Coworking and Collaboration

Today I read an interesting post on coworking - where small companies and individuals rent a desk or simply a key to access shared office space.  It’s a really cool concept that fosters collaboration.  Over the past year, I’ve been going to some Ruby user group meetings and Lansing’s own Web Design Meetup.  It’s been great throwing ideas around and learning things you’d be hard pressed to find in a Google search or have show up in your RSS reader. After reading the article, I realized that I’m already involved in coworking to a certain extent - my own company shares office space with a small web company. Recently, the city of East Lansing announced a plan to convert some old office space above Barnes & Noble into a “tech incubator” that sounds a bit like a coworking site, although perhaps not one that’s open to passers-by.  If anything it might be nice to have a space for when I can’t commute all the way to Ann Arbor. Another idea that started in Germany and Austria and has spread to some large cities in the US is that of a hacker space.   It’s basically a rented space where tinkerers and artists can work.  I think it’s mainly attractive in large cities where people don’t have space at home to work on “messy” projects or for those who just want to collaborate. In my dreams I’ve thought about turning the abandoned thrift store across the street into a hacker space…