I’m writing this post from a cozy East Village cafe called Table 12. With wi-fi, good music, and friendly staff, it’s a great place to sit and write a blog post.
It’s also half a block away from another cafe that closed a few years ago called Gramstand. It was the home base for our budding new community in 2007 and 2008 before we had a space and before we were New Work City.
In the early days, I would trek out to Avenue A and set up shop in the living room-style basement, not knowing who would show up. Sometimes a bunch of fun people would show up, sometimes very few. It was unpredictable. On one particularly gross winter morning, as blankets of sleet were falling from the sky, I headed out fully expecting to be the only one at the cafe that day. To my surprise, Gramstand was packed with coworkers looking to avoid cabin fever.
Now, I only find myself alone in the space during brief periods early in the morning and late at night. When you visit New Work City now, you’re all but certain to run into a bunch of really great people.
A major milestone
Last week, we hit a big milestone: 100 concurrent, subscribed members. That’s a lot of people! After a quiet summer, we saw a huge influx this fall. If you look around New Work City today, you’re certain to see a lot of unfamiliar faces.
It’s a big turning point for me. Believe it or not, I’ve been in emergency survival mode for a very long time now. For years, dating back to the Gramstand days, I’ve dreamed of us having our own space. Now, after a long journey, we not only have that space, it’s increasingly stabilizing. (Knock on wood.) I can’t quite stop holding my breath, but at least I can start thinking about it.
That means I have an opportunity to gradually shift my focus from surviving to thriving. That’s a really, really good feeling.
Setting up for the long haul
100 members means a lot of things. For one, it means we’re at a scale that makes it difficult if not impossible for any one member to know everyone else. It also means there’s a better chance there’s a fellow member you should know that you haven’t met yet. To that end, we’re building an internal member profile directory that will make it really easy for people to connect with fellow members who have shared interests. Sara and Brian have been hard at work making it happen, and the prototypes are already really, really gorgeous, so I’m extra excited about that.
It also means we’re approaching capacity. We’re not there yet, but we’re close enough that we need to start thinking about what it’s like to be full. I’d rather we not have a big waiting list, as being open to all is an important part of who we are. Instead, I see an opportunity for us to find creative ways to tweak how we onboard new members to make our community even stronger and more participatory.
Ultimately, the goal is to get New Work City to be as self-sustaining as possible. Our community has been built, and now it’s time to shore things up and ensure that it’s built to last.
If you’re a member now, or ever have been, or if you’ve played a role in helping us get to where we are today, thank you. I can’t wait to see all the great things we build together from here.