By 2007, I had become completely immersed in the notion that “social media = marketing in the future”. Of course, I had no idea where it was all headed or how it would fit with traditional marketing, design, advertising, and PR.
I decided to open a working space where designers, bloggers, programmers, writers, filmmakers, etc. who shared the same vision for marketing’s future could collaborate and work on projects together. I had been reading about the new coworking concept and the launch of a space in San Francisco called Citizen Space.
Tara Hunt was the Citizen Space founder and I had been following her social media blog for some time. She described Citizen Space as a cafe-like community and collaboration space for developers and independents. “Coworking is about providing affordable, open, collaborative spaces for people as an alternative to working from home or from noisy coffee shops. It’s really tied to the nomadic worker who is part of a growing movement of people who don’t have traditional offices to go to, but want to work in an environment with other people. It’s like an artistic collective with a technology twist.”
KSL-TV Coverage Of CoworkUtah’s Opening
Cubicle adverse? Tired of working from home? The coworking concept appeals to many audiences for different reasons. There are entrepreneurs who like a non-traditional, community-style office space away from their homes—a place to meet similar-minded independents. Some people have been working from home but want to reclaim their basement or guest bedroom! Some people like working alone—but not all the time. Some people are drawn to the financial value—it’s much cheaper to share resources.
CoworkUtah provides a coworking environment that fosters and encourages collaboration on social media projects. Having said that, it’s important to note that we don’t have any agenda. If you love the concept of coworking, but you’re not affiliated with social media strategies, no problem! We have a number of people like that—fine artists, authors, etc. You’ll fit in great and love being here.
CoworkUtah is NOT another “corporate-rent-a-desk” concept. The originators of coworking came up with the following philosophy—a philosophy we’ve wholly adopted:
Collaboration: One of the great benefits of working in a coworking space is that you will meet all sorts of people with all sorts of knowledge.
Openness: We believe in transparency and openness. In a world where people are free, but ideas are not, only a few benefit. When ideas are free, everyone benefits. Therefore, we encourage open spaces and discussions.
Community: We thrive on connections and mutual support here. It is important that everyone give into as well as benefit from the strong (international) community coworking has become.
Accessibility: In order to be fully open, we must make the effort to be accessible to all. This means that we endeavor to create both a financially and a physically accessible space. We are committed to this principle and welcome feedback on how we can make it even more accessible.
Sustainability: Shared spaces are also better for the planet, so we like to take that a little further and make certain our space is environmentally responsible.
For all of these reasons, coworking is a concept where efficiency, synergy, functionality, and value meet to meet the needs of cubicle-adverse people who are tired of working from home.
KUER Public Radio Coverage Of CoworkUtah’s Opening
CouchCast Coverage Of CoworkUtah’s Opening
LISTEN TO COUCHCAST INTERVIEW >HERE
The Academy Of Social Media @ CoworkUtah
One of the outgrowths from the CoworkUtah experiment was the development of what we called The Academy of Social Media. There were a number of social media marketers with different skill sets working at CoworkUtah. The value premise for the academy was that we bring the best minds together… That doing so is part of the magic behind coworking—specialists in their niches that were passionate, nimble, responsive, available and affordable.
Early Twitter Expert Panel & First Tweetup
The CoworkUtah space became one of the earliest social media hubs in Utah. We sponsored many of Utah’s first Tweetups, and often put together forums and expert panels to discuss the growth and the future of social media marketing.
CoworkUtah helped create many relationships and served as a launching pad for many other ventures for those who participated. It began lending a small amount of credibility to the idea that social media would become a powerful, ubiquitous marketing force.
Financially, CoworkUtah was moderately successful but was plagued by a number of factors (many of which were related to its location) that led to its closure in 2010. By that time, Lava7 was up and running—consuming 100% of my bandwidth.