Friday, April 18, 2008

Co-working

A recent NY Times article covered a new venture in New York City, In Good Company, a work space and consulting practice set up by two enterprising women: Amy Abrams and Adelaide Fives. Coffee shops in Des Moines have been packed lately; I had to wait for a parking space to open up the other day at Caribou Coffee, and they are not conducive to getting much work done; great for 1st meetings and catching up, but tricky for discussing proprietary stuff or focused conversation. IGC offers a better approach: rent some space and they'll give you the coffee. Instead of lattes and chai by the cup, IGC offers Internet access, phone service, and copier by the work space, with conference and meeting rooms available a la carte or on a subscription base. It's like a health-club membership for solo-preneurs, home-office escapees, and workers on the run who crave some adult interaction and an address away from home, but do not need a $600-$800 monthly nut. Amy and Adelaide designed a terrific space; they offer networking events, AND they provide consulting to their tenants, who are really more like members. Their deal is women-only. I really like the concept and think it will work here in Des Moines on a co-ed basis. I've scouted out a great space downtown. Is anybody interested? Annual memberships will be around $250-$300; monthly deals will be available ($300-$350 per with bundled access to work space and conference/meeting rooms); first come -first served and reserved space available for reasonable fees for other members. Mail drop-off and delivery; 24/7 secure access; kitchen/lounge; good coffee from a local shop; wi-fi; copier/fax; lots of energy. AND, small business consulting advice and coaching from me and a partner or two.

3 comments:

Sandy Renshaw said...

Terrific idea. I would like to hear more. Several of us talked about such a concept about a year ago but it never went anywhere. Maybe the time is right. It's getting very difficult to get into Caribou.

Alexander Grgurich said...

I love to see so much buzz about coworking. I'm also doing a coworking establishment downtown, could we talk sometime about our ventures? acg007@drake.edu

Tom Swartwood said...

Alexander: the key is critical mass; yes it could lead to capacity issues, but the challenge and the opportunity is to get enough members.