... I'd like to offer another perspective (as a coworker).
For some background, I'm working on Loosecubes, a website meant to connect independents and travelers to the right coworking spaces and desk shares, and to facilitate connections between spaces and the people working in them. We have a basic prototype out and are working hard on the second phase (thanks to the many of you who've been beta testers and provided feedback!). So in some ways, I am not the typical coworker; however, in many ways I am (if there is such a thing).
In the last two weeks, working at New Work City, I have:
- sat next to a publicist for startups who gave me some incredibly valuable advice for about a half hour
- had a successful facebook application builder review our wireframes and offer feedback
- been introduced to a NY Times tech reporter and numerous bloggers
- had my blackberry fixed by a handset expert who was able to talk me off the ledge after mine exploded
All this for the price of a basic part time membership!
If coworking spaces are able to communicate these types of experiences to people - using community members to do so - any business person is going to come to the same conclusion I have: the economic benefit to my business is 10x what I pay to come to New Work City. If you added up the cost to me (as a understaffed startup entrepreneur) to track down a publicist, developer, reporters, and tech support on an ad hoc basis (not to mention the cost and time of engaging these services or spending time to meet with them and develop trusting relationships outside the workplace), it would be astronomical. In fact, I probably just wouldn't do it, and my business would suffer because of it.
I think if people are considering business centers, staying home, or not willing to pay for memberships, it's because we're not 1) building communities that collaborate or 2) our members are not communicating clearly to the outside world the incredible economic opportunity coworking creates for them.
Maybe the next wave of adopters needs to be recruited on economic, not strictly personal/lifestyle terms.
(Just my two cents!)
Campbell McKellar www.loosecubes.com