All I wanted was to push the edge out. A little margin is what I wanted. Marathon after marathon I kept running head on into my shadows. All of these challenges that I continue to throw in front of me are mirrors of my deepest darkness. Facing everything that feels unsolvable, entrepreneurial endeavors, relationships, everything I deeply care about I’m recognizing that I can’t brute force anything and have it turn out well. I do know the only thing I control is how I show up… and then put in the work.
The Seattle Lake Union Thinkspace is a culmination of everything we know and everything we are. Pouring everything out for this one. If you know any entrepreneur that is looking for a different kind of training ground and be around other like minded entrepreneurs, please see this space please send them my way.
If you could work from anywhere, where would you go?
Stay at home? Go outside? Coworking? Work and travel? Coffee shop or restaurant? The library?
Whether you decide to stay at home in your pjs or get outside for a meeting, it can definitely be nice to get out of the office to get some work done. Last week, Peter and I spent the afternoon at 5 Stones Coffee Co and got more done on our project in three hours than we did the entire week before! It can be really hard to focus with the many interruptions that happen throughout the day: phone calls, emails, kids and other things that just come up. Sometimes, all it takes is a new location and a fresh perspective to crush your goal!
As a team, we’ve been taking a few hours each week to work from somewhere new and see how it affects our productivity and happiness at work. Follow us on instagram for more great photos @thinkspace.seattle and share your own! #mythinkspace
I know, I sure am! With this 88 degree weather, it is impossible for me to stay inside so I am extra thankful that I got to spend yesterday afternoon out at the park. You may be wondering, “how do you get work done in the park?” Luckily, I had plenty of work that could be done offline, but I was also able to set up my phone as a hotspot and be totally connected to email and my colleagues. Different jobs, will of course, have different limitations but try going somewhere new. I think the results will surprise you. Now, we want to know where you get your best work done;
where is your “think space”?
Personally, I love traveling, so any time I get the opportunity to work on the go, I take it! Check out #mythinkspace favorite from last year here and share your own!
We are excited to announce that we have a helipad at both of our Seattle and Redmond coworking locations! We recognize that commuting between Seattle and Redmond has been a challenge ever since the toll was put in place between Seattle and the Eastside. Depending on the time of day it can take an hour or more commuting on the 520 Bridge. With this new service, the approximate 15 mile commute can be reduced to approximately eight minutes. We wanted to be able to provide our thinkspace members with a service that allows entrepreneurs to focus on growing their startups instead of spending time stuck in traffic as they go from investor meetings with Madrona Venture Group, Voyager Capital, or Maveron.
After nearly seven and half years of running thinkspace, I have been asking entrepreneurs what is the most challenging thing about running a startup? The answer that I typically get is 1) funding and finding access to capital. 2) is hiring talent and finding a cofounder. We feel that with this service, startup founders will be able to invite VC’s to meetings and possible candidates that are looking to leave their jobs at Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft to join their startups. Attracting talent to join a startup is an incredible challenge. With a service like this, startups can now compete with the big tech companies in the Seattle area.
With recent announcements of Uber partnering with Blade to be able to helicopter rides to Coachella, we have been actively working on our own partnerships to extend the service to the Seattle area. We estimate that the service will cost approximately $62.50 one way or $125 round trip. Similar to how a vanpool works, discounts will be available for groups of four people. As Benjamin Franklin would say, “time is money”, this service definitely puts a premium on time. Please contact us if you’re interested in find out more about how to book this service.
“…Is this thing on?”
At StepNW’s event in Bellevue on Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to sit on a panel in the company of fellow coworking representatives from Orange Studios, extraSlice, and Impact Hub. Picture a room full of entrepreneurs, executives looking to find their perfect startup match, community representatives, creatives, and resident experts on Seattle’s startup culture. The space was loud, the mics were soft, and the handshakes were good and firm. The venue was buzzing with disorganized, high energy, caffeinated humans…much like a startup!
“Is it really all it’s cracked up to be?”
One question posed to the panel challenged the value of being plugged into coworking space. Specifically:
“Why should an entrepreneur consider coworking space?”
To answer this question, I referred back to a study executed by the Kauffman Foundation that quantified the two most important resources entrepreneurs need to be successful. This study showed that the most impactful catalysts to success in a startup can be boiled down to building relationships with other entrepreneurs, and building relationships with support organizations, such as Angel investors, mentors, and service providers. Opportunity for building these connections naturally multiplies by physically plugging into a coworking community. Moreover, by being involved in a coworking space, there is an instant connection to people (like me!) whose mission is directly dictated by these two key needs. In building the fabric of support around entrepreneurs, I seek to connect people with the resources that will help them to solve their biggest pain points.
“Where does it hurt?”
The previous topic begs the question:
“What are the biggest pain points of an entrepreneur?”
Dan Kihanya from Impact Hub says that the three most common concerns he sees are difficulties finding talent, connections, and funding. With coworking spaces popping up all over the Seattle area, I expect to see these anxieties alleviated.
In response to the first pain point: Hiring talent. Who wants to be stuck with a social loafing coworker who has a bad habit of stealing your yogurt out of the fridge? Not I! That’s why companies like thinkspace offer recruiting services—to weed out the yogurt-eating, money-embezzling, resume-exaggerating applicants and provide companies with the (actual) top talent Seattle has to offer.
Moving on to pain point number two: Connections. There are only so many times you can view someone’s LinkedIn profile before things get awkward. This is why thinkspace, Impact Hub, and Orange Studios are all involved in organizing networking events that provide ample opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs face-to-face and make meaningful connections with experts in a variety of fields.
As for pain point number 3: Funding. As much as money trouble is a fun party topic, it isn’t always as easy to solve this problem as game of tic-tac-toe against your six-year-old nephew. History has shown that participation in coworking space leads to an increased probability of meeting co-founders, angel investors, and partner companies. This translates to: Cha-CHING!*
“I’m only here for the food…”
As our panel came to a close, the locals appeared restless… and hungry! Reminding me that in the world of entrepreneurs, there’s no time to buy groceries. Offering opportunities to be social, studious, and inquisitive, StepNW did the community a great service by providing education and networking opportunities to the greater Eastside community. Cheers to another night of connections, ravaged buffet tables, and illegible nametags!
*Cha-CHING: Increased opportunity for growth and revenue
Erin Burchfield (CEO) and Teagen Densmore, will demo Loop, their Social polling app which recently raised $450K. Erin and Teagen’s app that gives you feedback on questions, whether it’s to an entire network of people or just a few friends. I’ve been using this app regularly for about three weeks now and when ever I want to get a pulse on something I ask the question on Loop. My last question was “What’s your favorite red (wine)”. I personally like a nice glass of syrah but apparently I need to try out a zinfandel or malbec sometime!
Come join us to hear their entrepreneurial story, how they became cofounders, and raised $450K to jump start their startup. We’re holding it at our new Seattle location in Fremont on September 26 at 6pm. RSVP here on our Hackers and Founders page.
On June 12th at Turnstone’s SmallTalks event in Seattle, thinkspace announced that we are launching our 2nd location in Fremont (#thinkspaceSEA). We are so excited to be opening in Fremont, as they say it’s the “center of the universe.” During SmallTalks we offered up a free month of coworking in our Seattle office to the 10th person that retweeted our announcement.
Congratulations Dan Goldgeier, freelance copywriter and author of View from the Cheap Seats! You’ve won one free month of coworking at thinkspace Seattle. Along with an amazing view of the canal you’ll be surrounded by the top startup and entrepreneurial talent in the city. We want to thank you for retweeting us and welcome to the thinkspace community!
In a recent presentation given at thinkspace, the CEO and founder of thinkspace, Peter Chee, spoke on the importance of mentors and role models. He confessed that when he first started out, he had a 50 page business plan which he was pretty jazzed about, but “didn’t grab ahold of the models of mentors early enough.” Peter’s lesson learned (as well as advice to all entrepreneurs) is to get those people in place, and get them in place sooner rather than later.
Listening to Peter talk about role models and mentors got me thinking about the importance of our surroundings. I think most would agree that who you surround yourself with matters – in life, in relationships, and especially as an entrepreneur striving for motivation, significance, and effectiveness.
The importance of surroundings is at the core of what makes thinkspace more than just office space, but a community. Just yesterday, I gave a tour to some guys that are launching a new product and are looking for somewhere to work (other than a coffee shop). As we chatted in the kitchen of the coworking floor, these two guys expressed to me how they are eager to find a place where they can be surrounded (there’s that word again!) and inspired by other entrepreneurs. And not surprisingly, the questions that they asked me about thinkspace had nothing to do with price points, but more to do with what kind of community thinkspace is.
Q: “What kinds of people will I run into at thinkspace?”
A: “Thinkspace represents a wide variety of different people and companies – tech startups, CPA and lawyer firms, videographers, SEO gurus, sales, marketing firms, counselors, and there’s even a pastor on the second floor.”
Q: “What are the benefits of being at thinkspace, in the coworking community?”
A: “I can best explain that in a story…I was talking with a coworker the other day, and he mentioned to me that he knew coworking at thinkspace would be a good fit for him because of the flexible plan and the quality space. But he was surprised by the community that it’s provided him with – which is a huge value-add to him, as well as his company. At thinkspace, you’ll be surrounded and inspired by innovators and entrepreneurs. You could work at home, or in a coffee shop, and try to conjure up inspiration on your own. Or you can hang out in coworking for a few moments, and hear about the amazing things that the entrepreneurs in this community are up to, and share in their energy and motivation.”
Peter Chee spoke about the need for mentors and role models. And whenever I walk through coworking, I see these roles being established. One thing that I’ve come to expect whenever I’m at thinkspace: the opportunity to learn something new. And I love that. I don’t care that I’m no where near the smartest person in the room. At the end of Peter’s presentation, he shared something similar about what drives him: “I’m constantly learning, so I’m just absorbing. If you’re the smartest person in the room, than you’re probably in the wrong room. I’m always surrounded by people that are smarter than me.”
So who do you surround yourself with?
And are you in need of a mentor or role model? Thinkspace has recently launched the CXO program, which offers office hours with experts in their field. Want to know more? Find more information here.
The thinkspace community first opened its doors 5 years ago today, on May 1st of 2008.
Since then, thinkspace has been – and continues to be – home to many startups and established businesses.
Upon starting thinkspace, Peter Chee understood that if he took a conventional path, he could expect conventional results. But from the very beginning, thinkspace has been anything but conventional.
Shortly after thinkspace opened, the recession hit. Peter was left with a decision to make: would he keep his rates competitive, and in doing so head out on a race to the bottom? Peter recalls making that decision, “The race to the bottom is about cutting corners, and how far I can stretch this thing or person…” That wasn’t the way Peter set out to do business, nor was it the way he wanted to respond to the recession. Instead, he was inspired by Seth Godin: “Consumers are not loyal to cheap commodities, they crave the unique, the remarkable, the human.”
In the moment while other competitors were trying to stay afloat by cutting costs and offering discounts, Peter asked “How can we make thinkspace remarkable?” and responded not by cutting costs, but focusing on creating value within the thinkspace community.
Thinkspace was born during an against-the-odds era. But thinkspace not only survived the recession, but has thrived due to the vision of value and relationships. From the beginning, Peter stated, “I want to focus on making connections with people, because that’s where the value is…if you can actually connect with people, they will be more likely to do business with you.”
Thinkspace’s 5th birthday isn’t about celebrating Peter, but about celebrating the members that we are grateful to be in community with – each and every one of you makes this place remarkable. Without you, thinkspace would be an empty building and an empty community. So, here’s to you!
To say “thank you,” each team member at thinkspace has brought in their favorite goodie and treat. Please stop by the front desk today to say hi and indulge in some edible-gratitude.
Coworking is becoming increasingly popular among independent contractors, startups, and other folks that would otherwise work from home. The costs of maintaining an office can break the bank for many individuals hoping to escape from the distractions of home. Coworking locations make it easier and more cost-effective to recreate a traditional office environment and provide your clients (and associates) with a professional atmosphere to meet.
Entire offices dedicated to coworking – like thinkspace – are springing up around the U.S. and in many parts of the world. Like ours, these offices are often set up with memberships that allow people to pay for the time they need, or subscribe at a flat monthly fee to use the facilities of a fully-functioning office without the costs associated with going it solo.
Humans are social creatures, so it can be very difficult to find joy in spending the majority of your day cooped up in your home, disconnected from the rest of the world. A coworking environment can allow you to collaborate with other people face-to-face where you might not be able to otherwise. If you’re a blogger, there’s a good chance that someone in your coworking environment does similar work, or can offer a unique insight into a project you’re working on. But coworking isn’t just about sharing an office or having a place to have mail sent. It’s about working in a cooperative environment where everyone involved has an equal opportunity to benefit.
Of course, coworking spaces also provide the added benefits that working in an office provides, without the need to actually work in an office. (We know – we hate that idea too.) Many provide members with a shared receptionist that takes calls and greets guests at the door. Meeting rooms are also a perk that can come in handy should a client wish to stop by and meet with you in person. A reliable Internet connection, dedicated working environment, and other shared resources are just part of what makes coworking spaces worthwhile.
A coworking space can also be beneficial to your wallet. Renting a small office somewhere could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. Coworking spaces can cost a fraction of that amount, and you can use it every day or only as you need it – without having to sign a lease that holds you liable to paying for what you end up not using. Startups are especially sensitive to overhead costs, and if a startup can connect with an incubator and/or a coworking environment, these costs can be kept under control so its staff can concentrate on doing what’s important instead.
While we might be a little biased, the benefits can often far outweigh the costs involved – especially if the cost is a benefit itself.