Community of Cultivators: Edition 32

By Stormy McBride On June 18, 2020 In Community Cultivators Blog Series

Community of Cultivators

Here at GCUC we are immensely fortunate to cross paths and work with so many amazing people. Through our work, we’ve cultivated a global community of people we think you should know about.

Community of Cultivators is a blog series we created to introduce you to coworking game changers and connectors. Each month, we’ll release new interviews that we hope inform and inspire you.

We are back with another interview. This one comes from Thilo Utke, Founder of Cobot. Thilo has been in the industry for years now and has quite an impressive and agile space management software. You may have met him and his team at a GCUC event in the past but if you dont know them, you should reach out and introduce yourself. Anywho, keep reading to see his answers below.

Photo of Thilo UtkeWhat in your life are you most proud of cultivating or creating? Why?

I can say with certainty that it’s what we have achieved with Cobot and co.up [now a community and event space in Berlin]. I was never satisfied with the status quo, and what started out as simply looking for a better way to plan and develop software soon led me to co-found co.up coworking in 2009 as a means to work together in a more human-centric way. Now at Cobot these beliefs act as a foundation to support a company that cares for its team, its customers, and its product with same passion—not only when it’s easy but when it’s tough. And believe me, sometimes it really is tough.

But even during those difficult times I’m filled with pride when I take a step back and see how far we’ve come and what we have achieved; things such as contributing best practices for a trust-driven coworking space, raising awareness for the necessity of codes of conduct at events and coworking spaces, building a professional and proactive team, and offering a modern product that has been helping coworking spaces grow their communities for over a decade already.

Where do you personally feel the most sense of community?

I look to the global coworking community, many of whom I don’t see for a year or even longer between conferences—but I follow their work online and see their struggles and their successes.

One of the things I love about coworking is that I have seen my friends and collegues grow into the foremost leaders of the movement. For example, my Co-founder Alex met Liz Elam at the very first GCUC and I visited her Space in 2010; GCUC was then just a small event at SXSW and has now become the powerhouse global coworking event series and community.

Back in the day I almost started a business with Carsten Foertsch, the Founder and Editor of DeskMag, the first Global Coworking Publication.

I met Janine van der Linden, the current mastermind behind the European Coworking Assembly at Coworking Europe through Bernie Mitchell, one of the foremost proponents of the London coworking movement and coworking podcaster.

Or Johanna Voll and Hector Kolonas, two of the experts behind the current Crisis Directory. I wish I could dedicate even more space to the people who continue to inspire me, people like Alex Hillman, Jennifer Schaepper-Uster (aka Jenny from VillageOffice) and so many more.

I know that we share a common goal while still maintaining our own perspectives, skills, and standings. I love to see how people connect, collaborate, support and challenge each other while pursuing the same goal. Especially during this time it gives me a lot of strength. But I also deeply miss seeing everyone in person at conferences and gatherings. <3

What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur?

You don’t need to have a special talent, lots of money, or the ability to work crazy hours to become an entrepreneur. You just need to have the real desire to make a difference and an unwillingness to accept the status quo. The rest will follow. Believe me, I completely failed an entrepreneurship questionnaire in an economics course at university 😉 It’s also very helpful to have a co-founders who are as unrelenting as you are and who bring their own strengths to the table. Shout out to my co-founders Alex and Kristina 🙂

What is one piece of advice you give everyone that works with for you?

Well, this is actually something I just learned about myself. Be prepared to be challenged and held to higher standards than average. I demand a lot from myself but also from the people I work with. And I know my co-founders share this trade and thats what makes Cobot special.

If you had to put a quote on your gravestone what would it be?

Life is nothing if you are not obsessed 🙂