Contact info

Locus Workspace Website:
Location 1: Krakovská 22, 110 00 Prague 1 - Wenceslas Sq.
Location 2: Slezská 45, 130 00 Prague 3 - Vinohrady
Mob: +420 732 501 105, Email:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Locus Does NaNoWriMo

A November 2013 blog post from Sarah Tatoun that was mistakenly never published. As relevant now as when it was written.
Born in the same year- 1999- National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and coworking have, at first glance, nothing much more than that in common. A deeper look, however, shows a common origin: both were born out of the recognition that people are designed to work in communities. Cut off from others, most of us flounder, while often the mere presence of others, even without any active attempt at cooperation, can make the same activities easier- even fun.

The difference between the processes in writing my first two novels  - twenty-five years apart- is a case in point. The first one, written in my twenties, was done at a time in my life when I was particularly isolated. I was living in a new place and had few friends. The only structure I had was the one I tried to build: forcing myself to sit down for a daily two to three hour writing stint. I had some advice from professional writing friends, but they were distant and, in those days before email, not readily accessible. Taking a writing class gave me some contacts and more structure in the way of deadlines and the demands of professional formatting. Still, the whole thing was excruciatingly slow and painful.

Twenty-five years later I was living in a whole different world. I had moved back to the US after nine years abroad- but, via the internet, I was still in touch with friends not only in the Czech Republic, but across the US, Europe and Asia as well. And I had made new friends locally, too. When I heard about NaNoWriMo in 2005 I thought maybe it was time to dust off my writing dreams and an old plot that had been lying around all these years and give it a whirl. So every day for the month of November, I sat down dutifully and churned out my 1667 words- on my way to writing the 50,000 words that mark the lower bound for a work to be called a novel. Only this time, instead of one or two people offering encouragement- and more who were tired of hearing me talk about it- I had an army of thousands of people around the world, all aiming for the same goal, egging each other on with 'word sprints' and challenges, complaining to one another, or offering advice. It still wasn't easy, but it was satisfyingly hard, like running a marathon for which you've been training for for months, not painful. And the story I was writing opened up into something new and unexpected. Five years later, back in the Czech Republic, I used NaNoWriMo again to write a 'prequel'- only to decide that what I had was actually a series of at least five novels.

NaNoWriMo turned out to be just what I needed for writing- but there was still the problem of revising. Once again I was stuck in isolation, trying to put and keep myself on some kind of schedule and finding it hard going. And that's where coworking came in. I started coming occasionally to Locus for various events: movie night, lectures, poker... It hadn't even occurred to me to become a member- until the Friday Critique-Free Writers' Meetups got started. Usually there were at least three or four of us in both the morning and afternoon sessions. After saying what we hoped to accomplish we got down to writing. The sound of everyone else clicking away was enough to keep me on track. I found I was getting more done in a single day at Locus than the rest of the week put together. It wasn't too long after that that I decided to become a member. I bought a 'virtual membership' - one day a month- and paid for extra days so that, with the Friday Writers' Meetup, I was coming two days a week. About six months later I began helping with the management in exchange for a full time membership.

The presence of other people working is always a stimulus to getting things done- still, I find what helps the most is being in a group, all there for the same purpose and with a clear goal for the day's work. So this year for NaNoWriMo we threw open the doors of Locus every Saturday for the month of November to anyone and everyone in the Czech Republic doing NaNoWriMo. Some people came from other cities, most were already living in Prague. Some came every time and some came only once. A total of around fifteen people came to at least one meeting- and three of our members that I know of - perhaps more- 'won' NaNoWriMo in 2013 by writing at least 50,000 words on their novel. And yes, I was one of them, writing the third of my historical series- set, fittingly enough, in 18th century Bohemia.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Regional Accelerators and Incubators

Below is a list of some of the business accelerators and incubators in the Czech Republic and in nearby countries (or else ones that actively target Czech startups). This is a work in progress, so please help me keep the list current and accurate by sending me feedback or leaving comments!

The terms accelerator and incubator are sometimes used interchangeably and sometimes used differently from how I would use them, so take these classifications with a bit of skepticism. This overlap in usage and similarity in experience has me grouping the two together for this blog post. 

For me here are the basic similarities and differences:


Both accelerators and incubators provide shared work space and mentorship to startup businesses for a limited period of time (usually 3-6 months) to help startup businesses success. Both also tend to do this on a competitive basis, providing the space and support for free to the selected winners who are deemed to have the most potential.



Incubators tend to be non-profit entities set up by regional governments, academic institutions, or other non-profit organizations with a mission to help support the startup environment. They generally have some kind of institutional support that allows them to provide the free work space and the mentorship. As such, incubators are not as firmly tied to either the limited time period or the competitive nature of acceptance. Some of them have relatively open acceptance based on university affiliation or some other general requirements, and many will not put strict limits on how long a startup can stay. Although they do not as a rule provide capital to the startups, some do, though usually without strings attached or any ownership stake in the company being incubated. Though acceptance may be in batches on a calendar schedule, it is often on a rolling basis as well.


Accelerators, on the other hand, tend to be for-profit entities. They provide free work space and mentorship AND INVESTMENT in exchange for a percentage of ownership in the company. For accelerators, the competitive nature of entry and the limited time period are essential features of the program. They are gambling on getting that next great startup that will compensate for the loss on most companies they accelerate. The investments tend to be small (5-25,000 USD) as does the percentage of ownereship (5-10%). Acceptance for accelerators tends to be on a set schedule, where all of the companies being accelerated will start and finish together, as would a class of students in the same cohort. Often accelerators will have stages with benchmarks, where additional help and funding will be possible as long as these benchmarks are met. 

But again, this is my usage based on what I take to be the norms. I may not have it exactly right, and certainly many of the players in these industries mix the concepts as they see fit.

The list is organized geographically relative to Prague, since that's where Locus Workspace and our members are located. 


  • Startup Yard
  • (CLOSED) Wayra CEE 
  • InnovaJET (part of ČVUT, technical university)
  • xPORT (part of VŠE, university of economics)

Czech Republic outside Prague

  • Help me add to this list!

CEE Region outside the Czech Republic

  • hub:raum Krakow, Poland (also locations in Berlin & Tel Aviv). Has both an accelerator and an incubator program.
  • RubixLab Bratislava, Slovakia
  • CEE LiftOff Budapest, Hungary (website not working properly, may be ending)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Crowdfunding Portals on the Czech Market

Below are a few crowdfunding portals on the Czech market. I'd like to keep the list current and have some details about each, so let me know if you know of any others or have any comments about the ones in the list. Specifically it would be nice to know their pros and cons and whether they have any particular industry focus.

  • Hithit (Czech, Slovak, English; as of 3 Oct 2015 seems to be the largest and best known)
  • startovač (Czech only)
  • kreativcisobě.cz (Czech only)
  • nakopni mě (Czech only)
  • Everfund (Czech-language only; as of 3 Oct 2015, new on the market)
  • Fundlift (still not launched as of 3 Oct 2015; claims to be first EQUITY crowdfunding platform on the Czech market)
No longer operating:
  • (no longer operating; may have been the first on the Czech market)

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Much has been written about the psychological benefits of coworking and being with others. In my case, it has been personal experience that has convinced me of the advantages.

I moved to the Czech Republic from the UK in 2000, and started working as a freelance editor, journalist and translator in 2002. In my early days as a freelancer I worked from home and didn’t mind; in many ways there was no choice because no coworking spaces existed in Prague back then. Cafés are a favourite haunt of freelancers, but much as I love idling away the hours in Prague’s coffee houses, working in them didn’t have much appeal, because I associate them with relaxation rather than earning a living.

But when I started freelancing full-time again in 2011, after several years working for an employer or regularly for a company on an external basis, I found that working at home didn’t have much appeal either. I had learned to be more disciplined and less distracted over the years, but I had also become much more outgoing and sociable than I used to be. And while I have many introverted personality traits and am happy to spend time on my own, I missed the interaction with people in an office, and the structure and routine offered by such an environment.

Thankfully coworking had then become firmly established in Prague, and I spent time at a number of the city’s coworking spaces. I went through a particularly difficult period in 2012 and 2013, when work from clients dried up. The situation has turned around, but coworking was of enormous benefit psychologically during those challenging days. It was a huge boost to be with others, not sitting at home moping. I also made new friends from different backgrounds and countries. I get a buzz from meeting new people from different places, and coworking was a brilliant opportunity to do so. I also appreciated the fact that I could be with likeminded people, socialize with them and go to lunch with them – without any of the office politics that employees have to negotiate.

The positive environment around me also undoubtedly helped me raise my productivity levels and get more done during the day. I am certain that I would not have achieved as much by working at home. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could balance work and having time for breaks and chatting to other coworkers, and getting to know them.

David Creighton

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Locus accepts Bitcoin and its own new local currency, the Locus Laugh (LOL)

As befits a coworking space, a business with strong associations to social enterprise, community building, crowdsourcing, and other contemporary social ideals, Locus has long been into the idea of local and other non-governmental currencies. At the same time, we've also been cautious and slow about embracing them with anything beyond the non-commital "That's cool!" approval. This is mainly because those of us involved in running the space just don't know enough about it to feel anything but irresponsible doing more, but also because--truth be told--there's hasn't been enough time in the day to think about taking it further. That has changed in the last couple weeks, first with the introduction of the ultra-local currency, the Locus Laugh (currency symbol: LOL), and now with the decision to start accepting Bitcoins for Locus membership. Here's a little background on both.

Locus now accepts Bitcoin

Locus has been lucky enough to have had one of Bitcoins great advocates--Slush--as a member of the workspace during a big part of his time developing the first Bitcoin mining pool (and during a big part of Locus's time as a coworking space). He taught me what little I know about Bitcoin and maybe two years ago we agreed Locus should start accepting this largely unregulated digital currency for small purchases (drinks and snacks). I decided not to accept them for membership in the workspace, mainly in response to Slush's admission that Bitcoin exchange rates are not without the occasional large fluctuation.

I never really took the time to announce it or make it accessible to members, but Slush himself bought drinks and snacks using Bitcoins (back when the exchange rate was a staggering $12 / Bitcoin, way up from the few dollars on the Bitcoin it had recently been and could easily return to). And so, without noticing, Locus collected some Bitcoins (1.191 to be exact). Now, Slush probably ate a couple hundred crowns worth of snacks, but with Bitcoin's success, that's turned into over 4.000 CZK for Locus (now with one Bitcoin trading at over $200). And now I ask myself what I was thinking not accepting Slush's membership payments in Bitcoin (a method of payment he said would suit him). It could have funded a new wing for the Locus library.

Well, today Slush stopped by Locus and we talked again about Bitcoins and membership. I decided to start accepting Bitcoin for any Locus related payment, including membership (maybe violating the sage investment advice to buy low and sell high; or to accept payment in currencies that are undervalued but not in currencies that are overvalued). So now Locus is one of the few businesses in the Czech Republic to accept Bitcoin for all its products and services. And proud of it! Thanks for the inspiration (and help), Slush!

Accepting Bitcoins for membership is exciting and just happened today, but I'm even more excited about Locus's other venture into non-government-backed, sketchy currency, the Locus Laugh.

Locus Laughs (LOL)

Another Locus member (Melvster, who confidently predicts the Bitcoin will soon trade at more than $1000 dollars to the BTC) has a broader interest in digital currency, working to develop web standards that would allow conversion and payment across all sorts of measurable values, such as Facebook Likes or time or whatever else you can think up that can be accumulated and awarded, including traditional government backed currencies (hopefully I've got the Melvster right). A large part of his interest has been in trying to understand less-monetary and more-psychological aspects of exchange relationships that could be built into his models and tools, something I'm interested in, too. 

This has proven particularly relevant in running a coworking space and thinking about how to reward members for contributing to the community while keeping these kinds of contributions outside the domain of what the psychological anthropologist Alan Fiske would call market pricing (where exact quantitative values can be and are assigned to social exchanges), and helping to keep (or move) social exchanges into the domains of communal sharing (basically giving to others without concern for what you get in return, what is standard in some small-scale societies and is still common today in many family relationships), or at least equality matching (basically trading one kind of non-economic good for another without being concerned that they match up exactly on some numeric scale). The idea of a married couple trading ironing for cooking dinner (equality matching) goes down a lot more easily than the idea of each spouse paying the other 10 Euros for their respective deeds (market pricing), even if just cooking dinner for the family without concern for what you'll get in return (communal sharing) might seem the best marker of a healthy marriage. So how to reward community support without shifting the relationship among coworking-space members to one of market pricing, and even try to help move the relationships toward communal sharing? 

Enter the Locus Laugh (LOL). Doesn't take itself too seriously, awarded somewhat freely for good deeds toward the community, but still with value, at least in terms of Locus goods. Laughs can buy Locus products and services and they can be traded among members (or non-members), so that one person who has some Laughs to spare can trade them for a service from another member who's positively Laughless. Of course it's just an experiment and we don't really know how it will work to encourage positive contributions to the communty or to keep those contributions out of the market pricing domain (or instead move good social deeds in that unfortunate direction). Locus Laughs after all don't really get out of the domain of market pricing. They have a monetary value, at least in the world of Locus Workspace, and they are priced in units (which happen to be directly tied to the Czech Crown). But hopefully they're far enough removed and take themselves sufficiently unseriously--you get rewarded for Laughable deeds, and a lot of Locus Laughs are Laughter--that they do a relatively good job of serving their function. And if nothing else, Laughs are fun. They make people smile. LOL.

Thanks Melvster and Slush. And check your LOL Ledger.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nomad Holidays

Below is a wonderful blog post about organizing work-holidays for independent workers by the Czech Republic's own Robert Vlach, founder of na volné noze. Read the original Czech version here.

Nomad holidays

26 September 2012, by Robert Vlach

Translated by David Creighton 

Organising a longer holiday can pose a real challenge to freelancers. But do you know how a holiday can boost your business?

Although it may not seem very obvious, a quiet revolution is sweeping through the labour market. In the USA, 25% of the workforce is now working on a freelance basis, and this number is the same in a number of European countries. This revolution is ushering in new lifestyles, including the freelancer‘s approach to holidays. In this article we’ll look at the main principles and then offer full advice on everything you‘ll need to know about organising holidays abroad for digital nomads.

The problem: irreplaceability

One of the downsides of being a freelancer is irreplaceability. If employees are on leave, colleagues can usually stand in for them, but most independent professionals have nobody to replace them, and they can’t be offline for more than a week (according to recent research, up to 80% of freelancers are in such a position). And what if a long-standing client needs urgent help, or a lucrative project comes in?

Such fears are justified. Self-employed people running small businesses need to think twice before heading off on a break to the middle of nowhere. What’s more, unlike employees, self-employed people have to pay travel costs and run the risk of a considerable financial loss in the form of lost income. In other words, the traditional summer holiday is much more expensive for a freelancer than an employee.

The solution: a nomad holiday

The market is able to find ideal solutions to very tricky problems. When I first wrote about digital nomads, I thought the term meant a fringe phenomenon involving holiday adventures. But I was very much mistaken. Among freelancers abroad, nomadic work is coming to the fore, which is a huge leap in just one year!

Essentially, digital nomads are independent professionals able to work remotely from abroad for their clients, using a laptop or mobile phone. The nomad holiday usually involves an average of two hours’ work a day; the rest of the time is spent like any other holiday – with families, partner or friends. And as with classic holidays, nomads go on trips lasting several days and meet local people, among other things.

A traditional holiday has a different “structure“ from a nomad holiday, but a huge benefit of the latter is that it promotes relaxation, inspiration and ideas, and is an opportunity for nomads to recharge their batteries. And in these respects, traditional and nomad holidays are practically the same. In professions that don‘t require frequent contact with clients (such as translating or programming), the stay can be several months longer, making the holiday impact even stronger. And earnings can be a pleasant surprise during the stay, in line with the well-known Pareto principle, where up to 80% of your income is earned from 20% of your work.

A holiday for nomads is therefore a surprisingly neat solution. It answers the problem of irreplaceability over a longer period and the corresponding impact on income. At the same time, the positive features of a holiday aren‘t lost. You can easily alternate between a traditional and nomad holiday, depending on your situation, taking into account the season, agreement with your partner, etc.

How to organise a group nomad holiday

A good number of people have asked me how I organise the successful nomad holidays about which I’ve just been writing. Over the past few years we’ve developed an approach, through trial and error, that deals with most of the familiar risks and suits those involved. This method can also be used on a wider level, and should be regarded as just one of many approaches to a holiday for nomads:
  1. Why a group? Group dynamics have, over time, become the theme of our holidays. When you put together a group of fantastic people for a month and mix in local friends, you have a recipe for amazing things. Can you remember the last time you spent a whole month in one place with your peers?! It’s a very intense experience and--for all the participants--an enriching one too, with a creative explosion of ideas as well as discussions, trips, shopping, new friendships, and who knows what else.
  2. Organiser On our holidays I take the role of initiator of the entire project. This key role must be the responsibility of someone who is fluent in English, is reliable and trustworthy, and can smooth out problems and minor conflicts.

  3. Holiday dates As the organiser, I have to start with all the date options and then come up with suitable times. I tend to have less work in the winter and summer holidays. So I organise shorter winter breaks of two to three weeks and longer summer holidays of three to five weeks. In summer, it‘s good to go away for at least four weeks because it gives us enough time to make friends with local people.

  4. Destination country My responsibilities also include making a list of possible destinations. Most people want to spend the holiday by the sea, somewhere where it’s warm and quite safe. Ideally, it should be somewhere relatively close at hand, and I comply with these criteria. After this year‘s experience in Morocco, I‘ll leave out the Arab countries. Women are worried about travelling there.

  5. Sending out invites beforehand When I have an idea of where we’re going, I then send out invites to friends. A month, or at best two months, before the date under consideration, I send the list to 120 potential nomads (all members can travel with their partners). The goal is to ensure a number of participants expressing a preliminary interest, defining who will make up the core group.

  6. Core group These are the serious candidates who want to stay for the entire period. They‘re willing to equally split the costs and responsibilities, including for resolving issues. They also share the risks associated with organising the holiday and property rental. The core is made up of three to six people (including me).

  7. Firming up arrangements We confirm the date and place with the core group members. For long summer breaks, we prefer an attractive seaside resort that also offers cultural and other activities, because we would become bored after a week in a small resort. Barcelona and Lisbon are excellent examples of places where you can combine a resort holiday with other activities.

  8. Estimated number of participants The core group is present throughout the holiday, but we also need to have spaces available for those who are with us for a shorter time. When the core comprises five definite people and 20 tentative people, we know that we have to look for a property with a capacity of 10 beds. Seven would be too small (there wouldn’t be enough room) and 15 too much (we would run the risk that we would be unable fill more expensive properties). On the other hand, the more people the better!

  9. Choosing a place The advantage of travel in a large group is that we can afford to pay for very luxurious, centrally located, accommodation, which is just what we‘re looking for. We don’t want to be stuck out in the suburbs or in accommodation with mouldy walls. We look for an airy, bright flat, ideally with a cleaning service, air-conditioning, a terrace, and more than one bathroom. We also look for a property with double bedrooms and a quick, reliable internet connection. All of us have the task of finding accommodation, most often on Airbnb, Homeaway, and Homelidays.

  10. Discussions with the owner We usually choose from a selection of apartments. Beside the price, what‘s important is the communication process with the owners, how quickly they can hand over the property and a willingness to accommodate our requirements. When renting a property for longer periods we can sometimes agree to a discount of up to 30%.

  11. Deposit The core of the group divides the overall accommodation cost equally. The deposit is paid, and the organiser is responsible for paying the rest. The reservation is binding upon everyone, and payments are not refundable if somebody has to cancel and the only option is to find a replacement. The amount involved is quite high, so it pays to consider your plans carefully. We all then buy cheap flight tickets.

  12. Costs for visitors Short-term guests pay more for the beds available than the core group members. This is because they do not bear any risk or additional costs connected with renting the holiday accommodation. Generally we agree on a price of around EUR 20 per person per night, which is similar to the price of a bedroom for 10 people in a cheap hostel. On the other hand we are all together, and visitors can take advantage of all the comforts of property. In addition, they are sharing it with friends, not strangers.

  13. Gender balance It‘s quite important to have a balanced number of men and women, otherwise the holiday doesn’t quite work. I therefore give priority to inviting a couple of men or and a couple of women, so that there is balance. At this stage I’m still fine-tuning the make-up of the group, through personal meetings.

  14. Reservations In the first stage I send those who are tentatively interested an invitation with detailed information and instructions. The reservation goes through the system on a first come first served basis and becomes binding when the full payment is deducted. Everyone can track their reservations and occupancy rates online. This year in Lisbon we were fully booked in a record two hours!

  15. Costs split equally Ultimately, the payments from the short-term guests make the stay cheaper for the core group members, who bear all the costs and risks of the  holiday. This is a good system, and ultimately everyone is 100% satisfied. Once we are fully booked, we spend part of our funds on other items, such as renting a car. It is available, including petrol, to everyone. We also spend money on minor items for the kitchen, refreshments and such things. It is the little details that make the holiday perfect, and we want our guests to feel at home.

  16. Sending out more invitations If there is a lack of interest, all members of the core group send out invitations. We don’t try to have a full house at any cost, but rather our aim is to have a holiday with lots of great people! Having free spaces left is better than a full group that doesn’t work well together.

  17. Before we depart When we reach full capacity, the preparations are essentially finished, although there is work to do a week before departure. At this stage I contact the owner of the property. I check with him/her that everything is in order, that there will be enough keys, beds and tables, etc. Then I send everyone in the group an email with last minute instructions, our telephone numbers, etc.

  18. After we arrive There are almost always some minor niggles after we arrive, and as the organiser my responsibility is to resolve them tactfully with the owner. First of all we check the workspace and the internet (it’s a good idea to carry a spare Wi-Fi router). Then, as soon as possible, I see what’s on offer in terms of local groups  and activities on Couchsurfing. Then we can start meeting the locals! It’s best to do this on the same day that you arrive.

  19. During the holiday We have just one rule: we mustn’t disturb others, and should respect their rights to work and peace and quiet. If people are still up at 4 o’clock in the morning and making a noise, I try to sort this out, but usually people are considerate and tolerant so there isn’t much to deal with. As the organiser, the only thing I have to deal with is buying minor items for the accommodation, and managing the transition when short-term guests come and go. Everybody can get up when they like, nobody is forced to do anything, and organising trips and entertainment is spontaneous. Some people eat out; others do their cooking at home, as they wish.

  20. Departure and settling the bill The holiday accommodation tends to be in my name as the organiser, so I always want to be there when the property is handed over and have assurance that everything is okay. Within a week after we return we settle the bills. If there’s any money outstanding, we divide it up equally between the core group members. And I’m pleased that everything has turned out well!

“I’m back at home after spending three weeks in Lisbon. What was the break like? Inner and outer worlds came together. On the outside, people are just travelling through a new world, meeting people and enjoying life. But at the same time they are changing inwardly, imperceptibly. The idea of coming back from the holiday is an illusion – and it should be, otherwise travellers lose a bit of what they gained while away. The digital nomads were great friends on the journey. I took everything back with me and nothing. And I’m not back –  I’m a step further on.”

What next for digital nomads?

So far, nobody knows, but things are looking up for us. Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing global nomads is the actual – not entirely intuitive – concept, which has almost endless possibilities. It‘s evolving organically through imitation, improvements and coincidental innovations.

Everybody has the chance to  discover something new and share this with others. For example, designer Vít’a Válka travelled with his family around Europe in a caravan and writes about it in his blog. It may be that this trend inspires travel agents to offer packages for nomad travellers. I’d love to hear about your nomad holiday experiences and would be happy to share them on our Digital Nomads page on Facebook.