I remember well the meetup at the uber trendy San Jose Hotel before SXSW in 2009. I met a whole bunch of operators from around the world and thought – what a bunch of suckers. They were willing to tell me all their secrets. They were willing to send me their business plans. I thought to myself… this is FANTASTIC, I’m the only the shark in the tank. It took about one month before I was schooled on new way of conducting business and I was hooked.
I came from corporate America where I was taught to be paranoid and untrusting and certainly NEVER share you secret sauce. Guard it with you life! I didn’t understand why people were simply giving it away.
Fast forward to a year later and I was attending a half day “Coworking Unconference” by the now long gone Loosecubes. I met more people into Coworking from all over the world. It was amazing, inspiring and a blast. I was asked to participate in a focus group with Steve King of Emergent Research and he shared one of my favorite coworking quotes in the world that still holds true today.
“You can’t build them fast enough for the demand coming your way”
You see some of the Coworking pioneers were concerned about competition. In that year there were probably around 500 Coworking spaces in the world. Today there are over 11,000. In Austin in 2010 there were 4 Coworking spaces, today there are over 55. I recently circled back with Steve and asked if he still felt that was true and we agreed it is.
This industry has taught me how to collaborate versus compete. This industry has allowed me to travel the world and spread coworking, collaboration and inspiration with me through GCUC (the worlds largest coworking conference series that I founded after the operators from Loosecubes asked me to carry on.) This industry has made my world very small and intimate because I know I can go to any city and find my people coworking. This industry has given me life long friends who care deeply about me.
You want to know why I do GCUC? Because I could never ever repay all this movement has given me. GCUC is my love letter to you. I want you to experience the connections, the support, the travel, the serendipity and yes the LOVE you find amongst us. Sorry for the sap but it comes from the heart.
Happy Valentines Day.