Technology is changing how we work and disruptive ideas change our habits, save us time and let us being “free”
A startup operates in a fast changing environment, facing new challenges and risks everyday. Especially in the tech industry, it’s important to work fast and be flexible.
The fast rising of startups and technopreneurs have also changed the working space and office environment. Nowadays you don’t really need an office to open a new business. You can start your company from your bedroom and have a team working for you everywhere in the world.
The idea of a physical space is now related to a laptop and a wifi connection. That’s a real revolution: you can save a bunch of money and invest them in things that really matter for you.
But there’s something that even with social media, mobile and wifi you won’t ever have: in person networking.
In fact, as for any kind of business, it is very important to develop a good network of like-minded people and in-person integration is still the most effective way to build long-term relationship.
Following this idea a new concept of offices has born: The coworking spaces.
“Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation.” (Wikipedia)
So the simple idea is to bring people with the same interests together, and enhance connections and new business opportunities. Often, small startups (two members), freelance developers, consultants and entrepreneurs work in a relatively isolated space and so, having the chance to work in an active and lively place makes easier to develop connections and amplify your network.
An example of a coworking space can be WeWork, you can find many of it here in NYC, and own a desk for a convenient price. There are many alternative in New York City and you can find a cool list of these spaces here
Even in Europe this trend is growing fast and new coworking spaces are opening everywhere. One of the most successful in Italy is Talent Garden, and today I am happy to have the chance to interview Davide Dattoli, the founder of this brilliant venture.
Davide, why do you think co-working spaces are so successful today and why so many people decide to work there?
People decide to work in a coworking spaces because the labour world is constantly changing. The number of freelancers and small enterprises is growing and the majority of job doesn’t require the physical presence. More and more people can work from anywhere. All you need is a computer and wi-fi connection. In addition, even if the competition is high, people understand that sharing is the only way to survive.
When Talent Garden was born in 2011, there were few coworking spaces, but each of them was very small and people didn’t think about coworking as a business.. Now, in Italy, there are more than 250 coworking spaces: this is how this trend is growing.
Are coworking spaces really enhancing new business opportunities among startuppers? Did you have some examples of new companies born in a coworking space?
Coworkers chose to work in a coworking because they want to stay with other people and grow together. We have several examples of new companies born in our spaces. Viz & Chips, for instance, is a new startup born in TAG Torino. The founders worked in the same space, back to back, everyone was doing different jobs, and finally they decided to merge their skills to do something together. They are a group of journalists, designers, developers, and they deal with data journalism and infographics.
Many startups work remotely, with team spread all over the world. Do you think this is a trend that will also involve big enterprises?
Yes, I think so. Several studies demonstrate that people are more productive when they can choose where to work and how to work. We have also a project, that is called TagYourOffice: we are trying to spread the voice of smart working. Big enterprise used to come to Talent Garden because they want to learn how creativity, innovation, brain storming and open space could improve the productivity of employees.
You started TAG in Italy and now you’re opening in new countries. What are the main differences you have noticed from an italian and a foreign coworking space?
The main difference is that people abroad used to share ideas more than italian people. When we were born, it was very difficult to convince people who sharing spaces, ideas, projects, wouldn’t damage their business. Luckily, now the situation is getting better and better. Italy is famous for the lifestyle, and that’s what we want to export abroad with our network.
And you? Are you using coworking spaces? Are they helping your startup or business?