Saturday, July 11, 2009

Birds of Feather Cowork Together

BSHINE, a YahooGroups, had a notice for a coworking date in Stuyvesant Heights (247 Stuyvesant Avenue) for Friday, July 10. Being it was close and in the 'community,' I was game. I wanted to meet the other black techies or artsy folks that needed a group environment to stay sane.

It featured yoga in the morning, a cooking demo in the afternoon and a talk about coworking at 3:30 PM. Since much of my work now consists of calling, visiting, snail-/emailing, the latter part of the day was working for me. I arrived after the coworking talk completed. I did meet Jonathan, the provider of the space--a wonderfully redone minimalist basement with three tables and two hammocks--and Todd Sundstend, co-author of I'm Outta Here.

It was Todd who led the conversation about where coworking is heading and he spoke to me about this particular location. He's been coworking for more than a year and a half. He reminded me that San Francisco's Brad Neuberg dreamed up coworking. Brad envisioned "a structured, balanced and sustainable lifestyle" where intelligent creatives worked outside the confines of cubicles but not holed up in their homes.

That's the attractive feature. I may spend hours on the phone, PC or riding public transportation and not make lasting contact with people. Vendors, online tech support reps, coders, etc. may relate to getting cramped by isolation or a blur of brief encounters. Coworking develops community through regular participation. A person may create the latest podcast show, craft jewelry or do a blueprint and then, take a break with other people.

Discipline is essential. There's a lot of socializing in coworking. The other side of the coin is still not being able to call it quits at a healthy hour. When asked whether coworking had folks turn off the PC or Mac by 5:30 PM, Todd said the issue didn't come up. It's a personal concern because I experience many days of turning on the PC at 9 AM; putting it to 'sleep' at 3 PM; and finally shutting down at 11 PM. Todd goes until 1 or 2 AM. He says there's 'coworking after hours' which mean there's some place open into the wee hours.

This isn't healthy. Don't people know that long term sleeplessness can bring on diabetes? Sleeplessness grouped with lack of sunlight and little activity is the ultimate diabetes cocktail.

Oh, about the Stuyvesant Heights coworking experience: Hush my mouth! This is the 'new Stuyvesant Heights.' I was the only person representing the 'hood. Yeah but, don't let that turn you away. Feel free to join in Fridays at Todd's place, the cellar at 247 Stuyvesant Avenue, Do or Die, baby.

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At July 13, 2009 at 5:14 PM , Blogger Brad Neuberg said...

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At January 1, 2010 at 7:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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