Disclaimer: I am stealing this quote from Fernando Mendes, founder of CoworkLisboa.
Fernando said this sentence as a response to the recent Time article titled “Why Coworking Is Hot“. I think it’s a very valid point. After all, something hyped is something fashionable. It’s something people do by imitating other people. It’s ephemeral – as temporary as the next hype will destroy the old one. It’s exactly the opposite of how coworking developed. Coworking spread because it was just right. Let me explain a bit.
We’ve been to MANY spaces at Copass. altogether, the team has visited more than 200 spaces. We’ve heard their stories, talked with their communities, felt their vibes. We’ve loved many of them and got friend with most of the coworking space founders we’ve met. When talking with managers, one thing you’ll hear almost all the time is:
“I started my space because I wanted to work this way and realised afterwards it was called coworking.”
This is an extremely interesting phenomenon. Unlike any fashion trends or hype stuff, coworking was born independently in many spaces on the planet at almost the same time. Most people did not start their spaces because they heard about the concept. They started it because they wanted it and realised afterwards that they were not the only ones.
I remembered exactly when we started to work with my brothers and our friend on our coworking space in Paris. I started to explain to my friends what I wanted to do, how could it would be to have those kind of workspaces. I was living in Berlin at the time and one day my friend mentioned Betahaus. I Googled it, read their website and realised that this was almost exactly what we wanted to build. This story is the story of many spaces out there.
Coworking is the concrete expression of a culture of openness, sharing and curiosity.
Coworking comes from a need and a will from thousands of independent people that were smart and connected enough to quickly identify themselves as part of the same movement. Because that’s exactly what coworking is: a movement. A natural evolution of work and of societies, supported by deep and long term trends: the development of information technology, the increased need for flexibility from both companies and individuals, the natural momentum from human beings to meet and mate that needed new horizons in societies that progressively destroyed traditional forms of communities…
More important, coworking is the concrete expression of a culture of openness, sharing and curiosity that was shaped online through forums, wikis, tutorials, creative commons, open source…
By connecting with each other, coworking spaces formed a community. They shared best practices and tips, allowing anybody to find inspiration and avoid the mistakes of the pioneers. By doing so, they quickly increased the quality and professionalisation of spaces and gained acknowledgment of the general public. Now, the movement is gaining momentum as more and more people hear about it. Coworking is here to stay.
So that’s just it: coworking is not hype, it is right.