Shared offices for geekery.

I love the idea of renting a desk at a community office space. I’m generally happy to work at home, as I do, but sometimes I’d benefit from working around other geeks. I’d pay $100/month to have access to a desk two days a week, during business hours, using a reservation system to make sure I’d have it. Assuming it’s downtown.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

9 replies on “Shared offices for geekery.”

  1. Man, I’d love that. I’d even pay for less-than-Class-A office space. Or it could be nomadic: month-to-month occupancy of vacant office space until the landlord finds a real tenant.

    Probably no need for telephones in the community office space, since geeks use cell phones and VOIP devices.

    Surely there’s a market for this in Charlottesville.

  2. Count me in!

    I work from home (I’m an OS engineer for rPath, a Linux company in Raleigh), and right now I use coffee shops as a way to get out and be around other people during the workday–as well as to escape my frequently-noisy (homescholed) kids.

    I’d love to have something more office-like, both for the social aspect as well as to guarantee reasonably administered and reliable network access.

    Shall we set up a mailing list and see if we can reach critical mass?

  3. I’ve just realized that I set up precisely this back in 1999 — FeO2, with office space shared among a 12-person geek collective. It ultimately failed, and I think that a big part of why was that nobody was in charge who had both the incentive ($) and authority to call the shots.

    For this to work, I think it would require one person who wants to make money, who would run it as a business, but getting X people committed to Y months up front, so they know they can get it off the ground.

    On an unrelated note, Jeff, I think I will forever think of you as “juphoff.” :)

  4. Lots of geek things started in 1999 ultimately failed. :)~

    I’ve started and run a small, break-even corporation before (aircraft leasing), but I doubt I’d have the time to be point man on this right now. (I’ve two kids and I work at a software start-up!)

  5. Funny, aircraft leasing is precisely how I was just thinking about this. The NetJets model seems to fit: size your fleet (or office space) slightly too small, enough to offer near 100% availability, but not, in fact, 100%. It’s that last few percent that kills a business model.


    Saw this a few weeks ago on and was intrigued by it. Add me to the mailing list for this idea. As an organizer/administrator/bookkeeper type, perhaps I can help you guys get something together…

    If you haven’t already discovered Springwise and its sister site, Trendwatcher, dip in a couple of toes – they are addictive…

  7. I have been thinking of this idea in terms of what had been called a ‘business incubator’. Common secretarial, common office machinery (like copy machines, etc).

    They were a going thing (and may still be). I think I lost interest when I moved to the country. I have since wished I could have a place to myself as an office, even sparsely featured.

    As long as it has DSL, cable or radio-frequency based internet.

    I think possibly that areas of underperforming economies like Cumberland County could benefit from one sponsored in part by the local government.

  8. I am wondering about the financial viability of such an arrangement in Cumberland, unless space-holders were drawn from a larger area. Farmville comes to mind, and with techies at Longwood, maybe there would be interest in something in the Farmville portion of Cumberland County. (north of the Appomattox River)

    RBI (Rural Backbone Initiative) will be routed through that area anyway, so that would be a plus. And there might be grants and programs (private and public) for these types of groups.

    All Cumberland High School students have Dell notebooks, and I also thought an internet cafe would be a good place for youth to gather, since there is nothing else in our community right now.

    Anyway,Hawkins’ comment made me think about the differences between doing this in Charlottesville/Albemarle as opposed to my area. I think the biggest difference would be not as many people interested initially.

    Mid-night ramblings.

  9. You’re really onto something with this Cumberland idea, Mark, particularly as a non-profit or government-run operation. That way it can be run cheaply enough to make it viable.

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