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Agile Computing: Article

New Wave of Co-working Spaces and Collaboration

There are a lot of different options for where you to work on your startup

Taking cues from the shared art spaces and studios that have sprung up in many major cities, there is a new way that entrepreneurs, programmers, makers and inventors are working - the collaborative workspace.

Instead of being confined to a home office or a local Starbucks, these people are flocking to workspaces like Bucketworks in Milwaukee, Launch Pad in New Orleans and Geekdom in my hometown of San Antonio (launched by the founders of Rackspace) to build their business and flex their creative muscles.

Many people have found advantages to working out of a collaborative workspace, and here are some of the reasons I am a member, and work out of Geekdom, after my day job.

Get Out Of The House
There are a lot of different options for where you to work on your startup, but working in a collaborative workspace gets you out of the house and away from your creature comforts and distractions. There is something about going to a different location to work: when I set foot in Geekdom I am in a mindset that it is time to work, whereas coming home means it is time to watch basketball and relax.

Like-Minded People
Having a concentration of people in one area with similar passions and goals is a huge asset of the collaborative workspace. While your friends and family will be there to cheer you on in your personal life, the people at the workspace are in the trenches with you. They can directly relate to your problems and frustrations and do so with a true understanding of the struggles you are going through. This environment is very helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs as they go through the ups and downs of starting a business.

Helping Hands
Instead of working out of a coffee shop where you might not know the expertise of the people around you, a collaborative workspace gives you the ability to learn about your peers' skills and talents. While working out of Geekdom, I came across a particular issue with WordPress that I did not know how to solve. I was able to look up a WordPress expert in the member directory, and he gave me information that took me on the path to resolving the issue. There is a spirit of community and a willingness to lend a helping hand at collaborative workspaces - people help out others today because they might need help tomorrow.

Learn New Things
Collaborative workspaces are not simply places to work on your idea; they are also places where you can learn new skills. Most spaces offer a range of classes that can include programming, graphic design and marketing. But instead of taking a class focusing on theories and abstract ideas, many of the classes are offered by community members who try to dole out real world, practical information based on experience.

More Stories By Garrett Heath

Garrett Heath blogs for the Rackspace and has experience as a Technical Project Manager in the cloud. He enjoys writing about how the cloud is spurring innovation for startups, small businesses and enterprises. Follow him on Twitter @pinojo.

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