Sydney Needs Coworking Space

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Sydney’s Tech community is starting to pick up pace and we really need to nurture it.

Keep up the events like Web Jam, Bar Camp, WSG, etc!

But we need more.

We need a co-working space where geeks, freaks and nerds a-like can drop in occasionally and ‘be in the space’.

Please make some comments to add your ideas on how it could be done.

I’ll go first!

25 Comments so far:

  1. Mick says:

    My two ideas.

    1. Pollenizer, where I work, works with web startups. We might get an office over the next 6 months and it would be great if we can afford some extra space for co-working. Maybe just a shared common table. If we’re there, it’s open. If we’re not, it’s not.

    We could even make it ‘Throw in $5 every time you are there to pay for wifi, coffee, rent, etc.”

    2. “We’ll wire the governer!”

    We could ask the govt to subsidise it. Like the ATP but in the city, smaller and you pay $10 a day for a desk and wifi. Maybe some startup runs it.

  2. Pierre says:

    I would love to be able to “rent a desk” in a space where the people working around me are from the same industry (Tech).

    It would be like going to work and networking at the same time, every day. Love that idea.

  3. Mick says:

    But Pierre, what would you pay for it? And what for?

    Can someone run the numbers quickly?

    Would you expect a permanent desk? Some space to store stuff?

    To keep it simple it’s got to be a powerpoint and wifi, a desk and a chair. Next to a cafe.

  4. Pierre says:

    I would pay up to 1$/h but no more (so an average day of work would cost me about 10$).

    Need a proper website where i can book my office space. Every user of the service has an account there. You can see who will be in the office when. You need profile pages for users to see who they are. So you can manage to be in this “office 2.0″ at the same time than someone you’d like to meet or that you need the skills of…

    Good coffee next door is a must have.
    Need a printer, a fax and a scanner.

    Need an isolated room for confidential meetings and talks…

  5. Tim Lucas says:

    I agree!

    I organised a few meetings last year with people mainly from the Rails crowd to get one started with the purpose of 1) gauging interest, 2) seeing if we could start it w/o a main driver, 3) if not 2, seeing if anybody wanted to make a business out of it and get the ball rolling.

    Plenty of interest just no-one wanting to make a business out of it.

    We’ve just got an office for vtalk via SegPub dubbed SegSpace. It’s got room for half-a-dozen or so permanents but we’ve yet to fully open it up. At the moment we’ve got 3 startups (including vtalk) working there, with a few more interested. Later this year we’re looking and getting more co-working going on, especially as Nerf Palace is about to close down to a close of lease.

    The opportunity is ripe for a dedicated co-working space in Sydney.

  6. Hunter says:

    A co-working space was being tossed around by a group us a few months backs. Things got in the way and didn’t really happen but got as far as looking for properties and some financials. Part of the energy went towards Jelly which was a brilliant idea along those lines.

    I’ve a client with number of spare desks (and a killer view) that is interested in filling the space. Might fit the bill.

  7. Michael Air says:

    We all come work at Tangler’s office. Sounds great to me :)

    Seriously, a great idea. There’s always the part time office places – pay a small monthly fee, can have X guests and get a workspace + wifi.

  8. Given the increasing frequency with which I find myself in Sydney, I am totally in for this. I’d even be prepared to pay for permanent, part-time space.

    It’d need to be set up properly and run well, like Indy Hall or Citizen Space. So not someone’s messy startup office with nasty furniture.

    Going to Citizen Space last year was an eye-opening and extremely fun experience. Sydney could be just as good.

  9. I think Pierre’s pricing is a little off, but otherwise he’s on the ball. See http://citizenspace.us/pricing/ and http://www.indyhall.org/pricing/

  10. A few ideas.
    One would see some folks BUY a workspace. Long story short, set up a unit trust, buy a workspace, share the office, repayments=rent, negative gear the whole thing, needs a solid mechanism for selling out/buying in/subleasing/transferring access. Potentially a nice investment strategy.
    Two would be a shared rental.
    Three would see critical mass of hirers sign up to the extent that someone can set it up as a business.
    Four: we negotiate some kind of group deal with Bureaux http://www.bureaux.com/
    (Wrote this after a beer!)

  11. Matthew Hall says:

    Shouldn’t we get @Warlach into this – he is in the commercial property field at the moment.

    I agree that a property trust to buy a space would be a brilliant idea. Then just buy/sell units as your money permits, with ad-hoc transfer of rights by the hour or day (with or without compensation). Just like the time share guys are doing now here.

  12. Pierre says:

    During quiet hours (early mornings 8-10….) the office space could be use to give classes, workshops, training… (e-business, internet, digital photography…).

    We could probably find a lot of different skills within all the users of this shared office. To have them pass on their skill giving classes to external people could be a way to pay the rent / bills…

  13. Mick – awesome idea mate. I’d love to help out how I can – space or $. Brain too tired after J1 all week in SF to think now, but we used to be _in_ a coworking space (Sunshine Suites) in NY who had a lot of cool ideas. Biggest problem becomes security (physical and virtual) once you get beyond ‘mates’.

    Why don’t we organise a night to brainstorm it once I’m back in Sydney? I’ll volunteer some space and beers for the brainstorming night – Atlassian’s office and fridges :)

    Sometime the week of the 25th?

  14. Tobi says:

    I partially agree with Simon Sharewood. Any setup of a workspace should be handled professionally via a trust or any other business format. On the other hand the challenge will be handling and minimizing any financial risks.

    One way of handling the risk is to “hand it over” to established businesses or institutions. In the last few months I experienced a rising interest within the IT Consulting and Telecommunication Industry (especially the big players) to learn more about and understand latest web business models, patterns and technologies (maybe it is just the position I am in at the moment). The IT (Enterprise) Consulting Industry for example is forced to productize their services (mostly by acquiring new businesses) or drive innovation due to shrinking margins as a result of entering competitors from overseas. The telecommunication industry (maybe more in Europe and the US) faces a similar situation. Increasing competition equals shrinking margins and turnover, which can be compensated by innovation.

    So, if we can make the open space / coworking space attractive to the consulting and telecommunication industry I am confident by showing them a return (such as access to insider information, trends, talents etc.) we might be able to get some big sponsors on board.

    Happy to help driving the idea of an open space / coworking space in Sydney utilizing my contacts in the consulting and telecommunication industry.

  15. And in case you’re not already there, the very active global coworking community on Google Groups – http://groups.google.com/group/coworking?hl=en

    All the expected suspects from the US are there as well as a rich mix of others including those from the active Melbourne coworking space.

  16. I’ve been into researching this stuff for a while. I was considering it as my next project until the Atlassian gig came along. I’ve picked up a few things that’ll bootstrap your starting point a ways. Happy to catch up and spill the beans some time!

  17. Mick says:

    Some software to help;

    http://prminc.com/deskflex.shtml

    Also, we have a space that might work. I’m looking into it.

    Anyone interested in buying a desk for 3-6 months?

  18. Justin says:

    I’ve just arrived in Sydney – I’m a web developer from the UK – I need need somewhere with internet/desk/chair so if anyone has any space available, please message me :)

  19. Rai says:

    What can I do?

  20. Mick says:

    I put a bit of info on the Sydney page on the Coworking wiki.

    Please add to it there and not on this blog;

    https://coworking.pbwiki.com/CoworkingSydney

  21. Jeremy says:

    Hiya, did this ever go anywhere? I’d be interested in participating.

  22. Mick says:

    We have a few options that we’re looking at. Hopefully we’ll have it finalised pretty soon.

    If you’re interested, email me;

    mliubinskas gmail

  23. andrew says:

    Hi Mick

    Just been reading all the comments on your co-working business idea. Did you start anything in the end?

    I am opening a co-working business called CO-WORKA in Dee Why Northern Beaches in March 2010.

    http://www.co-worka.com.au

    Its a great concept which is popping up all over the world.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thanks

    Andrew

  24. Hi everyone,
    We have recently opened a coworking space on the Northern Beaches of Sydney (Dee Why to be exact). We’re called CO-WORKA and its a creative space for freelancers, developers, startups, designers.
    Have a look at our website for more details.
    All the best

    Andrew

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