One of the decisions I made to start the year was to find a way for Living for Monday to move into one of the coworking spaces around Atlanta. I thought it would be a good move for us because 1) Coworking reflects the new world of work we refer to so often at Livingformonday.com; 2) 1/4 of our target audience consists of young professionals in tech companies and startups, many of whom work from coworking spaces; and 3) I believe being closer to the city reflects the way young professionals want to work — in communities that are accessible, walkable, green, and encourage interaction with our neighbors.
We applied for free space at Hypepotamus and scholarship space at Atlanta Tech Village. I wasn’t sure if we would have the opportunity to move into either one, but I figured it was worth the shot.
Luckily, we landed a spot in Atlanta Tech Village, which Josh and I were very excited about. We’ve now been here two full weeks and I figure it’s a good time to do a basic review of what we’ve gained, learned, and lost as a result of our move.
First of all, we’ve gained an incredible sense of community. Atlanta Tech Village has become very well known around the city, and in many ways they are at the center of much of the startup activity in Atlanta. Being a part of the Village has made us feel a part of the larger startup movement here in the city, which contributes to our passion for our work. I’ve also felt much more “normal” since we moved in here. As an entrepreneur, it can be hard for some people to relate to the way I work and challenges I face day to day. Working from ATV gives me much more of a sense of normalcy because I’m surrounded by so many other entrepreneurs facing similar challenges.
The sense of community has combined with our narrowed focus at Living for Monday to breathe new life into our work. At the end of 2013, we reached a point where we were tired, distracted, and losing momentum. This month has been the exact opposite. Being surrounded by our target audience, focusing on the single product we want to build the core of the business around, and working face to face has given us a ton of energy. That energy has led to much more momentum and shared progress…
Which brings me to my next point. Josh and I have collaborated much more since we moved into the Village. Working face to face, while perhaps not permanent, is almost certainly a key to success in getting our current project off the ground. We have functioned as a much more high performing team since being able to collaborate spontaneously as we need help throughout the day. Ideas flow more readily, and I’ve gained a sense of shared accomplishment for Josh’s progress as well as my own. Learning our work patterns in person will help us design for what will in the future be a remote team environment as we expand beyond Atlanta.
The Village also gives us access to people, resources, and organizations which would be less visible or more of a pain in the tush to get to were we not here. David Cummings has been kind enough to personally give me two separate tours of the Village since I got here. I’m not sure if that is normal or not, but it’s made me feel right at home from day one. He introduced me to other founders and employees around the building as we checked out creative standing desk hacks. He also was kind enough to give us a tour of the first floor to be completely renovated. Check it out. If all of that weren’t enough, many of the guests we had asked to be on the podcast this year are in the building and we already see several potential partnerships in the other companies in the building.
Finally, the vision the Village team have put together for the renovations and finalized workspace truly represent the future of work environments. As Josh and I toured the fourth floor, I mentioned that traditional businesses almost certainly would not want their employees to tour this building. Any employee working in a cube farm who came to visit the Village would go back to her cube and realize what is really going on in the world of work. I can’t imagine her being happy about her current work arrangement after that realization. I believe the Village is setting the standard for what work environments of tomorrow will look like. Any organization who chooses not to invest in their environment will continue to fall behind the standard.
I was supposed to hit on what we lost since moving in here… And the simple fact of the matter is that we haven’t lost much of anything as a result of our move. That may change over time, but in our first two weeks, I’ve seen nothing but upside. If we can accomplish our first quarter goals, I think we’ll continue to associate our ongoing success with being a part of such a great community.
Have you been to Atlanta Tech Village? What did you think about the building and vision? Do you want to come visit? I’d be happy to show you around one afternoon. (You can also stop by on Fridays for Startup Chowdown.)