Jay Cross
Jay Cross

New blog
Links & more

Subscribe with Bloglines
Enter your email address to subscribe to Internet Time Blog.

Demographics is destiny
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Mo-working is on the rise. More and more consultants and corporate types work at client sites or from home offices. The economic downturn and the trend toward outsourcing have created legions of free agents. Knowledge workers are no longer tethered to buildings.

Unless you like noise and sweet, overpriced coffee, Starbucks is not a workable substitute office. If a new baby just moved into your home office, good luck concentrating on work. Besides, lots of people enjoy the social aspects of work; for comaraderie, a friendly break room beats an empty kitchen.

This afternoon I met with someone who's going with the trends rather than fighting them. Neil Goldberg is the founder of Gate3 Workclub. Imagine a workplace with sunlight streaming in, lots of conference rooms, modular office set-ups, a learning center, a cafe, oodles of Herman Miller furniture, T-1 access for all, a sunny rooftop, and lots of friendly people scurrying around, but no boss. That's the Workclub.

Still undergoing some finishing touches, the club should be up and running within a month. I can imagine this set-up appealing to a wide range of the dispossessed. For example, if you're getting your own business off the ground, Gate3 could be the address on your letterhead. More importantly, it's where you'd talk to colleagues. I bet a barter system crops up, e.g. I know marketing and you understand taxation; let's swap some expert advice.

Gate3 has a lot more appeal than the rent-an-office suites I've visited. Those seem to fill up with ersatz financial planners, multi-level marketing schemers, and other undesirables. The "offices" provided by outplacement firms are worse. ("Oh, boy, a chance to use the phone and hang out with the jobless.") At Gate3, you can order a latte or have a massage. The ambiance is very California.

Gate3 is in the happening town of Emeryville, home of Pixar, Chiron, GBN, and innumerable artists' lofts and software start-ups.

Will individuals pay the fees for something like this? I think so. We talked about implementing social networking software to enable Workclubbers to leverage one another's contacts. Make the link, meet in the networking room at the Workclub. I wouldn't be surprised if some corporations didn't buy some memberships, too, for it would be a good way to keep workers who don't enjoy working from home from bolting.

I've just started reading Christopher Alexander's The Nature of Order. It's a little slow getting started, and you have to get used to CA's view that architects are applying their theory of the cosmos to inject life into buildings. Nonetheless, I'm confident Chris would like the Gate3 Workclub. It's a beautiful idea in a tasteful yet functional building.

I'll blog more about Gate3 after my next visit. Neil's accepting applications now. If you call Gate3 (1.510.868.8180), tell them I sent you. I may want to hold some classes in the big room downstairs or perhaps take advantage of the usability lab.


Post a Comment

<< Home

About Us | Contact Us | Home |

Powered by Blogger

Copyright 2005, Internet Time Group, Berkeley, California