Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

Jessica Clark almost gets Coworking

Wed, 10/03/2007 - 06:58 -- rprice

Jessica Clark recently wrote a web-only article for The American Prospect, "an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas" about our new friends at Independent's Hall called Coworkers of the World, Unite! She gets all of the factual information correct:

Co-working goes hand-in-hand with the volatile startup lifestyle, offering a haven between gigs and a spot to generate new projects and connections. The trend started in the capital of what business writer Daniel Pink has dubbed the "free agent nation" -- San Francisco. There, Chris Messina, 26, and Tara Hunt, 34, run Citizen Agency, a marketing and design firm that advises clients on how to develop brand communities, and Citizen Space, a co-working office.

Fine piece of journalism, really. I think this could help a newbie understand coworking. I disagree with the last 3 paragraphs. I left a comment, but it feels like I didn't think it all the way through.

Am I too whiny? I felt like a kid defending his Ninja Turtles:

How can you say "for Hunt and others, these new ties are just as valid as the old connections of blood, proximity and race." and then include these comments?

"no number of Facebook friendships will serve as a safety net if you go bankrupt"

"Incubate their startups so that they can cash in and move on to other projects."

You have a theoretical knowledge of what all these buzzwords mean - social interaction, barcamp, coworking - but would you have written that if you knew what it was like? The bonds you make because of these common goals are far stronger than those you make with an everyday working relationship. To quote Chris Heuer from an unconference this week, "Business is personal again". I won't hire anyone I wouldn't invite into my home, or go on a weekend camping trip with.

The people I've met because of my interest in coworking are getting invited to my wedding. I mean that.

She goes through several thousand words building up Coworking, BarCamp and other such geeky topics as new ways of holding a community together, and then accuses us of being hollow, shallow capitalists in the same breath.

Jessica, I charge you to go work at Indy Hall for a month and read your article to yourself; then we'll talk.


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