When we first discovered coworking, there were just a handful of spaces around the world. I read every word of every coworking website in the world.
Today, that would be impossible.
We have a good guess at how many coworking spaces there are around the world but we don’t know for sure because we believe about three spaces open somewhere in the world and perhaps one shuts down everyday.
What’s behind this explosive growth? Why now? Why coworking?
Coworking started out the way most good ideas do. People saw a need and met that need. It started out with telecommuting and work-from-home programs. Corporate America thought it could save money and get more work out of employees, but the plan backfired. They sent them home where they became not only distracted, but lonely and unproductive.
I know, I was one of them. I dreamed of a space where the coffee was free, the space was designed for productivity and I was working around other humans. In 2010 I opened my first space, Link Coworking.
A few other forces were at play at the time. People that had lost their jobs due to the economic downturn turned to entrepreneurship since they couldn’t find employment. When the economy bounced back they did something unexpected: they chose to stay independent. In the past they would have gone back to the safety of a corporate job. They did not and this is a new behavior.
Technology was changing to. Devices became “smart,” smaller and more powerful. You could work from anywhere. We became untethered thanks to the smartphone. Wifi became readily available and speeds just keep getting better.
A couple of guys from New York started a little company called WeWork and things got complicated in a good way. WeWork predominantly sells office space but they identify as coworking. Why? Because coworking is better than an office space. Coworking gives you community. Coworking is bringing sexy back.
I hope this helps you understand a little of the “why” behind our our industry and I hope you’ll join us at GCUC in NYC this April. No, Adam won’t be there, he is far too important for GCUC now but I have a feeling the next person to give Adam a run for his money will likely be in the room and will likely be a woman. Just saying.