December 30, 2014

A Year-End Letter from CoworkBuffalo

Just two things in this holiday newsletter: a note from Kevin P., and some quick updates further down.

CoworkBuffalo ... it's made ... of ... people!

Before we opened CoworkBuffalo, in its original Chippewa/Delaware location (sub-let to us by Brian Fending), I had never met Kevin Christner. Nearly 2 years later, I now know his favorite stories about experimental aircraft, and he knows all my dog training foibles.

Reaching back even further, I met one of my best friends when Nick Quaranto wandered into the semi/sort-of coworking space where Dan Magnuszewski and I worked before CoworkBuffalo. We huddled over laptops in our coats, we struggled to share a DSL-like connection. We discovered that neither of us liked going to juice bars for lunch.

Sitting here, looking out at Main Street during a quiet week, I'm feeling a little bit It's A Wonderful Life-ish. Without Cowork, I would have never discovered the topics of a few different articles I published. Quite a few events and groups might not have launched. We'd all know fewer people, some of us might have continued thinking Tim Hortons Dark Roast was the height of coffee flavor, and many people who come back to Buffalo for the holidays might never have found that place downtown where you can throw in headphones and not get fired before the new year.

To me, and probably most others, the most important thing about CoworkBuffalo is the people. Corny, sure, but I mean it. There are a lot of places you can open a laptop and buy coffee in Buffalo. But along with a calmer environment, and way better Wi-Fi, Cowork gives you people with whom to work, to avoid work, and to complain about work.

In a few short years, I have met people I never would have met otherwise: typography nerds, startup advisors, poetry buffs, book indexers, designers, coders and engineers for far-away projects, business travel bookers, environmental engineers, energy efficiency pros, skill-sharing activists, film directors, trifty male fashion enthusiasts, and a surprising number of ping-pong talents.

Had I and all our members chosen to just stay home, that list would be a lot shorter. You might have a running joke with the UPS person, and the National Fuel checker would see your basement a few more times. But I'm really glad you folks stop by, support our weird basically-not-for-profit project, and chat about traffic, lunch, and all that other stuff.

Thank you to our members, our Kickstarter backers (one year ago!), the word-spreaders, the gear-donaters, and anyone else who gets this newsletter. We had a good 2014, and we're really looking forward to 2015.

What's new

Now, in far briefer form, what's new at Cowork these days:

  • Coffee discounts: Do you like Public Espresso, the coffee we make here at the space? Would you like to brew some at home? Tell us this, and we can arrange for your bag to arrive with our regular orders. When you do that, you get a 10% discount off the retail price. Fresh-roasted beans from all over the world, 10% off, and they make your work bag smell like rich, wonderful magic. Yes.
  • Main Street: still no cars! But soon, supposedly. Streets painted, signs and gates in place, and maybe by spring?
  • Phone booths: all of them are now soundproof-ier! There's a bit more to be done, but for now, let me assure you: almost nobody outside the booth can hear your words, unless you shout directly at the glass (so you can see your breath?). They are done enough, in any case, that we will be dedicating them very soon to the people who made them happen.
  • Referrals: If you send someone our way and they become a monthly, you get a free month or ten-pack after they stay 2 months. Cool, eh?
  • Group/business discounts: Multiple folks from the same firm get a discounted monthly rate. I might even be taking advantage of this in the new year. Not sure how that will work. Kinda odd, huh?

That's all for 2014. Once again: thank you for being part of this space. You were into coworking before it was cool.

~ The CoworkBuffalo Nerds