For the next few weeks, I am going to be hanging out a lot at Nextspace River North in Chicago. We recently lost our space manager there and need to hire a new one. My wife and I worked there all day Saturday. The space had fallen into disorganization. We straightened up the supply room, changed some light bulbs, and generally cleaned up and organized. It looks pretty great right now.
The are several key things with co-work spaces. You have to have great coffee. Nextspace does. You have to have great internet. Nextspace River North had meh internet, but now it’s got super fast fiber internet. The other thing is the space manager needs to connect and make the space hospitable to members. One thing Nextspace has learned, the Culver City space isn’t like the Chicago space. You can’t do the exact same things, but the basic principles are the same.
The Nextspace in Chicago was the first co-work space anywhere in Chicago. Sam Rosen and Pat Griffin started it as The Coop. Nextspace took it over in 2013. That’s when I became an investor in Nextspace. Nextspace does things a lot differently than other co-work companies. You can feel it when you walk into a space.
We have a few structural kinks to work out. But, they are all surmountable. If you once worked there and left, I might suggest you come back and give it another try. Things are going to change in the way it was operated. In the interim, I am pitching in.
I am going to try and open it up an hour earlier. One of the thing that cracks me up about people working independently today is a lot of them don’t get going until 9am. I have always been an early riser, and since NYC starts humming around 9am, it stands to reason Chicago ought to be rolling by 8. My wife works out of there too a few days a week when she isn’t in her startups office.
There are some pretty cool people in the space. One person is working on a solo startup. Luminaid is there. There are several independent workers doing all kinds of cool stuff.
The space is at 230 West Superior in the River North part of Chicago. You enter on Franklin. It’s one L stop from 1871 and the Merchandise Mart. There are a lot of good restaurants around there. Come by and work there for one day for free and give it a whirl. I think you will like it.