3rd Time’s a Charm.

By Liz Elam On January 31, 2014 In CoworkingCommunityRetrospective

I never imagined when I started my journey into the Coworking world that three short years after opening my own space in Austin, TX, I would also put on the largest Coworking conference in the world for the 3rd year.  It’s called the Global Coworking Unconference Conference in an ode to Stephen Colbert that at this point can’t be un-done.  We call it ‘juicy’ for short because if you pronounce GCUC it sorta sounds like ‘juicy.’

You can find a little bit about the history of GCUC and our focus area for 2012 and 2013  here on our blog: GCUC History

GCUC 2014 is about the continued momentum of the Coworking movement.  We have often used a wave analogy to describe the how Coworking is moving through the growth stages.  The way is fueled by a rising tide of workers that no longer just accept a dull, depressing environment for their day to day workplace and a fundamental shift in the way people choose to work.  Coworking has even begun to crest.

We listened to our people and heard that they were ready to move out of Austin.  SXSW was no longer a draw, GCUC was the draw (clap, clap, clap).  Our peeps wanted to see a new city and explore new spaces.  We put out an RFP and Kansas City, MO was the clear winner.  They wanted GCUC, were prepared to help and were relentless in their follow up.  GCUC drags a good $500,000 in revenue to the city and highlights KC to a global community.

At the European Coworking Conference in Barcelona, I lead a session on how to make the Coworking conferences better and I heard loud and clear: Make it more like Coworking and less like a conference.  This was in line with our survey where our clients told us they wanted more time together.  We have added a fun icebreaker, a non-profit problem solving component and more time to talk to each other.   We want everyone to have a profile up on the website not just the speakers and organizers.  We also doing a physical giant member board at GCUC.

At GCUC 2014 we’ll be exploring new models of Coworking, delving deep into the numbers and we’ll talk in depth about the future of work and how it influences design.  We’ll devote a great chunk of time to the Unconference where the real conversation and work gets done.  We’ve added a third day with optional focused workshops and tours of Coworking spaces.

GCUC is where we have seen investors find their new partners, business’ formed, problems solved and questions answered.  If you’re thinking about opening a Coworking space this is the go to event of the year.  If you need to boost your cities economic development, you should attend and learn how Coworking produces jobs and fuels growth.  If you are a real estate developer you should come learn about the new way people are choosing to work.

We expect 400+ attendees at  GCUC this year.   We are truly a global conference with attendees coming from every continent!   They are  influencing everyone in their circles.  Those circles are huge and filled with brand influencers, early adopters and the leaders of the recommendation culture.  GCUC is growing right along with the movement – Coworking is future and the future is bright.