After my 6 months’ journey through south-east Asia and Nepal, one thing stuck with me: communication is everything. And communication is not always optimal. In the backpackers scene, you get most of your information by talking to fellow backpackers in a random fashion. It’s great, though not always optimal. When talking to locals, there is often a huge language barrier. Once in Vietnam, I felt so happy I could use Google translate to communicate with a technician about my broken scooter. Software really helps.
After a couple of months traveling I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Make something new that people can benefit from. I started seeing the world as flawed and improvable. For example: I couldn’t find a hiking buddy for a though trek in Nepal. Why wasn’t there a good system to chat with other people that were looking for trekking buddies? Another problem I saw frequently, was that you couldn’t really communicate with backpackers in a hostel before you arrived there. Why not? Couldn’t there be a system for that? I had lots of other ideas for projects. Like a solar panel van, a self-sufficient tree-house, and a scooter and cycle sharing platform. Anyway… my mind burst with ideas. But one idea has stuck: a platform for communities to thrive.
After 6 months of travel, I decided I wanted to work from different places in the world for a while. Like a digital nomad. So I worked a month from Chiang Mai, Thailand, then Groningen, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Lisbon, all for about a month each, and eventually moved 3 months to Tarifa, Spain and 3 months to Bali. Everywhere I went, I worked from coworking spaces, and I think they are amazing. Though, improvable!
I paid a lot of attention to the communication software used in coworking spaces. Some coworking spaces used Slack, some used a Facebook group, and some had nothing.
To have no communication software at all, is, obviously, the worst. The only way to get to know people is by talking to them randomly. And this is not really efficient. Coworking spaces are big, you can’t talk to everyone! There needs to be a way to get to know the people that you’re likely to learn from or collaborate with more quickly!
Some coworking spaces have Slack. Level up! It’s already a lot quicker than nothing to get a little bit of a grasp of what people are doing, and it’s also easy to ask around to more people at the same time. But Slack is rather impersonal and chat-oriented. Most people don’t even have a profile picture, and when you’re new, they’re just a bunch of names on a screen to you. There needs to be a quicker way to get to know specific people.
Some coworking spaces use a Facebook group to communicate. In my opinion this is equally good as Slack, if not worse. The biggest difference as opposed to Slack is that it has a post system with comments instead of group chats, which makes most posts more goal oriented. The big drawback to Facebook Groups is that you don’t really want to be on Facebook when working. It’s very distracting and has a lot of clutter that you don’t want to have to go through when all you are looking for is interaction with your fellow coworkers.
There is also LinkedIn, which is a lot more professional and work-oriented, but I never used it in coworking spaces. It’s a platform with great overviews of what people do, but when you arrive at a new coworking space, how quickly are you going to get everyones LinkedIn?
For me, the conclusion was very obvious: there needs to be a better platform for communication in working environments. So I started building.
When I’m in a co-working space it’s important for me that:
- I can easily ask questions to everyone or a specific subset of people
- I can find people in my skill area quickly and talk to them, network with them
- I get notified of all events that potentially interest me
For all these reasons, I built, and I built.
I believe you can find collaborations on LinkedIn, but those people you find will often be far away. I believe that local collaboration is always better than distant collaboration.
So I kept on building.
I believe in a platform specifically oriented on connecting people in coworking spaces. A platform that makes it easier for coworking spaces to build an active community instead of just being a boring office.
A platform that makes finding the people you’re looking for a piece of cake! What if when someone enters a community of a coworking space, he or she has to fill in a few questions (customly crafted by the coworking space owner). What if the member list has a great filter system to filter through the answers to those questions. What if people have a profile on which they can write a short story about themselves for others to get to know them (and their professional goals).
Wouldn’t that be great? It’s here: Communify
Get it for your coworking space now!
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