How Cobot gets Coworking Management: It’s Made of People

I was just tipped off to Cobot (thanks to Allen at Centernetworks). In the last 2 years, I’ve evaluated a LOT of options for improving the management of IndyHall. None of them have fit the bill.

All of the issues stemmed back to the same thing that is wrong with most coworking spaces: the focus of the software is on the desks instead of the people.

Cobot has found a way to strike the balance between functionality that helps a coworking space run (like analytics and billing support), but also paid careful attention to the needs of the people in the space, helping them get signed up, oriented, and solve their own problems so we don’t have to do it for them. They even have a support ticket system for our members when something goes wrong. Even the pricing model is based on the members instead of the desks.

This is smart. Very smart.

Being people oriented is what’s gotten IndyHall as far as it has, and seeing software that supports that is extremely exciting for me.

Even more exciting, is software that is designed to help people get into the mindset of being people-oriented…if they aren’t already. I think that software that helps train people into good habits instead of reinforcing bad ones is great software.

Feature-wise, it’s not quite there for what we need, but I’m going to be paying very close attention to this venture because it’s got the right direction. Our feature needs are what they are, and while I hope they can support them, I’m much more interested in how they continue in the direction they are going where everything else I’ve evaluated in the last 2 years has totally missed the mark.

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  • cobotme

    wow, thanks a lot for the praise. we only (silently) launched a few weeks ago (after a few weeks of development), so we just got started. we are aware there's a lot of work ahead for us to make this useful for more coworking spaces. it's interesting to see that you like our people centric approach – we actually never thought of doing it any other way. the reason we created this was to make running our own coworking space (http://co-up.de) easier and i guess there it's all about the people already.

    anyways, i'd love to hear what kind of features you are missing.

  • http://www.dangerouslyawesome.com alexknowshtml

    I can tell that what you built “just made sense” to you guys. It felt very natural, and emergent. I totally agree that people first should be “the only way”, but sadly, it's not. A system like this could guide more people that direction though!

    The main thing that keeps us from being able to use anything is that our model is a hybrid of recurring monthly fees + daily rates. I've yet to see something that handles that well.

    The other thing is related, but far less critical: our membership levels that aren't full time need to make a reservation, and memberships have a certain number of reservations included…anything above and beyond is a reduced day rate. The easiest way to think about it is like a cell phone plan: you get X minutes, and if you go over, its $Y per minute.

    A member manager with the ability to manually add a-la carte line items to their bill would make Cobot a great member manager, point of sale, communication tool. If we can help (including throwing some resources at it), we'd love to.

  • http://twitter.com/trek Trek Glowacki

    What a freaky moment of deja vu. It looks nearly identical to the system we built to manage the Workantile Exchange. We both independently picked the same stock HTML template (http://templates.arcsin.se/demo/simple-organiza…). awkward turtle. But still cool to see how someone else solved similar problems!

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