I don’t know how he does it. Seth Godin’s daily (!?) blog is sort of like a fortune cookie in that his posts are generally short, but also perfectly timed to something happening in your world.

But unlike a fortune cookie, Seth’s posts are USEFUL. Like this post from today.

Today, in just 7 sentences including the title of the post, he posed a series of questions that got me thinking:

“Who is this for?”

Is it for people who are interested, or those just driving by?

For the informed, intelligent, educated part of your audience? For those with an urgent need?

Is it designed to please the lowest common denominator?

If you’re trying to delight the people who are standing on one foot, reading their email and about to buy from a competitor because he’s cheaper than you, what compromises will you need to make? Are they worth it?

As you might guess, this line of questioning is going to be universally valuable for any business (that’s part of Seth’s magic fortune-cookie prowess – his ability to create lessons that can graft to almost any business).

But the reason this got me thinking is because this line of questioning is especially important for coworking spaces. Unlike most businesses where the customers are generally unaware of each others’ activities (business or otherwise), a thriving coworking space thrives because of it’s members contributions to the overall experience.

So when the answer to “Who is this for?” informs who’s in the room, it impacts everyone’s experience.

Try asking yourself “Who is this for?” you might think:

  • Freelancers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Startups
  • People working in coffee shops

…because obviously these are people who need a place to work, right?

But is your coworking space for people who view your space as a resource to consume? And if so, what happens when they no longer need the resource?

Coworking spaces famously offer month-to-month memberships, which seems ripe for the “drive-bys” that Seth mentioned in his post.

But you can also replace the long term commitment with something as good or better…reason for people to WANT to be a part of your community, even before and after they need a desk.

When I ask myself “Who is this for?” in regards to Indy Hall, here are some of things I think of:

  • People who are lonely (regardless of where and how they work)
  • People who are optimistic about the future of Philadelphia
  • People who are generous
  • People who are thoughtful, conscientious, and respectful
  • People who are professional, but don’t take themselves too seriously
  • People who want to get better at whatever they do (learn more skills, make more money, be more informed)

What do you notice about my list? How do you think it informs our coworking community, and our business?

And how could answers like these inform yours?

UPDATE! Actual Member Story

Literally 10 minutes after I pressed publish on this post, a new Indy Hall member named Jess came over and introduced himself to me. We talked for a good 30 minutes about a range of things, including how he ended up at Indy Hall. I had a lot of questions for Jess.

Because, you see, Jess started by describing himself as a master plumber. 

After hearing about Indy Hall from several of our members and other friends in the community, he started doing some homework of his own. He watched videos and listened to podcasts featuring our members. He already had a sense of what our community was about, but since this post was fresh in my head I actually decided to share a bit of it with him.

When I read off my list of “Who is this for?” he looked at me and said,

“Yeah, that’s me. You just described me. That’s why I know this is exactly the kind of people I’ve been looking for.”

When you talk to Jess, you can tell he’s an entrepreneur in the way he thinks about other people and solves problems. But he wasn’t drawn to Indy Hall because it was full of other entrepreneurs – it was because Indy Hall was full of other people who care about the same kinds of things he cares about.