We get a choice in life: to do things the way we are expected to or to do things the way we believe they should be done.
You get to make this choice when building your coworking space and community.
For some, the market pressures of doing things like the big boys will cause them to focus on hip design and happy hours (don’t forget the Edison light bulbs), while others will relentlessly focus on building a tribe of people they love to work with.
You can be successful doing either, but I’m pretty sure you can only be happy when you build things the way you think they should be built. Unless you’re the type of person who loves serving out other people’s missions, building other people’s dreams, and doing other people’s work I can’t imagine how you’d find joy in doing what’s popular instead of what’s important to you.
Jenny Feinberg didn’t build Makespace because coworking was trendy and hip, she built it because she hated what coworking was turning into. “Hate” may be a strong word. I’m not sure she’d use it herself, but it was clear when we spoke that she wasn’t jazzed about the industry as she had once been. These days she’s in it to connect a group of disconnected people, make them feel at home, and get them to open up and share their audacious goals. I’ve witnessed it first hand, it’s amazing.
Makespace doesn’t have a fixed location; it’s mobile. This is because Jenny knows that the space doesn’t matter when people are actually there for connection and the tribe. She built it the way she wanted it, the way she knew other people wanted it, and didn’t care if it was popular or not.