The future of coworking, and the rise of an indulgent nerd culture

3 minute read

Coworking is in danger of becoming mainstream.

Their numbers have grown dramatically every year since 2006 – in 2017 more than 1 million people will work in one. But their business model won’t scale and profits are low. Worst, their mainstream appeal may threaten their success.

Pieter Levels gives a bleak analysis of their business model – coworking spaces have low margins and don’t scale. Only 40% are profitable. He suggests looking at big pocketed corporates wanting to do remote work and get into the ‘free thinking’ vibe. These corporates would send teams to remotely build products and services in coworking spaces, and pay top dollar for it. But I doubt that this will work – it goes against the magic potion that makes coworking so effective. I don’t believe that just because a team of stiff corporates trade in their leather shoes for flip-flops and sunburns that they are going to transcend their old thought patterns and ways of working. Only immersion into a new culture can do that. 

The strength of the nerd community makes coworking great.

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