a place to go until. Until the home office is renovated. Until the go-to-the-office habit is kicked.”

I predict 2009 and 2010 will be banner years for small business starts and a transitional space is exactly what these new entrepreneurs need.

If you’ve got interest in or experience with a temporary, shared office space, leave a comment or drop me a line.

12 thoughts on “Twin Cities Co-Working Conversation Re-Ignited

  1. I am interested. One of the appealing things to be about the co-working option is when I need to work with colleagues. Going to someone’s house just feels odd (maybe that’s just me) and having three or more people talk shop at a coffee shop is not always ideal.

    I like what Bucketworks is doing in Milwaukee and they seem to be having some success with a model that is centered not only on technologists but a place for creatives as well.

  2. You make some good points. For the majority of people, a co-working space will be transitional. For it to be a more permanent way of life, the space has to offer some benefits that can’t be had with a home office + coffee shop meets. Perhaps if a co-working space were somehow combined with a small-biz incubator? This is one of those concepts that I’d like to see come to fruition, even if I’m not the target audience.

  3. I’d love to explore this idear more, particularly in this crappy economy – co-ops/shared workspaces make a hell of a lot more sense. Plus creatives can’t be creative alone. This woulda made an awesome #unsummit session. Let’s start one now!

  4. I would have KILLED for something like this after Gus was born in ’04.

    There may be a perfect opportunity for a co-working space in the Banks Building, actually … if you want a hook-up let me know.

  5. I am a financial planner. However, I am buying a coffeeshop for my office.

    I can’t think of a more comfortable environment to talk tax and finance. Of course, some of the office logistics need to be worked out.

    But I like this concept, and would share it with other like minded professionals mainly in the service or consulting arenas.

  6. Co-working (and/or starting a co-working community) has also been on my mind for a long time. I would be super interested in talking with you about the potential to invest and/or help launch.

    I love working from home, and also find coffeeshops to be good breaks away from the domestic environment. However, if it were something where even medium-term interpersonal relationships were formed, it would fill a need that almost everyone has (including me) with offices. I like the idea of an incubator, although for good cross-pollination, it needs to have a lot of “transient” traffic as well. Even if the transients are return customers or consistent for a couple weeks.

    Kopplin’s (and Amore Coffee!) rocks, but as I alluded to above, they both lack some of the consistency and potential for relationships. Then there’s the endless struggle over electrical outlets 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for shining more light on this, ping me sometime – would love to continue the conversation.

  7. i live in cleveland.

    i would love to have cleveland make some progress like the twin cities have, especially in regionalism.

    also – it seems that minneapolis has an easier time hanging on to it’s youth and creative class. cleveland can learn a lot from your city.

  8. The idea of co-working has been floating around my head for a while. The Austin co-working community had a big presence at SXSW this year, which is what led me to Google it and find your recent blog post about the Twin Cities.

    I would be interested in this discussion, and think I might have some relevant experience to contribute. I have telecommuted to the Bay Area from Minneapolis for the past 5 years, but also, in 2006 I bootstrapped a local satellite office for a Silicon Valley tech startup. These days I spend most of my time working from home or from coffeeshops, but find that there is a gap in the utility that they each provide.

  9. Am finding after 8 years of consulting that virtual colleagues just aren’t enough–co-working has great appeal. Would like to stay in on the conversation…

  10. Hi Garrick,

    I’ve grown tired of receiving invitations and notices for events happening at other innovative hubs around the world, including Halifax, The Netherlands, London, Boston, and the like. Heck, even Columbus Ohio gets it. I’m also tired of waiting for someone else to bring the action here. I’m ready to work to make it happen myself. I’m launching on 8/31 and a co-working site (complete with affordable on-site daycare) is a BIG dream I’d like to make come true here in the Twin Cities. Not just for the physical work site but for the collaboration and innovation it would create. Social entrepreneurs in town need a place to gather & many non-profits would like to rent a space w/no overhead. Would love to talk to you about it.


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