To spark a few emotions at the beginning, I like to look at the currently largest social network “Facebook”. By closer examination you find out, that it is already run to a large extent by the users. The obvious one: Content. I guess no discussion on that one. Another example: Support. According to a german site, it is not possible for Facebook to provide a contact form or direct email support. The explanation: With 750 million free users, the company could not finance such a service. Well, what is the solution? People have to collaborate and support each other :-)) I leave it at that as an introduction because this article is not really about Facebook, it is about “Free Coworking” and the way Coworkers can connect on a common platform!
What would you rather have, a “free apple” or a “paid apple”? By the way, I am talking about the fruit not the products from Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs ;-). I once had a box of apples that was left over from a conference. I could not take the box home, so I thought it would be nice to give the apples away. I went outside to offer the apples to the people walking by. What do you think how many people were happy to receive a fresh apple for free? I was very surprised, not many! I guess if you think about it, it is not very surprising, though I find, there is a good point for evolution here.
In his TEDx talk in November 2009 Michel Bauwens made some very interesting observations about peer to peer production. He points to the fact that when people create something in common, they create their own infrastructure. On the other hand when people link to share their expression they tend to use a corporate infrastructure like Facebook or Flickr. I see coworking at the moment as a combination of these two.
Yes it is true. Coworking is going to evolve into “Free Coworking”. I predict that within the coming year you will see a marked increase in “Free Coworking” offers. What do I mean by “Free Coworking”? ”Free Coworking” means that as a coworking space user you do not pay for the use of the desk, chair etc. How is that possible? Someone else is going to pay :-) !!! Why would anyone want to pay for your coworking space usage? Because “this someone else” is benefiting from your work. This might be a customer or client, a member of your project team, an organisation, a small or large cooperation, a foundation, the state – in short “Financial Capital” will pay the bill.
Now we have scientific evidence by Margaret Chatham Crofoot and Ian C. Gilby that small groups have a competitive advantage over larger groups. Translated in terms of changing the world: Small groups like coworking spaces or action groups have a competitive advantage over society as a whole in bringing about a change. Here is what Chatham Crofoot and Gilby found in an experiment with wild capuchin monkey (Cebus capucinus) groups:”Although numerical superiority is assumed to provide a competitive advantage, small groups can generally defend their ranges, even when greatly outnumbered. The prevailing explanation for this puzzling phenomenon is that individuals in relatively large groups experience a greater temptation to flee from conflicts, in effect levelling the balance of power.”