Brian Linder from Columbia Coworking, the new coworking community in South Carolina has been so kind to be interviewed while they are in the process of starting their space. I thought this would be a great opportunity to watch and ask questions of Brian as they work on launching their space. Let me encourage you to ask questions via the comments, and we will check in with Brian periodically to get a feeling for the process. I hope this can be helpful for others doing the same.
Workalicious: The common wisdom about starting up CoWorking is community first, space later. Yet as the CoWorking idea becomes more popular we're seeing more spaces start up without an already established community. What is the case with Columbia CoWorking?
Brian Linder: We contemplated going the "beta community" route, but there are so many mobile workers in this city we felt it made sense to go ahead and put ourselves out there. We're obviously pretty confident that a group will coalesce quickly once we're officially open for business. There are already some folks in our orbit, and as soon as we option a space we're going to start pre-selling memberships.
W: Who are the founders of Columbia Coworking?
BL: Columbia Coworking was founded by myself, Brian Linder, and Nick Kask, a brand manager/graphic designer friend of mine. Nick and I have worked together on a few projects and we really clicked creatively. I approached him about starting a coworking space here. We've both worked from home for some time. For me, it just became a real drag. And I think Nick wants the amenities of a legit workspace -- a conference room to meet with clients, etc.
W: CoWorking seemed to emerge among independent IT workers. Colombia CoWorking describes a more diverse community including writers and creative workers. Do you have any thoughts on how a more diverse community might change the spirit of collaboration and synergy that characterize many CoWorking communities?
BL: We're trying to establish a unique voice that will speak to the diverse mobile workforce in our city. Columbia is kind of like a mini-Austin in the sense that it's a college town with a creative vibe. But arts, design and media workers are often marginalized by the strong emphasis on achieving economic growth through fields like science and engineering. We want to reach out to those people -- and it makes sense for us to do so because those are the circles that Nick and I already run in. That said, I'm sure we'll attract our share of creative techies and knowledge-based workers. I think the mix will be a win for everyone.
W: How might it influence the type of space you are looking for?
BL: Our space search isn't being driven by practical concerns, as much as it is by our intuitive sense about places with the right creative energy. I think it's important for us to feel that out, and once we've identified the right space, further shape the concept around that. -- Thanks Brian and good luck with your space search. Any readers interested in joining Coloumbia Coworking can find more information at their web site: Columbia CoWorking
And Facebook users may want to follow them their for updates via your Facebook newsfeed: Columbia CoWorking on Facebook