Its true. You heard it here second, because it was said first (at least today) by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. John is a Philadelphia resident, and if my networking has served me as well as I think it has, he lives (or at least hangs out) fairly close to my ‘hood. He might even frequent the Starbucks that my girlfriend works at.
And yet, despite a couple of fairly innocuous attempts to contact on my part, he hasn’t returned my notes. C’mon John, it’s just a friendly outreach to find out who my neighbors are. I don’t want to be a creepy stalker-type, so its not like I’m gonna start tossing pebbles at windows and wait for you to answer the door. But you’re a public persona, like it or not. You make money from the fact that people like what you say, and how you say it. I’m just one of those people who happens to be your neighbor. WAVES HI
That’s the end of my “John Gruber won’t answer my emails” rant, and on to my real point: John is right. Working from home totally destroys nights and weekends. It’s hard enough, in this industry, to “turn off” at the end of the day. It’s downright impossible when your work is sitting across the room from you, staring you in the face, waiting for you. “I have an idea right now, no, this can’t wait until monday”, you rationalize with yourself. “I know I should be spending time with my wife/girlfriend/kids, but if I just get this idea out right now…”, you tell yourself. But it’s not healthy, at least not socially, to work from home all the time.
So where do people like us (I’m talking about me and John Gruber, a freelance developer and a freelance writer, but the message applies to anyone who’s a freelance creative of some sort) go? We work from Starbucks. Or some other local cafe. We spend $50/week on lattes, over-caffeinating for the sake of a comfy chair that ISN’T in our house. But we don’t get to really interact with the other patrons…why should they care about what I’m working on? And what should I have to do with their coffee break? Nothing. Coffee shop culture is great when it comes to the work-at-home crowd, but it only serves a single functional purpose: get out of the house (ok, two functional purposes, if you count that cup of coffee).
Enter coworking. Coffee shop culture, bohemian creativity, and migrant work-patterns…meet some of the structure and collaboration of an office-like setting. It’s beautiful, really. Not only are you paying for a space at a desk (rather than paying for overpriced coffee with the hopes of having one of the comfy chairs by the window), but you’re paying for exposure, you’re paying for opportunity, you’re paying for networking. You’re paying for utilities that you don’t have in your house (most likely)…I’m talking about conference space with projectors, white boards, and conference phones. You’re paying for some other cool “community” style resources that really benefit the indie community. Maybe group discounted health insurance. Maybe discounted car-share memberships. Maybe premium or early registration for local indie-run events. These are just a touch on the ideas for what kinds of services that could be offered to an organized, but still independent, group of creatives. And, you’re also put in touch with coworkers around the country…and around the world. It’s like being part of a company that has an office anywhere you travel to, but still having the flexibility of being a freelancer.
So, John Gruber…you’re right. Weekends lose a bit of luster when you work at home. So come work at Independents Hall. Get a chance to turn off at the end of the day. Start appreciating your nights and weekends more. Benefit from the resources that we can offer once we have a solid group of members. We’d love to have someone like John Gruber behind our initiative here. We’d love to have someone like John Gruber supporting the idea of organizing Philly independent talent.
I’d love to get an email from John Gruber saying, “thanks for helping me get my weekends back”.
But this isn’t about John Gruber, believe it or not. It’s about you. Are your weekends worth getting back? Drop in to our meetup on Monday at Independence Brew Pub and see what’s up. I’m pretty sure you’ll like what you see.
[tags]John Gruber, Independents Hall, Philadelphia, Philly, Coworking, coffee shop culture, weekends[/tags]