Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reading :: I'm Outta Here!

I'm outta here! How coworking is making the office obsolete
By Drew Jones, Todd Sundsted, and Tony Bacigalupo

I've mentioned my fascination with coworking and related outworking practices, but I've also complained that I can't find much in the way of serious publications about them. I'm Outta Here! is not exactly a scholarly publication, but as Drew Jones told me, it's a sort of downpayment on the more serious work his group has been developing. Their more conventional book should be out in April; this one is more like snapshots, pensees, "101 stories about coworking." And it's valuable in its own right: although it's not detailed, it captures the zeitgeist of coworking by collecting quotes and documents from a wide range of coworking sites across the world.

In telling these stories, I'm Outta Here! provides a first cut at the many motivations and opportunities represented by different coworking sites. As the authors explain in the Introduction, people work from home, motivated by flexibility, convenience, and autonomy. But working from home often means working alone, without "human interaction, support, structure, and often balance" (p.1). In the many stories they have collected from coworkers and proprietors of coworking spaces, they flesh out some of these many motivations and factors. The stories are human and the wide range of spaces is represented. Some of the history is told here too.

Most importantly for people who are interested in coworking, the book functions almost as a Rolodex of coworking spaces. The authors have visited many spaces and have included contact information of even more. So it shouldn't be a surprise that my copy is heavily annotated. I'll be going through that Rolodex this spring and summer as I continue to get my head around this phenomenon. If you're interested in doing the same, do pick up the book.

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