G: You've spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley. How does your vision of community contrast with the larger startup community?
In Silicon Valley, many of the companies I get to spend time with realize that in order for them to grow and thrive it's not a competition of ideas, it's just execution. That meritocratic idea opens up dialogue and creates a little more sense of community across disciplines than I've seen in other professional work environments. G: It seems counter intuitive to say Silicon Valley is not a place of competing ideas, but it's actually a place of execution. What do you mean by that?
Everybody's got the same ideas. You can ask any VC — it might be a great idea, but what's your plan and how are you going to execute it? And at the end of the day you can have two identical ideas hitting the marketplace at the same time — consider Uber and Lyft. Uber blew past Lyft with a lot of early investment while Lyft kept grinding it out. Now who is surging? Why? Because Lyft executed in a more authentic way than Uber did. G: Talk to me about the future of coworking and your new effort with Fueled Collective. K:
Like any business model, over time you need to change. The needs of our members have changed. When we started CoCo it was more of a cause. We had to convince people to pay to work in an environment when there was abundant free space to do so. We were borrowing from coffee shops. Over time cowork has become a commodity. So the question becomes, what is unique and distinct about cowork in the future?
What we've observed is that some of the greatest connections, relationships, and community happen when we gather socially. The intersections between what's happening culturally, economically, and socially are blurring together in a single set of activities. The problem is there's nowhere, no space, for that blur to occur.
The intersections between what's happening culturally, economically, and socially are blurring together in a single set of activities. The problem is there's nowhere, no space, for that blur to occur.
What we see is that they're people who have accepted co-working as place for them to work and then there are people who don't have a physical working space need. And so there's a large group of people who are excluded from the conversation and the power of community.
So we're asking "Why is an office space dictating who can belong or not?" So we thought, let's put a social club on top of a co-working and invite more people to participate in the community. That's one thing that will make Fueled Collective distinct in the future.
For more, check out:
+ CoCo shared-workspace founders got 'fueled' for the future of 'Fueled Collective'
+ Watch Kyle's TEDxFargo talk: Our Cultural Identity Crisis
+ Follow Kyle @kcoolbroth