Coworking in Salt Lake City is pretty posh at BetaLoft. Here are some photos that I took the other day.
BetaLoft is in this building.
You have to go up the stairs to get there.
There is a TV, so you can play games on the Xbox 360.
There are plenty of comfortable desks and power strips so you can plug in your laptop and work.
BetaLoft is a comfortable and nice place to work. If you are self-employed and need an office and friendly people to hang out with, it’s perfect!
I’m totally stoked about being at BetaLoft today! I rode my bike down to 357 West 200 South and enjoyed the sun and the idea that I would be able to enjoy the day at Salt Lake’s first coworking place. After months of planning, Drew Tyler has finally brought coworking to the Salt Lake Valley!
Back in January, I wished so hard for a coworking place in Utah that it finally came true:
Back then, I said that an hour and twenty minute commute was too long for me to do every day. Since I rode my bike to BetaLoft, it took almost forty minutes for me to get here, so I’ve been proven a liar.
I guess a long commute is only acceptable to me if I’m able to do it on a bike.
If you are self-employed and live in the Salt Lake Valley, come try out BetaLoft for free for the next two weeks:
I found this website for a company that provides virtual offices here in Salt Lake City.
Unfortunately, their website is so unclear that I can’t tell what you get for your $95 a month. It says you have access to day offices and conference rooms, but then it also says that there are hourly charges. Do I have to pay the hourly charge in addition to that 95 bucks a month? The website wasn’t very clear.
I called them, got frustrated with the fact that they wanted so much information from me before they would even answer my questions and hung up on them while I was on hold.
Here’s where my perception of them turned, however. They called me back and were very professionally able to answer all my questions.
My biggest question? Is a virtual office the same as coworking? As far as Davinci Suites is concerned, no.
That $95 a month allows you to use their address as your business address for licensing, mail and such. If you want to use their day offices or conference rooms, it’s an additional $25 to $35 an hour depending on the size of the room. They do have complimentary cyber-cafes that you can use without paying, but they are small, much like an office lunch room.
I had heard rumors of a coworking site in Utah, but it was this Davinci Virtual Offices. They seem professional and a great place if you need some sort of business-like image. If you need camaradarie, however, you’re out of luck.
Yes, that’s right – the March CodeAway event is today! However, if you can’t make it to the super secret location (as like yours truly) you can follow along online in a couple of ways – first I’m embedding a Stickam.com camera live feed into this post. It’s direct from the Matt-Cave (glamorous, isn’t it?). With any luck we’ll also have a live feed coming from the CodeAway super secret location too.
We also have a group chat – just go to http://gabbly.com/codeaway.org . Why Gabbly over other IM? (Update – looks like we can just use the chat from the Stickam widget.) Why use a browser based chat? Couple of reasons:
- No installs. All you need is a browser to participate in the conversation.
- No signing up for chat networks that may not be your favorite (AOL anyone?)
So – even if you can’t be ‘here’ be here! (Update 2007-04-01: The virtual CodeAway went better than I expected. It doesn’t replace actually being in the same room as a lot of bright minds but – in a pinch – the Stickam widgets were useful. Since the event is now over I’ve replaced the flash widgets with a screenshot from Saturday. ):)
Finding a venue for CodeAway has become increasingly difficult. The Sprague Library is great, but we can’t rely on the wireless and we can’t have food. More importantly, we have to set the dates for CodeAway a few months in advance because all the libraries fill up so quickly. We have come to the conclusion that the libraries are nice, but they just don’t work for us.
We need a place that has power, Internet connectivity and allows food. Finding a place that allows all three is difficult, so Mike and I are opening up our house. At least I can depend on my place.
The problem is, I don’t want to post my address on the Internet. You can probably understand why. Here are the details for March’s CodeAway:
Date and Time: Saturday, 03-31-07 1pm-5pm
Location: SupaSecret Location! Contact Laura Moncur to get the address.
Bring: Your laptop with wireless or ethernet connection (we can work with both), treats and snacks, other Utah Geeks
I am just so excited about everything that I saw at SXSW that I can’t wait until the next CodeAway! What happened to you over the last month? What have you been working on? Got any problems for us to brainstorm? This is your chance to connect with other Utah Geeks, eat some bad food and maybe play a little Wii or Guitar Hero!
From Geeksugar comes the Washington Post story of China’s Shanxi province. It’s a place where the local internet cafes were recently shut down due to their ‘bad influence on minors’. While the cafes have closed down, however, a whole new set of information age speak-easies has sprung up to fill the demand.
“Whenever people talked about Internet cafes, they got crazy,” Zhang told the paper. “We came to a conclusion: Internet cafes bring more bad than good to young people. So we decided to shut them down. The harm to children is no less than from drugs.”
Startbucks Wifi – is that like cocaine or closer to heroin?
I’ve been closely following the discussion on Web Worker Daily about the Terra Bite Cafe concept. From the WWD article by Chris Gilmer:
Imagine walking into a cafe, ordering a coffee and a biscuit, grabbing a seat and plugging away on your laptop. Then at the end of the week you drop a $20 into the anonymous drop box. Notice the missing step? The coins and bills to pay for your order when you receive it? Welcome to the Terra Bite cafe. It’s all about pure karma.
In the realm of way-out, maybe someday ideas I’ve thought about doing something like this with CodeAway; instead of monthly, 4 hour social sit-downs we provide a continuous usable space for those laptop workers to commiserate, commune, and ‘commute’. This would be for the freelance journalists, writers, code slingers, designers, remix artists, etc.
But any illusions of techno-utopia are quickly dissipated by some of the articulate comments – which are falling about 50/50 on whether such an idea could work. The biggest hurdle seems to be that this example exists in a rather affluent neighborhood with strong tech sector providing plenty of disposable income. Can a comfortable wifi workspace that gets by on karma survive an economic downturn? Is such an effort doomed to be undone by freeloaders? Thoughts?
Etsy is a cool marketplace that allows individual artisans and craftsmen to sell their customized wares in a community environment. One of the neat projects the team is working on for the coming year is Etsy Labs:
A couple of months ago, Etsy leased its first ever commercial space in Brooklyn, NY. Being the creative folks that we are, you know we would never be satisfied with some depressing, cubicle-strewn, scheisse box of an office in Midtown. Instead, we decided to find a space that will not only serve as Etsy HQ, but that will also be a communal creative space where we could offer resources, support, and classes to our users and the DIY community at large.
It will be home to parties, trunk shows, seminars, workshops, a lending library, and all other sorts of fantastic things. It will have a silkscreen press, a letterpress, film, music, and video production facilities, jewelry making stations, sewing machines, sergers, and so, so much more. We will call it the Etsy Labs, and beginning with a small opening party on February 1st, its doors will be open to you.
It reminds me of San Francisco’s Teh Space; only with fewer laptops and more knitting needles. The goal with any of these efforts is create creative communities that are also self sustainable (a tall order). Best of luck to the Etsy folk.
There has been a change for the January CodeAway event. Instead of having a stand alone meeting we’ll be going to the Pandora Users Meetup. Pandora is an impressive in-browser was of discovering new music and we’re excited to see what they’ve got on tap for the Salt Lake City crowd. The details for the event are:
Where: Salt Lake City Main Library, Auditorium
Address: 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City UT 84111 (801) 524-8200 Google Map
When: Thursday, January 18th at 7:30 PM
Special thanks to Laura Moncur for bringing this to our attention. From the official announcement by Tim Westergren:
This get-together is a free event, open to everyone. It’s a chance for me to share with you our story – where the Music Genome Project came from, how we survived the dot-com collapse and what this last whirlwind year has been like as we approach 5 million listeners. Most of all I’d like to get your ideas and thoughts about the service and where you think music is headed. I’ll also have some Pandora gear for everyone.
Please *RSVP by replying to this email*. You’re welcome to bring guests, the more the merrier… just let us know.
See you there!
Web Worker Daily has a series of thought provoking predictions for 2007. (Of course, this time of year, who doesn’t?) What’s notable is the crystal ball bit about Starbuck launching a series of coworking cafes toward the end. From the piece:
Wish 7: Starbucks introduces a chain of coworking cafes. Instead of jazzy music, customers would hear white-noise style nature sounds like waterfalls or babbling brooks. Wifi would be free, once you joined the coworking club for a reasonable yearly membership fee. Each coworking cafe would include rentable conference and napping rooms–even the most motivated web workers need a rest now and then. Customers could rent the use of large flat-panel displays for an hourly or daily fee. Personal coaches, massage therapists, and tech support specialists could offer appointments to soothe any career, body, or computer problems that arise while coworking. Bonus: a soundproof childcare room would keep the kids busy while Mom and Dad get their work done.
Reality Check: Coworking venues have been popping up in most progressive tech-oriented cities and that will continue in 2007 at both the grass roots and luxury ends of the spectrum, but a national chain with consistent quality and offerings along the lines of what Starbucks brought to coffee houses probably won’t appear for a few years, after sustainable business models for coworking cafes are developed and refined on a local basis.
What do you think? Would you be more likely to leave the comfy confines of a home office for a shop up the street if it was devoted to mobile workers? What kind of needs would such a place have to meet?