Thank you San Francisco, for voting us the Best Communal Office Space in SF! We love this city and are honored to work alongside you as you launch new companies, build incredible products and get your best work done. Here’s to a ridiculously productive 2015. And if you haven’t met Sir Reginald the Orange Moose yet, then stop by your local NextSpace for a tour and see what all the fuss is about.
May 22nd, 2015 by Meaghen
April 8th, 2015 by Meaghen
“You never know unless you ask,” says Jim Nelson, President and Executive Director of an open source software non-profit organization called Yorba. I laugh because I am asking him a LOT of questions. The sun is shining. We’re drinking delicious New Orleans-inspired iced coffees. Also, I can’t help asking him a lot of questions—Jim is a genuinely interesting guy. He’s the member at NextSpace Union Square who rolls into the space mid-morning with his fedora in-hand, like a character out of Mad Men, who (per the part) attends happy hour religiously and always has an interesting story to share—whether its his adventures road tripping through New Mexico or the years he spent bar tending as an undergrad in North Beach.
Today, life feels good, but in all other respects, and to other people, life may not actually appear that good. Jim’s non-profit is dissolving, and he’s faced now with a major life change. But instead of dwelling on his woes, Jim is focusing on the positive and he has advice for others who may be experiencing similar career upheaval:
- “Dig up all your expertise,” he says. Be creative (and vigilant!) about exploring other career options. For Jim, who studied English as an undergrad and who has an MFA in Creative Writing, this means returning to publishing his work. An author of short stories and a small novel, Jim is no stranger to this field; though this skill may have been lost for a bit in all the programming, and work in open-source software he had been doing at Yorba. Capitalizing on the e-book revolution, Jim found that it was pretty easy to self-publish, as long as you could manage independently promoting your product. So last July, long before the announcement of the end of his company, Jim built a website. He published and sold his e-books on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Nobles, and iTunes. Refining a craft you love isn’t easy, especially when you’re managing a non-profit organization at the same time. Nonetheless, Jim advises everyone to “follow your passion and make it a priority.” “You have to approach your craft with the same seriousness and intention as full-time work,” says Jim. “In terms of writing, it doesn’t just happen; it’s a different process.” Jim took days off and spent his weekends at NextSpace dedicated to his writing. In the long run, this dedication has paid off for him, because now Jim is exploring the idea of authoring more technical computer books (and he’s currently in the talks with potential publishers).
- “Open yourself up to unlikely possibilities.” Jim has two life experiences to testify. The first is bartending as an undergrad in the great city of San Francisco. Jim didn’t have experience behind the bar (except drinking, he laughs), but that first job opened all sorts of opportunities for him – financial and otherwise. The other and more recent example is with Yorba, a company that Jim found randomly on Craigslist. He didn’t have the Linux qualifications that were asked for in the ad, but the company took a chance on him. “Because sometimes,” Jim says, “you don’t need all the hard skills. You just need to be on board with the vision… and that might be enough to land the job.”
- “Think about the people you know and network, network, network.” This is where coworking plays an integral part in career transitions. “At a coworking space like NextSpace,” says Jim, “everyone is a professional. Members have the option to engage or disengage with the community, and people who work at NextSpace understand the norms.” Other spaces, like incubators, can be exclusive to start-ups only, or “filled with venture capitalists who are disinterested in open-source.” Jim complains that coffee shops are “a crapshoot for writing, because you never know what you’re gonna get.” It can get loud, he says, or you’re battling for tables, or it can get really disruptive, especially with writing. Jim doesn’t want to leave NextSpace (he says this genuinely, and not because he’s being willed to say so)—and we don’t want to see him go either. He swears that he’ll return if he goes the remote/contract work route. “I like the quiet space,” he says, “and the separation of home and work… also, the people and atmosphere.” Well, we like you too Jim – and we’ll certainly miss your words of wisdom. – Interview by Charity Yoro, Community Builder @ NextSpace Coworking Union Square You can learn more about Jim and his current projects on his website: http://j-nelson.net/.
January 22nd, 2015 by Erin
Diana Rothschild here, the new CEO of NextSpace! I look forward to sharing more about myself separately, but in the world of coworking I wanted you all to know that NextSpace is excited to partner with the GCUC team to bring the most awesome conference on the planet to Berkeley, California. We have been big fans and regular attendees of GCUC since its inception and we’re excited to have you all in one of our backyards in May.
The City of Berkeley has been extremely helpful supporting NextSpace and the coworking movement. We can’t wait to show you how our community there has driven endless successful collaborations for the businesses and entrepreneurs in the East Bay. Berkeley is a town with a character that it can definitely call all its own, so we are hoping that the unique venues and the new conference program will really evolve this GCUC USA into something extra special and super valuable for all attendees.
Thanks to the GCUC team for encouraging us to be coworking rock stars and for joining forces with us. GCUC USA is the place to be!
To get your tickets and to check out the GCUC program, go HERE.
December 19th, 2014 by Meaghen
December 11th, 2014 by Meaghen
Guest post by Rachman Blake, member at NextSpace San Francisco.
May 2014, a Thursday night—technically, Friday morning.
I’m at NextSpace Potrero Hill, still awake after my 4th all-nighter. I’m at NS so much I’ve become friends with the late night cleaning staff.
I’ve spent hours crafting e-mail invitations to the FunnyBizz Conference on humorous content creation. Everyone we talk to loves the idea of the conference. We have to get the word out, but with no advertising budget whatsoever we have to rely on good ol’ fashioned hype and word of mouth to spread the news for us. That means finding people who are interested in what we do, which means using Meetup.com to mine for like-minded meetup group organizers, and then ask them to share our conference with their group free of charge—a foolproof strategy.
I go downstairs to take refuge in Yumbin Snack Bin. As I shamelessly load up on late night/morning carbs I begin reading a draft of my e-mail to one of the largest tech meet-up groups in the Bay Area. This e-mail is make or break: if he shares it with his group we’ll hit 20% or more of our target registrations.
…. blah blah…Would you like to share this conference with your group
No wonder the meetup group organizers have been unresponsive. I sound like a corporate stiff. No personality, no flavor = no response.
So I turn to Google. What’s the best way to e-mail a complete stranger and ask for a favor? Scott Britton’s e-mail templates suggest making it personal—not “So I see you and your wife Rachel just had your first child, congrats!” when “Hey, I noticed you were mentioned by GigaOm recently, congrats!” comes off as personal without being creepy or feigned—and I seem to accomplish all of the above in my e-mail. It is concise and personal; but alas, no response from Mitchell.
Finding something about the person like an article or a book and mentioning it is a great way to score points. Lucky me—his LinkedIn link is broken. I’m not finding any articles he’s written. I’ve got nothing. The combination of sleep deprivation and Pirates Booty popcorn drives me to go a little bit further. When I get back to my desk, I add a touch of humor. One key component to any stand-up comedy act is self-deprecation, which is a form of vulnerability. So I make myself vulnerable, and wouldn’t you know it—this time he responds.
I tried visiting your LinkedIn profile to find something to comment on in an attempt to make a connection, but the link from your meet up profile is broken. Derp.
So instead, I’ll comment on your meetup picture…with a polo shirt and a large stick, you look like you’re about to lead a revolt in Napa.
Hi Rock Man (ok that wasn’t funny),*not the first time someone has made a terrible pun with my name, but all is forgiven*
Nice to “e-meet” you (can’t stand it when people write that).
He agrees to share this with his group! This brings me to my first tip for integrating humor into e-mail.
1. Timing: Use humor when appropriate
Always follow best practices for cold e-mailing. Make it personal. Keep it short. Ask one question, and keep it simple. Then use humor. In my case, I took a gentle swipe at his shirt. I got a response but I did my research first. I had a feeling Martin wouldn’t mind based on his pictures and selection of meet-up groups. Not everyone will find a stranger asking for favors and using tongue-in-cheek humor amusing, which will leave you where you started—without a response. For your sake, I hope that you never have to deal with people who can’t laugh at a joke, even a bad one, but don’t go overboard; if it crosses the line of good taste, keep it to yourself.
2. Persistence: Funny follow-up is effective
I’ve been emailing with Susan, another Meetup contact, about the conference for several weeks when poof–she disappears and I can’t get a hold of her. The conference is just a week away. Every day sans response means less people attending.
I send her a “follow-up” e-mail.
A day later, I follow up again.
4 days left—there’s still time, but not much.
Like my 11th hour attempt to sway Mitchell, a combination of caffeine and lack of sleep drive me to try something unconventional (thanks to Earle Richards for this idea):
Huzzah! She responds:
So sorry! I’ll send this out today
Aristotle’s definition of humor is “something unexpected, the truth of which is recognized.”
Leave it to everyone’s favorite junk food lover to stand out from the clutter in a busy person’s inbox. Like my correspondence with Mitchell, I followed-up in the traditional way—GIF-less and on point—before escalating to humor. You may not always need to use it but it’s a nice ace in the hole.
Another important member of the meet-up community I had trouble contacting was Michael.
Michael is a venture capitalist who runs a newsletter with several thousand subscribers. I e-mail him the first time with a professional subject heading, and the second time decide to go with “You’re a badass”—decidedly unprofessional, but almost guaranteed to elicit a response.
Michael must get a lot of emails from people who think he’s a badass, because he doesn’t respond. This means it’s time to up the creativity another notch
I borrow a leaf from Salesloft’s book (check out their awesome blog *here*) and use this beauty as a subject heading.
Subject: Chased by a hippo
Are you too busy to respond because you’re being chased by a hippo?
Perhaps the hippo is courteous enough to give him the time to reply, or maybe he just needed to see something funny in order to respond:
Send me information. Happy to share!
He shared it with his group!
E-mail falls into a grey area of communication. It doesn’t have strict guidelines like an academic paper, so it can be informal—not a typo laden e-mail to your college buddy, but by no means does it have to be Ph.D thesis-level either. The average professional sends over 112 e-mails per day, 560 per week, 2240 per month 25,000+ per year. Some of your e-mails will go unanswered. You need to stand out. Funny follow-up is one weapon in your arsenal that, if used properly will get you noticed in someone’s inbox.
You have a chance to influence someone, to bring a smile to a client’s face, to disarm your boss—to be human, just for the sake of being human. If we’re going to spend hours e-mailing, why not make a real connection while we’re at it? One of the best ways to do that is with humor.
Rachman Blake is a member of NextSpace San Francisco and the co-founder of AppHeroes a tech recruiting company that connects startups with mobile app developers through live events that use humor. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
December 9th, 2014 by Erin
The Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) is headed back to our Coworking roots—where it all began—California! Time to practice your surfing skills, layer your clothing and fall in love with West Coast rap. GCUC is going to Berkeley! Just across the bay from San Francisco we’ll be hosting the biggest gathering of Coworking peeps in the US! Get ready for Camp GCUC, a new conference/unconference format, and the opportunity to tour over 25 coworking spaces. California here we come!
Buy your tickets here: http://gcuc-usa.ticketleap.com/
December 3rd, 2014 by Meaghen
Thinking of changing career paths and striking out in a new direction? It’s a scary thought but one that brings so much excitement with it. If you’re reevaluating your current life plan and need a little kick in the pants, here are three pieces of solid advice from Shirley Huang, Director of Development & Business Affairs at a media production company and beloved Cafe member at NextSpace Los Angeles.
1. You are your own advocate. Don’t hide your background. Instead, share your knowledge and be willing to learn about the industry from the ground up.
About two years ago, I decided to transition from private law practice into the entertainment industry to pursue my passion for helping creative projects go forward. Having started my legal career as a paralegal, I didn’t have much of an ego about starting my entertainment career as an intern and freelance production assistant. I didn’t hide my legal background or qualifications either, if anything, people seemed to want to help me because of my story and because I was willing to learn about the industry from the ground up.
2. Strive to make authentic connections with like-minded people, and realize that careers and career trajectories are not one-size-fits-all.
Setting aside financial security in order to freelance in the Biz has been difficult at times, but I’m happy to report that I’m now handling business and legal affairs and some TV development for a media production company. One of the managing directors offered me the job. I met him while I was freelancing (he was a producer on some of the projects I worked on), and we developed a rapport because he also has a legal background but a passion for creative development. Last year, he told me he was partnering with two other production companies and wanted me on the team as a salaried employee once the company got funding. In the summer of 2014, he followed up with me, recruited me, and now I have a job that combines legal and creative development. This kind of hybrid position would not have been possible if I’d gone the “normal” route of working five years in a law firm and taking an in-house counsel / production attorney position with an entertainment company.
3. Let your passion and inquisitiveness show, and realize that collaboration is at the heart of entrepreneurship.
There’s a saying in the entertainment industry, and I suspect it applies to most entrepreneurial settings: The reason they call it “breaking in” is because no person gets in the same way. You should be talented, smart, and collaborative — potential partners and clients will overlook the first two if they believe they’d enjoy working with you.
Leaving law firm life may seem daunting, but my life and career are richer now because I have the freedom and flexibility to develop personally and professionally in a way that feels authentic to me. I’m finding immense satisfaction taking my hard-learned lawyering skills in fact development and narrative crafting (and contract drafting) and employing those skills in the service of meaningful and engaging productions capable of reaching a broad audience.
Shirley Huang is an attorney in Los Angeles and handles business and legal affairs for entertainment companies. She’s also had experience as a TV show producer, artist, and editor. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
December 1st, 2014 by Charity
Visit NextSpace Union Square and you will probably spot a guy typing furiously with his head down and headphones on, hunched in a corner of the café space. You might also meet a chatty woman in the kitchen who will know your first pet’s name (and probably entire life story) by the time you cream-and-sugar your coffee.
That’s the nature of our space (and all NextSpace’s): our members are diverse, and we love ‘em for it. Though it can be argued that coworking typically comes easier for extroverts, we like to think that there’s no preference for either introvert or extrovert here. As we see it, a NextSpace member is a part of our community, and as long as they respect and contribute to the whole, we welcome embrace all working styles.
However, as a self proclaimed introvert, I think there needs to be a focused shift in the coworking industry towards being more inclusive of the introverted. According to the latest research, one third to one half of us are introverts. That means there are at least four introverts sitting in our café right now, and around 50 in our overall membership. There are coworking spaces developed specifically for introverts but I think all coworking spaces can make some strategic changes and adapt to accommodate this need. Here are three techniques that we have found to be effective at NextSpace:
1. Stop, collaborate, and listen. Yes, we know collaboration spurs creativity and innovation. But it also needs to develop naturally—and what is natural for one person (an extrovert, for example), may not come as naturally for another, say introvert. We can’t force the NextSpace Effect . We have to let it happen. For some members this may mean attending every member lunch, Next Talk, and happy hour. And for others it might happen quietly, within the safe confines of their inbox when they respond to a community list email. Either way it’s important for our members not to feel bad about not participating in the traditional sense of the word, and to feel okay about saying no to our planned events sometimes. (“Sometimes” being the operative word. We hope to see you at least once!)
2. Make privacy a priority. As Jason Feifer of Fast Company puts it, work is “a vacillation between collaboration and solitary exploration. One isn’t useful without the other.” Our space at Union Square is designed with this in a mind: finding that perfect balance of socialization and solitude for each of our members. For introverts, this means an emphasis on the latter–and that’s totally fine with us. Find that quiet, cozy nook and get sh*t done. Then come grab a beer with us on Friday at 3:58pm.
3. Read and research. For introverts looking for ways to maintain their personal boundaries within a shared working space, there are plenty of resources that provide helpful tips, and informative videos like David Kelley’s TED Talk on creative confidence and Susan Cain’s video on the power of introverts. As a community manager I make it part of my job to stay informed on the latest trends and techniques to keep my community welcoming and productive for all types of workers.
Don’t get us wrong: we love our loud, left-brained creatives just as much as our quiet, contemplative counterparts. Its what keeps our NextSpace community balanced and what makes us unique. As one introvert puts it: “Everyone should have equal access to productive silence and serendipitous chaos.” We agree. Productive and serendipitous: isn’t that just another way of describing the NextSpace Effect?
- Charity Yoro, Community Builder, NextSpace Coworking Union Square
November 26th, 2014 by iris
Dear NextSpace Members,
It is with much gratitude that we wish you the warmest of Thanksgiving holidays.
Thank you for being the fabulous members you are. For showing up to work and making our days brighter. Thank you for making endless pots of coffee. For thinking innovative thoughts and acting on them. For looking out for each other and collaborating. For making the NextSpace Effect™ a real thing every day. Thank you for your patience when the Internets act up. For taking pride in having NextSpace as your office and helping to keep it clean and tidy. Thanks for doing your dishes, and thanks for doing other people’s dishes when they forget! For helping to keep the space safe on nights and weekends and holidays when the staff is away. For giving tours and stepping in to answer the phones when the staff needs help. For being the reason we show up to work every day, you make NextSpace the great place that it is.
Tomorrow, while you spend time with loved ones, we wish you warmth, an abundance of laughter and a hearty helping of good food. Eat, drink, be merry and travel safely. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces again on Monday morning.
Much love and appreciation from Team NextSpace!
Iris Kavanagh, Chief Community Officer
November 24th, 2014 by Meaghen
Looking for a private place to work amongst a thriving, collaborative community? We got you!
Take a peek at our newly available Private Offices for teams of 2-4. NextSpace is in the heart of River North just steps at a from the CTA “Chicago” stop.
Join us Monday thru Friday (9am – 5pm) for a tour, or to chat more! Questions? Reach us at email@example.com or 312-929-4356
Private Office is equipped with:
- Team seating for 2 – 4
- Freedom to bring in your own furniture (on your own dime, and time)
- 24/7 access to the ‘Space
- Ethernet plugs for direct-connect
- Loads of natural daylight!
- Large window-view facing the CTA “Chicago” platform
- Mailbox / ability to use our business address as your own
- Bottomless coffee + tea in our shared kitchen
- Community programming + networking opportunities
- Access to a shared Conference Room (with 6/hrs of FREE access per month, per person)
Join us Monday thru Friday (9am – 5pm) for a tour, or to chat more! Questions? Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-929-4356
NextSpace River North
230 W Superior, 2F
Chicago, IL 60654