Guest contributor Vijay Mehra of atx FACTORY shares his insights into rapidly (and sustainably) building a new coworking community....
Will cannot emphasize this enough: Coworking is not just about desks; It’s about people.
In the last couple of days, I’ve been working at Mutinerie, a coworking space in Paris, and the statement above has never been so true as in this case. Aside the warm welcome reserved to me by the “Chef Mutin” Sanya, the atmosphere you can breath here is fantastic: quiet, relaxed, and easy going.
The space is filled with the diverse range of professionals: from the developers typing code who were sitting on the right side of the ping-pong table, where I was working, to film makers, project managers, graphic designers, to the executive “suits” type :-) .
I was lucky as Friday there was a “Community Lunch” taking place, prepared by Natalie and Daniel. We had a delicious tartiflette avec salade (tartiflette is a traditional french dish with potatoes, bacon, onion, cream and cheese, all backed up in the oven) plus a dessert with cinnamon flavored oranges and biscuits. As Antoine, one of the space managers, points out, it’s a spontaneous event, it’s not something planned in advance.
Natalie, the lady behind the initiative, is a former design teacher. She had to stop working after a health problem, but she’s now committed to go back on the job market, and wants to give her own career a turn. “I’m now writing design software books and manuals” she says “but I’d really love to go back and work as a designer, my first dream”.
Natalie chose to work in a coworking space because it’s easier for her to get along with other people rather than alone, also from a professional point of view, since she’s thrown right in the middle of the Paris freelancing scene. The other reason she chose to cowork, as she says, “It gives me a chance to provide good food to the community“.
The whole experience was awesome: almost everyone stopped working, leaving their desk and coming to the café/lounge in the near of the space, sharing the meal with the community.
During the lunch I had a talk with Antoine.
The best thing you can find here is the people. It amazes me each time. There’s no day that pass without somebody starting a new partnership with someone else. It may be just some design collaboration, a logo in exchange of some help with PR, but it’s always wonderful to see people helping each other.
– Antoine – Mutin Palabreur at Mutinerie Coworking Space
As he points out, every community in early stages needs a place, a center to converge to, but after the seeds are planted, the place itself doesn’t make any difference.
“It’s all about culture” says Antoine “we could well move or expand in another part of the city, but the culture we’ve created it’s going to move with us. That’s our most solid foundation, our cornerstone“.
The experience at the Mutinerie was awesome. If you’re passing by Paris and need an internet connection, a desk and some nice people, this spot definitely worth a try. Just thought I’d share my experience here.
Do you have a great coworking story to share? Drop me a line and tell us about it: firstname.lastname@example.org