Coworking in Cincinnati

I had a good time at Cincinnati Social Media's Open Mic night.  Unfortunately, I only caught snippets here and there of the talks.  The audio in the venue was poor in general, and the people in the back of the room were interesting to talk to, so I spent a good deal of time doing that instead.  Apologies to the organizers.  But it was the first event of its kind around here and I think the next one will be better.  I think it should be in an auditorium-like setting as opposed to a bar, so that the audience is more captive. I know, why don't I organize it, right?

One speech in particular caught my eye: Beyond Free Agent Nation by Brian Lecount.  In it, he discusses the slow transformation of the American workforce. Some 18-month old data that he quoted stated:

  • 8.3 million independent contractors comprise 16% of American workforce.
  • 74 million 1099's were sent out (2008?)

It was a great talk and pointed out the many challenges of this newfound trend.  For example, many who make the leap to independence underestimate how much time is spent on administrative work. 

And then there is coworking, a trend that is sweeping the nation. According to Wikipedia:

Coworking is an emerging trend for a new pattern for working. Typically work-at-home professionals or independent contractors or people who travel frequently end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.

Brian had some strong opinions about coworking, in particular, how it was missing real business development.  Community is great and all, but how much value is that network really building?

In any case, if you haven't heard, I am involved in a coworking movement that has started in Cincinnati.  Go to the site and take the survey.  Coworking spaces are popping up all over the country.  In some cities, it's simply about renting desks, and that's okay.  But in other cities, it is having a real transformative effect on these cities in how people with ideas get together and make their cities better.  Hopefully, in Cincinnati, it will become the latter.


Bill said...

I think the solution to what ails our economy and to an even greater degree our country can best be found in community-based efforts.

Coworking, when "done right", is all about creating thriving communities of professionals with similar goals and needs feeding of the creative energy of that community.

I've worked in a smaller but similar environment for the past six months and can imagine the momentum a larger coworking community could provide local economies. I'm eager to see this movement take root in my community!

Foxydot said...

I am certainly intrigued by the concept. I have attempted to make a couple of the Jelly meetups, but it just hasn't worked out schedule wise.

I would like to see a real "coworking", I think I'd get some value out of a situation where collaboration is open and free. I'm not sure I'd find much value in renting a desk...but then I have a very well appointed lab.