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6 conversations I’ve had about the future of Indy Hall

34 minute read
by Alex Hillman

A little over 3 weeks ago, I published a lengthy but important post about the future of Indy Hall.

If you haven’t read it yet…it’s a pretty important prequel to reading THIS post, so please take a few minutes to click the link above and read that post carefully before you continue here. It’s cool, I’ll wait.

….

….

….

Done? Awesome.

From the moment I hit publish on that piece, I felt a huge sense of relief. For one, I HATED keeping this information private, and having it out in the open was where I’d wanted it to be all along.

But in the days and weeks following I was reminded of why I’m so thankful and proud to be a part of the this community, and that I’m not alone in creating the future of Indy Hall.

I personally feel good about what I’ve heard and digested as these conversations unfolded, and I want to share some of my own synthesis here.

In the coming weeks, my goal is to shift from conversations towards action. And at the end of this post, there are a few opportunities to continue the discussion together, offline.

It starts with gratitude.

Far and above, nearly everyone has expressed gratitude for my decision to be transparent in the face of something complicated and messy. Frankly, it wasn’t easy to lay out the full range of emotions I’d gone through prior to that post…from confusion to frustration to disbelief, before I found myself in a more peaceful place to process the facts.

I’m a firm believer that you get what you give, often in multiples. I feel this way especially about Philadelphia, a city that I joke “loves you back 10x if you show it you care, but if you show it the slightest glimmer of hate…prepare to get punched.”

This experience so far has shown me that by putting grounded positivity and optimism out into the world, that’s exactly what I’ve gotten back.

My original post was meant to share some specific information and make one thing clear

We will not “react” to an ultimatum. We’ve been handed a timeline to operate on, but that doesn’t mean we can stop thinking strategically about the long term.

As Indy Hall continues to evolve, our success depends looking forward and being intentional, while remembering everything we’ve learned about what has helped our community thrive.

What that in mind, here’s a few of the kinds of conversations I’ve had, along with some of my own initial thoughts.

  • Conversation #1 – “Let’s crowdfund the down payment and buy the building!”
  • Conversation #2 – “I’ve got a creative business idea to help Indy Hall make more money.”
  • Conversation #3 – “Are we going to move? Where would we move to?”
  • Conversation #4 – “I’ve got Philly’s next hot neighborhood – want in?”
  • Conversation #5 – “Let’s use this as an opportunity to fix some problems”
  • Conversation #6 – “Whatever you decide, I’m on board.”

Conversation #1 – “Let’s crowdfund the down payment and buy the building!”

Lots of people – and not just Indy Hall members – have come to me with a sketch for crowdfunding a down payment to purchase our building. And not just crowdfunding…I’ve heard some other very creative models for buying our current space, too! But crowdfunding has been far and above the most common variation, so I’m going to focus on that here.

I’d said in my previous post that I didn’t think that a purchase made sense, and then later edited to say it was still possible, but I didn’t really get a chance to expand more on those thoughts.

If we back up from the situation at hand, I think it’s useful to remember that we “crowdfunded” the opening Indy Hall’s first location on Strawberry Street in 2007. Through membership prepayments and our invention of our basic membership for coworking, we were able to raise nearly half of the budget we needed to open our doors. More importantly, it gave our community a tangible activity to rally around. The money was just a piece of the equation – it was peoples’ participation in the process that made our launch successful and established our community’s culture from the very start.

Instead of fitting out an office and then saying “come over, we’re ready for you now!” we approached the effort more like an old fashioned barn raising.

And then when we moved from our original office into the second floor of 20 N 3rd Street, we repeated the process. Without membership prepayments AND real people with skin in the game helping make it happen, we wouldn’t have expanded.

So, if I’m such a crowdfunding hipster, why haven’t we launched our Kickstarter campaign yet?

There’s a lot to unpack here, and it’s got a lot less to do with coming up with a $700k+ down payment for a commercial mortgage than most people think.

For the sake of argument, yes, it’s definitely possible for us to mortgage our current location’s $3.3MM asking price…for about the same monthly payment (and maybe even less than) we current pay in rent.

I’m extremly confident that we could creatively crowdfund a down payment, especially if we pursued some kind of equity component that’s compliant with the JOBS Act.

And while we’re talking about equity, I’ve thought a lot about how transformative it could be for Indy Hall AND our community members to collaboratively build equity in an asset like a building. For our entire history, we’ve invested heavily in the intangibles: social capital, human capital, knowledge capital, etc.

For the last few years that I’ve been having serious conversations with lenders about the possibility of buying our space, I’ve thought about what it could look like to create a community owned and operated fund, one that thoughtfully blends financial capital with our already thriving stockpile of other capital forms.

Imagine: With Indy Hall as a primary lease holder, our membership dues could potentially create INCREDIBLE amounts of long term value. I think about getting to a point where we’ve paid enough into our principal that we have an asset worth borrowing against, and the potential to use that to invest in yet another community-powered project.

It’s easy to get excited the further I let myself wander down that rabbit hole.

I know this is a great idea, and I believe in pursuing it.

I also know that if we continue to have the kind of economic impact we’ve been able to generate to date, the problem we’re in now has the potential to follow us.

But…

Preoccupied

Before we talk about HOW to buy our space, we need to answer if we should.

  • Buying a building is a long term investment, and means we need to be thinking DECADES of strategy. Which I’m okay with, but any purchase of this scale needs to be part of a plan, and NOT a reaction.
  • Given how much we’ve grown & evolved inside of the last 8 years, I have a hard time believing that Indy Hall will look exactly the same in another 10 years…let alone 30+.
  • Ownership comes with additional cost and management overhead beyond the mortgage. For example, taxes & condo fees in our building will easily add another 20-25% on top of a mortgage (with the potential to increase). And if something breaks, as happens in our old building, those costs and headaches are ours to bear.
  • Our current building is amazing in a lot of ways, but it also has major shortcomings. Most notably in climate control and basic construction quality. Winters cost us thousands of dollars a month to heat – high ceilings and terrible electric heat – while still being uncomfortably cold.
  • Even if we made ALL of the numbers work, the space we’re in is EXPENSIVE. If we spend that much money, we can get SO much more value per dollar if we expand our search beyond preserving our home at 22 N 3rd.

And this may be the most difficult thing to say out loud:

Every time I ask myself, “Do you want to be in the business of owning and operating a building?”, my honest answer is…no.

I’ll be the first to admit that the effort I put forth into the social infrastructure at Indy Hall FAR outpaces our physical infrastructure. You won’t find “workspace operations and management” on my list of aspirations. The fact that Indy Hall has as much infrastructure as it does is a means to an end.

I know that this challenge is surmountable by finding a trusted partner who would be on-call for building related issues. Not a service provider, but a true collaborator who actually cares about the people inside the building, too. And while I’m dreaming big, someone who’d want to be an active part of the Indy Hall community.

I haven’t met that person yet. Do you know that person? Is that person you? Drop me a line, I’d love to talk.

To wrap up this kind of conversation, I’ve been sharing a mental model that I’ve been using to parse out the pros and cons of each conversation. In the simplest terms, I’ve been organizing pros and cons into the 4 following scenarios:

  • Buy our current space
  • Rent our current space
  • Buy elsewhere
  • Rent elsewhere

If there were a clear leader, I’d have chosen it already. 🙂 With that said – I want to make it clear that all options are still on the table, including ones we haven’t talked about yet.

Every scenario has both pros and cons, and I’d like to explore them further, in the open, taking into consideration everything I’ve outlined so far.

If you’re interested in this conversation you can either head to the comments below, email me, or come to one of the “Mini Town Hall” events linked at the bottom of this post.

Conversation #2 – “I’ve got a creative business idea to help Indy Hall make more money.”

First, I wanted to share a thought on money, since it’s inevitably a complicated topic that stirs lots of emotions.

Indy Hall’s core business is based on our monthly memberships, is sustainable, and has been for it’s entire lifespan. The business is healthy and predictable, and allows us to operate with very little debt and to have cash in the bank.

We’re proudly 100% bootstrapped, having never taken money from outside investors. This means that the only people we need to answer to are our members, and we’re able to make decisions in our community’s best interest instead of “maximizing shareholder value”.

The only debt we carry is in small (<$10k each) loans that have helped us have cash on hand during periods of growth. We’ve only ever borrowed money from community members who had personally benefitted from Indy Hall and were in a position to lend to us as a way of paying their success forward. #### To me, the purpose of profits is to be able to say yes. There are plenty of other reasons not to do something, but if something is going to be truly great for the community, Indy Hall’s profitability allows me to say “yes!” without having to ask anybody else’s “permission”. My job is to make decisions in service of our community, because without our community, we have no value to offer. Indy Hall’s profitability affords me the ability to offer our members the most valuable thing: the freedom to do the things they think are best for the community. When our profits are down, or worse, when we’re eating into our savings, we have a lot less room to experiment and try things even if they’re not going to create an immediate return. So when we’re talking about “more money”, my actual goal is to create more freedom, more sovereignty, more agency for our community. Money is just a tool to that end. Kapish? #### To review our near-term situation, on September 1st of 2015 (just over 2 months away), we face two options. Option 1) our rent is going to go up by nearly 20% OR Option 2) we’re going to have to cut our ground floor space in half, but paying a 47% increased cost per square foot. In Option 1, we get to keep running as we currently are, but we need to come up with another $3000/month. In Option 2, we’re forced to shrink our ground floor by 50%, but with the higher cost per square foot, our rent only goes down by 15%. We also have to be honest about the fact that a reduction in our space will have some impact on our revenue. And if that impact is greater than the 15% cost reduction…we’re heading in the wrong direction. In both cases, these options only carry us 12 months until September 1st 2016. At that point, our current lease agreements expire. If we haven’t made the decision to purchase our building, our landlord intends to raise rents as high as $50/square foot (nearly 2x what we currently pay). And in the short term, both options might mean we need to get REALLY creative with the way we use and lay out our space…but the last thing we want to do is pack people in so tightly that it feels uncomfortable. So frankly, both of these options suck. Ugh. #### But hey, I’m surrounded by problem solvers. In my last post, I wrote: > “We’ll have some new costs to bear starting in 3 months, and I’m sure many people’s first thought is ‘shit, membership prices are gonna go up’.

While that’s certainly one option, I want to brainstorm more ideas and options to help bridge that gap. What new things we can do to create more value with what we’ve already got? This includes new levels of membership that are focused on things other than renting desks: things like learning new skills, growing our businesses, etc.”

I’ve been pleased and impressed by everyone who rose to that particular challenge, and came up with some great ways to do more with what we already have.

Here are just a few of the ideas I heard.

…along with a few others that aren’t new but worth bringing up in this context.

– Scholarships for students and new independents.

In the last couple of years, students have shown a lot of interest in Indy Hall but we haven’t come up with a really great way to offer them access at a rate they can afford. Not just college students, but also Girl Develop It students who are taking their career transition seriously and investing in their skills…but don’t really have enough extra income to justify the expense of an Indy Hall membership.

I’m imagining an option where existing members have the ability to “sponsor” a vetted student member…either by signing up for a “sponsor” membership that’s paid monthly or we could provide some incentive to pre-pay for a sponsorship in 6 month increments.

There are still details to work out, but sponsors could have the option of choosing their preferred target sponsor recipient, and also choose if they want to have the student they sponsor know who they are so that they can connect one-on-one, with hopes of furthering their relationship beyond a transaction.

– “Bake sales” & pop-up shops.

Not necessarily baked goods (though heck, why not), but we do have a 300+ person community with a broad range of talents. We also have a combined reach that spans far and wide across the city. We could come up with a model where people could offer their skills and services, products and creations, and Indy Hall could earn a commission by hosting that channel.

This idea needs more work to keep it in line with our core values and to keep it from becoming a logistical nightmare, but I definitely see something cool hidden inside worth exploring.

– A better job board.

We get a fair bit of demand from the outside for people wanting to “hire talent”…but we’ve never put the time into creating a dedicated channel for it, especially from the outside.

Keeping things in line with our intention of prioritizing relationships ahead of transactions, we’ve always said, “If you want hire people in this community, come and spend time here.” This approach has done a good job of weeding out a lot of time-wasters, but it’s also possible that it’s also left a number of potentially great opportunities on the cutting room floor. I know we can do better.

I personally would like to see this be better than a job board, with some degree of vetting and quality control considering some of the awful the job postings I see. I’d even consider some kind of service where “premium” job listings are actually rewritten to better connect with potential candidates, instead of serving up buzzword bingo. I’ve been inspired by some pro services out there like Workshop* and the now defunked TinyProj*, and know there’s lessons to be learned from them.

* disclosure, Rob Williams of Workshop is a student of mine and TinyProj founder Kyle Bragger is a longtime friend.

Optional membership increases.

It makes me proud to know that there are people in our community who get more value than they currently pay for, and so they would happily pay more. In my mind, that’s how all business SHOULD be.

With that said, this option gets a little complicated because the last thing I want is for people to feel obligated – or worse, guilty. I’m still very open to ideas for how we could execute this in a way that’s thoughtful and fair.

– IndyHall.EDU

Okay, so we probably won’t focus on getting accredited right away. But we do know that our members have a LOT that they could teach – the answer to “How do I do ______” is almost never harder to answer than asking our email discussion list.

At the same time, we’ve never focused heavily on formal learning…so much learning happens at the one-on-one level and in small groups. But if we knew what people wanted to learn, it would be pretty easy to find people in our community to teach it. If structured as a revenue share, this could become secondary revenue for members who teach AND Indy Hall.

– Junto Membership.

This one merits a bit more explanation, mostly because it’s been rolling around in my head for so long.

In a similar vein to adding some structure to the ability to learn how to do nearly anything, Geoff and I have long been inspired by Ben Franklin’s Junto. The original Junto was a “club for mutual self-improvement”, a structured gathering of professionals and politicians to share what they knew in oh-so-Quaker pursuit of community betterment through personal betterment.

Before Indy Hall had our own clubhouse, one of the first events that brought our community together was a re-invented Junto gathering hosted at P’unk Ave in South Philly. And in the last 2 years, it’s evolved into a business retreat unlike anything else I’ve ever participated.

While our current Community Membership is just $20/month, it serves (mostly) as a social membership with the business benefits that are baked into our community. And with very limited promotion, that level has grown to nearly 10% of our total membership!

I’ve discussed the possibility of another membership, which like the Community membership would not be based on desk/workspace usage. But instead of the more casual business benefits, Junto membership would be more focused on helping members get better at their business in areas where they know they need to improve. With the natural diversity of industry and experience that we all have. While many independents & small business owners aren’t in a position to seek or afford business coaching, a Junto-style structure could help make that kind of experience accessible.

Personally, I have both paid for and have been paid for business coaching…and I’ve also done plenty of it for free. In nearly every case, it’s been worth it. Like anything else, there’s a lot of sheisters out there just trying to make a quick buck by “giving advice”. And there’s a lot of bad advice out there.

I think that the difference here is two-fold: First being the foundation of trust and relationships that we’ve ALWAYS made our top priority at Indy Hall, and second being the fact that our community already has so many shared values that you’ve got a MUCH better chance of getting advice/support that’s in line with the things you care about most.

This list is far from exhaustive and definitely not complete – so if you want to riff on any of them or a new idea, please share in the comments or email me directly!

What’s missing from this list, and why

You may also notice that I omitted “one time” ways of bringing in more money…like Kickstarter & pursuing grants. That doesn’t mean that we can’t consider them, but I’m cautious of getting caught in a trap of creating an unsustainable outcome, or one that isn’t easily repeatable.

In all cases, the BEST ideas are ones that create opportunities to bring our community closer together. I think it’s important to avoid things that are “extractive“, and instead look for models that are generative.

I don’t think any single option above is going to bridge the gap, but a few of them in combination could MORE than bridge the gap, and keep us in a situation where we can say “yes” without hesitation.

Which of the ideas I’ve listed are most interesting to you? If you’re interested in this conversation you can either head to the comments below, email me, or come to one of the “Mini Town Hall” events linked at the bottom of this post.

Conversation #3 – “Are we going to move? Where would we move to?”

Indy Hall undeniably has Old City DNA. And while I’ll always be humble about our contributions, lots of people tell me that the Old City of 2015 has a lot of Indy Hall DNA in it, as well.

Long before we nicknamed N3rd Street, even before we opened our first location on Strawberry Street in 2007, we spent countless hours bonding at National Mechanics. We literally signed our first lease while sitting in one of the church pew tables.

And if you’ll let me get romantic about it, LONG before there was anything to be known as a “tech community”, Old City is where Philadelphia and our country were founded in the name of freedom and liberty.

Most of us don’t live in Old City. But that’s also part of why we’re here.

Today, a number of our members literally walk down the street from their homes to spend the day at Indy Hall, MOST of our members don’t live in Old City. Many actually travel past other coworking spaces that are more “convenient”. Others cross state lines.

We even have members who travel upwards of an hour a few days a week to be at Indy Hall.

Not a lot of people know is how we chose to be in Old City in the first place. When we surveyed our original community for founding members, we learned that most of our members were in Northern Liberties, South Philly, and West Philly. I’m pretty sure an updated survey would show that’s still pretty accurate, expanding Northern Liberties into Fishtown & Kensington.

So naturally, we looked at potential spaces in all of those neighborhoods.

And some were pretty cool…but were a real pain to get to. That’s where we realized that if we picked any one of those neighborhoods to get started in, there’s a good chance that people from the other parts of the city would be less likely to make the trip.

So we started looking at Old City. Not because it was a hotspot for creative businesses, but specifically because it wasn’t one of the parts of Philadelphia where most of our members were. There were a couple of important creative business anchors – notably Weblinc and I-Site who predated us – but the odds of running into familiar faces the way you can in today’s Old City was completely foreign.

At the same time, we found that it felt easy to jump on a bus, subway, or bicycle from just about anywhere in the city and be there in 10-15 mins. Less convenient for our friends traveling in from the suburbs, but that’s never been our strength.

In a way, Old City won in our search because it was the un-neighborhood.

And I don’t mean that to be diminutively.

Because as Old City has changed, we’ve gotten to grow up along with it. We’ve gotten to become a part of a story that’s been in motion for decades or longer. We’ve been able to enjoy the explosion of amazing restaurant and bar scene. The “campus” feel of Old City has become a huge draw, making it easy to bump into friends almost anywhere in the neighborhood…and not just at National Mechanics.

For the last couple of years, Indy Hall Arts has gotten to play a role in the art community, attracting thousands of attendees and many first-time art buyers to our First Friday shows. Through the N3rd St Farmers Market, I’ve met more of our neighbors in the last 2.5 years than I did in the previous 6. And I don’t have to say how awesome it is to have places like Spruce Street Harbor Park and Independence Beer Garden within easy walking distance as a way to enjoy each others’ company outside.

And then there’s the graduates

When Indy Hall members’ grow their companies larger than 3-4 people, they almost universally begin looking for ways to stay in the neighborhood. Within a 2 block radius of Indy Hall, at least 100 people are employed by Indy Hall alum.

And we’ve gotten to play a role in dozens of businesses choosing to open their first and second offices in Old City, and many more expand into the neighborhood. We’ve even had a steady stream of companies occupy our former coworking space on Strawberry Street.

Today, Old City is a destination, and one that I’m really proud of.

But maybe most importantly to myself and for many of our members, Old City has a sense of “home” for us.

A lot of people have reached out directly to express how devastated they would be if Indy Hall left Old City. That’s their word, not mine. “Devastated”.

I hear this – and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hit me right in the heart. And as you can tell, I feel very strongly about Old City myself.

But I also know that emotions aren’t a good place to make long term strategic decisions.

I think the most honest answer to “are we moving?” and “where would we move to?” isn’t an answer I can give today, but for a good reason.

When I do the dirty work of separating my emotions from the long term goals of our community and our business, I think about each location-based decision we’ve made to date.

Even the most recent one, the decision to take over the ground floor of our building in 2012. In order to make that expansion WORTH it, I couldn’t just look at it as adding more space. More space came with more risk. A second floor came with more complicated operations. Street access came with potential security risks.

We balanced all of these things with one important goal that fit our strategic goal: to connect more with the world outside our front door.

And if you look at our work over the last 3+ years, and the way our community has grown and evolved, I can say with confidence that even though all of our concerns were valid they were worth addressing head-first because the benefits have been transformational.

So today, in the consideration of ANY kind of move (to another spot in Old City, to another part of the city, some combination of the two, or even hidden option D), I’m asking the question “How does this move help us achieve our next long-term goal?”

Which makes me ask, “What IS our next long term goal?”

The problems we set out to solve in 2006/2007 aren’t 100% solved, but we chose them in part because they’re not the kind of goals to solve to 100%. That way, there will always be room for more people to join us in solving them.

My goal wasn’t to bring shared workspace to Philadelphia. My goal was to make Philadelphia a better place to make a living doing what you love. My goal was to make it easier to build relationships with people, long before you needed them to complete a transaction.

Is Old City the only part of the city worthy of those goals? How can those goals be refined to better reflect Philadelphia of 2015? And can we look ahead to Philadelphia of 2025, and imagine what we want it to be like?

Today, that’s the most important thing to answer.

Because once we have that answer – the questions of “Are we going to move? Where would we move to?” become much easier to answer, as they’re in service to a much bigger goal than putting our stuff into boxes and changing our address.

If you’re interested in this conversation you can either head to the comments below, email me, or come to one of the “Mini Town Hall” events linked at the bottom of this post.

Conversation #4 – “I’ve got Philly’s next hot neighborhood.”

This 4th conversation is a little different – more of a conversation that I want to have. So let’s see how that goes.

Today, I created a new label in Gmail.

That label is called “Real Estate”, and I added over a dozen email threads to it.

And more are coming in just about every day.

The point of me sharing this here is two fold:

1 – It’s been very interesting to see the different approaches from the real estate world. It’s pretty easy to pick the best from the bunch based on the amount of thought they put into their first contact.

It’s amazing to me how many people don’t do even a LITTLE bit of research about Indy Hall before sending a cold contact. Many don’t even address me by name. Vultures.

2 – At the same time, everyone’s pitch is pretty much the same. With a few rare exceptions, of course (you know who you are).

Here’s just one example:

“I don’t want to prematurely divulge too much information at this point. The gist is that it’s going to be a pretty big deal, it’s located within walking distance of Center City, and the Building stock is all former industrial / turn of the century. The area already has a cool vibe to it. it’s just been overlooked for decades, has lacked some TLC, and it needs a cohesive vision to create a ‘place.’”

Or, it’s less wordy cousin…

“We’re looking for tenants 2000 sf & up for this cool office redevelopment. Please call/reply if you have interest.”

At this point, I’ve learned to keep my expectations low when working with the real estate world, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lowered the bar.

Whatever happens, rent or buy, I’m sticking to my principles of relationships before transactions.

If you work in real estate in Philadelphia and you want to work together, I want to know who you are.

Not your property and it’s features – that’s the same commodity shit that everyone else has.

Who are you? What do you care about? Why do you love Philadelphia?

Think of it like asking someone on a first date. “Nice shoes, wanna fuck?” might work with some people, but that’s not what I’m looking for.

If you’re interested in this kind of conversation, you can either head to the comments below, email me, or come to one of the “Mini Town Hall” events linked at the bottom of this post.

Conversation #5 – “Let’s use this as an opportunity to fix some problems”

Okay. Back to actual conversations I’ve had with actual Indy Hall members.

One of the things that I’m FOREVER thankful for is that our members are comfortable talking to me about Indy Hall’s imperfections.

I’m crazy proud of our team – Adam Teterus, Samantha Abrams, and Sean Martorana are without a doubt the BEST in the coworking business. Part of that is because most days of the week, my team and I are our own toughest critics.

What I think sets our team apart is that when they know they’re not doing their best work they’re not shy to admit it so they can recalibrate. They’ll even turn to their fellow community members – that’s right, our team members are members of the community first and foremost – and ask for help.

I’m saying all of this because I know that our willingness to acknowledge our imperfections instead of pretending “everything is awesome” has opened the door to members being willing to say “Hey, I noticed something is off. Can we work together to make it better?”

This came to the surface in a powerful way since that last blog post, when a few members have independently taken the opportunity to acknowledge Indy Hall’s fractures. And most interestingly…they each brought up the same core problem.

I want to save the details of that problem for a follow up blog post (how’s that for a cliffhanger?), but suffice it to say that it felt really great to be able to frame the problem against our potential future.

Even when we’re in the same location for 5+ years, Indy Hall is a work in progress. The difference is that our community has always played a role in that progress, and that’s certainly not going to change now.

If you’re interested in this conversation you can either head to the comments below, email me, or come to one of the “Mini Town Hall” events linked at the bottom of this post.

Conversation #6 – “Whatever you decide, I’m on board.”

This might seem like a throwaway, but I’m including it for a very important reason.

Among all of the creative ideas & thoughtful questions, a number of members approached me simply to say:

“I know you’ll do the right thing. I love how things are now, but I also know that I’ll love things however we end up.”

And here’s why I share this to close out this blog post: none of the people who came to me with this particular conversation did it in blind faith. In 100% of the cases where the conversation started here, there was still an opportunity for a conversation to unfold.

Let me be clear, I’m thankful that people trust my leadership. And I know it’s hard earned.

But more important to me is that even when people think they don’t have an opinion, they know they are heard, and considered, and valued. This includes today’s members, our faithful alumni, and our countless supporters.

We’ve scheduled three in-person events to host discussions about next steps

Town Hall

As I said in the opening of this post, the next few weeks are about shifting from conversation to action. That’s why it was so important for me to get these 6 conversations out into the open, so that we could invite the next steps.

And for members of Indy Hall, I’ll also be sharing updates more frequently via GroupBuzz and our weekly email announcements, so keep your eyes on your inbox.

If you can make it to any or all of these discussions, I assure you that your presence means a lot to me and even if you don’t have a specific goal or thought to share, I’d encourage you to join us.

I have the privilege of sometimes being the face, but Indy Hall isn’t what it is because of me. It’s what it is because of all of you.

Together, Indy Hall is our love letter to Philly, and we’ve been writing it for nearly a decade.

It’s time to work on our next chapter. What goals could we be working towards, together, for the next 10 years?

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Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.