A Coworking Space. A Thing I Tried.

August 16th 2019

Before we dive in, I want you to know I've been to only one event at a wework space. I went with trepidation, and I went only because Dominic Tarr would be beamed in via video conference. At that point I was still in the ssbc (I chose to bow out of the consortium shortly after that engagement). One thing I remembered from the space is how vacant it seemed. And, how weird I found it to have to get a man to open a door to let me access the area where the bathroom was located. I legit wondered if I'd have to bang on the door to get out of the bathroom area. That event was at a wework operated building in Chicago.

Skimmed the we aka wework IPO filing.

I tried to do what this company called we, formerly called wework, is about to IPO for.

Let's start with the basics.

I was one of less than ten women founders (of +/- seventy people present) at the first Startup Weekend.

It was an action-packed weekend. I bounced from team to team, and contributed to each segment of the room, including frontend design, marketing and backend dev, though backend was the weakest of the three for me. I also took it upon myself to teach the group basic yoga postures on the hour every hour, for about seven minutes. My house had burned down not all that long before the event. I was living on someone's couch at the time. I was big into figuring out a way to serve the community. I did not care about how much money I made serving the community. And maybe that was my problem. I was not trying to get a big payout.

I say was my problem. It could be it still is my problem. Hm.

Anyway, one of the people at the event was a venture capitalist. One of his buddies is or anyway at the time was, a venture capitalist. Somewhere in this timeframe I pitched one of the VCs on a coworking space. I pitched at his office. The idea was people could pay to come into the space, use it to host things like SW and conferences (such as the one I threw a few years after the first SW) and there'd be yoga on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Also, lots of plants. That was very important to me. I wanted it to be a living, breathing space.

I think the VC listened to me pitch the idea for about thirty minutes. This was really going to be big, I remember saying. I would start small and get a good team going. I would pull nights and weekends to make it work. It would maybe make some money, perhaps he could help me out with that part of the plan.

I remember him flat-out saying it wouldn't work. His firm was looking for promising tech startups. This pitch did not qualify. To him, it was a lifestyle business, not a tech business.

I walked away bummed. Being told your idea isn't going to work is pretty lame.

But you know what? I tried it anyway. I paid rent on a little space. I did some consulting work from it. I flew to other states and taught/spoke on tech. I was just: I'll do it anyway! Prove that I can!

Thing is, even though I'd taught myself HTML/CSS while in Japan, I still could not say I really knew tech.

Truly, until you can write a function from scratch, are you a programmer?

(If I had to admit to you how long it took me to learn to write functions...well, let's just say longer than I wanted it to take.) (No, really. But once you finally get it, you cannot unget it.)

(While we're talking about functions. It's back to school season here in the States. If you are in tech or care about the tech world at all, learn how to write a function. If you already know how to write a function, teach someone, please. Thanks.)

A function:

function hippo (x, y){
  return (x * y)
console.log(hippo(3, 2))

Back to the question at hand.

Here's what I took away from the we docs. The company perceives itself to be a space as a service company.

They might be saying they're a tech company. But space as a service is not a technology.

Also, you're occupying space on planet Earth no matter where you're sitting or standing or lying down right now. Does not mean you have a tech company on your hands.

Putting a price on space, which is a word mentioned 178 times in the filing, leaves me wondering. In some ways. It also leaves me grateful. That a man, a venture capitalist, flat-out said no to my coworking space pitch.

It might have hurt at the time, but, it was his right to say no, and I think his no was right.

Thoughts? I'm listening.

← End of July 2019 Update

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