Back in 2010, Alex Hillman was approached by the people who owned coworking.com about a buyer who had made an offer on the domain that they couldn’t refuse.
They figured they’d rather the domain be put in the hands of people who cared about the movement, so long as they could match the offer price.
Alex threw down the gauntlet on the Coworking Google Group, challenging the community to band together and pledge nearly $10,000 in under 24 hours. The community responded with overwhelming support, easily clearing the hurdle with room to spare.
In fact, one of the biggest debates that arose after the initial round of fundraising was centered on the fact that more people weren’t given the opportunity to contribute. What a great problem to have!
Over the ensuing weeks, long and heated debates were had over how to handle the ownership and management of the domain, which included coworking.org as well. As the movement is decentralized and thousands of people, without any formal decisionmaking body, these conversations unsurprisingly resulted in little decisive action.
Failing at a better consensus, Alex pledged to manage and host the domain on behalf of the movement, putting up a simple site inviting people to learn more about coworking by joining the Google Group or visiting one of the other resources.
What Alex ultimately launched was in line with Chris Messina’s suggestion:
I also would caution against trying to create a massive or feature-rich site on coworking.com. I really like workatjelly.com for its straightforwardness and simplicity — and think that coworking.com should follow this model.
That site lasted about two years in its earliest form before the next major revision.
In March of 2012, I worked with Alex to launch a new design of the site. Upgrades included thumbnails of the core sites and more links to other handy resources some of us had developed.
For the ensuing four years, the site would sit relatively untouched.
As the person who designed that site, I’d like to apologize for allowing it to exist for as long as it has.
There are still a lot of people learning about coworking for the first time out there; I’d love it if the first thing they find about coworking when they search for it is something that represents the movement in a way that does it justice.
I don’t know that anything I create will live up to that standard, but after joining Open Coworking last Fall I decided we should at least give it our best effort.
Over the past few months, in the time I could spare, I began working on a new design for coworking.com. With a few more years of web development experience under my belt, I felt hopeful I’d be able to create something more worthy of such an important domain.
After many revisions and a few rounds of feedback among fellow coworkers, I’m proud to share the new coworking.com!
This site puts the resources first, explains the backstory of how coworking got started, and talks a little bit about the core values. It also features a simple brand for coworking that is being unified across the other sites where possible.
It’s simple, neutral, and tries to convey the spirit behind the movement.
I could go so much further with it, and look forward to continuing to refine it. But, for now, I hope it will be at least a little bit of a better introduction to a movement that has changed so many lives for the better.
Thanks to our supporters
Our supporters are responsible for making it possible for us to dedicate the resources to being able to rebuild this web site; thanks to them for backing us!
We’ll continue to refine the site (please share your feedback with us!) and make small ongoing improvements to the other sites, but we also want to set our sights higher.
Among our next possible areas of focus:
1. A serious overhaul of the Coworking Visa program.
I already have a pretty good idea of how to make tremendous leaps and bounds of improvement here with relatively little effort, thanks to a fortuitous conversation I had with Minna Van from The Network Hub in Vancouver, which has effectively been leading the Visa efforts for the past several years.
It will still require some focus and some technical work, so it will be tremendously helpful if we’re able to recruit the financial help of some more supporters.
2. Better volunteer management.
Dozens and dozens of people have registered over the years to help us in our efforts to maintain and improve the movement’s resources, but we haven’t yet put together sufficient energy to manage those volunteers well.
We’ve got no shortage of projects large and small to work on, but just need to allocate a little more energy to gathering and empowering people.
We’ll look at how to do this better soon. If you’d like to help us, become a supporter or help spread the word to those who might be willing to chip in.
3. So many better resources.
Someone discovering the coworking movement today still must wade through countless wiki pages, Google Groups posts, blog posts, and general noise to be able to take advantage of the collective wisdom that’s been accumulated over the years.
This can all be organized better. Using the Coworking Wiki and the Coworking Blog, we should be able to do a better job of gathering and displaying key information that can help people learn what they need to avoid common mistakes and incorporate healthy practices early.
Want to help?
We could use all the help we can get! There are two main ways to help:
1. Become a supporter!
Annual supporters give us the critical funds we need to be able to continue working on the above projects and more. For as little as $100 per year, you can do a huge amount of good in helping us do what we do. Learn more and become a supporter here!
We’ll be reaching out to potential volunteers in the coming weeks. Register for updates to learn more about how to get involved.
Thanks to all the folks who have helped us get to where we are today. Onward!