I find myself alone in the space again tonight, which is up there with Saturday mornings and showers as being among the best times to contemplate. And write blog posts.
I’m sitting on the most comfortable couch in the space which, despite its new brown cover, is still referred to as the “blue couch.”
I took this couch with me when I moved out of House 2.0, the birthplace of Jelly- the East Coast’s first coworking community.
From this couch, I can view most of New Work City’s space. Last week, while on a long phone call, I managed to identify no less than a dozen things that needed fixing or improving. A newly installed sprinkler line that needed painting. An egregiously uneven part of the floor. An open pipe randomly sticking out of a wall that need only be painted green to look like something straight out of Super Mario Bros.
I’m damn proud of the space we put together. For something we had just a few months and a nonexistent budget to put together, the place looks amazingly awesome. But details like these are enough to drive one mad. If New Work City were in the business of selling pristine workspace, it probably would.
Luckily, that’s not what this place is about. For all the attention that goes into the “space” part of a coworking space, it’s really just a medium that allows people to gather and get the things they really want: Collaboration. Inspiration. Friends. Productivity. Coziness.
Nobody likes chicken. What makes chicken great is how you prepare it.
Improvements, of course, must always be made. Complacency is death. We’re going to keep iterating on NWC and making it better and better forever.
But when we make those improvements, we’re making them together, one bit at a time, as we are able. When somebody finds a good deal on something we need, we get it. When someone’s moving and they have a nice spare futon, we grab it.
Does it make for the most coherent, unified interior design? Hell no.
Does it make this place something that’s truly ours? Hell yes.
This place is beautiful not in spite of its little flaws and imperfections, but because of them.
Because it makes the place real.
Nothing was commissioned, ordered brand new in a giant purchase order as part of a giant budget. When you sit in a chair at a desk, you don’t worry that you’re going to scratch it. You settle in and feel comfortable getting right to work.
I recently got to visit a coworking space in another city that had the exact furniture I had dreamed of buying for NWC 2.0. It was super modern, with bright, bold colors, and high-quality materials.
I didn’t like it. Maybe I was rationalizing, but it all just seemed too nice.
If I won the lottery and had tons of cash, I’d make a lot of improvements— but if the place started to feel less like our collective work spot and more like a rich guy’s fantasy, I don’t know that the same kind of amazing people would want to keep coming.
The imperfections and secondhand furniture act as a fantastic filter. If someone’s priorities are focused on the quality of the stuff over the quality of the people, they likely belong elsewhere.
If the Jets play the Patriots, I’m rooting for the Jets every time.
The bleachers are more fun than the fifty yard line.
Below deck is more fun than above deck.
And the people on the blue couch are nothing but smiles.