I happen to enjoy tuna salad. Maybe you do, too. I’m not sure. People seem to feel pretty rigidly toward salads of the tuna, egg, pasta, and chicken variety. And I’m a tuna salad fan, but take issue with the heavy-handed use of mayonnaise, as it’s laden with fat and calories—two things I’m under the impression we’re supposed to avoid at all costs (or consume in moderation; all opinions are my own.). However, just recently when I was at work (which, if you haven’t caught on, I’m a community manager at a coworking space) and was talking to a member, expounding upon my tuna woes, when she suggested replacing the mayo with an avocado. Avocados inspire feelings and actions in Californians that are akin to reading a passage from 50 Shades of Grey—pretty hot and bothered, and, generally speaking, big fans. Huge. “Leggo my avo,” I say. So whip the canned tuna with some avo, EVOO, salt and pepper, and voilá—a healthier (and potentially tastier) take on tuna salad.
My point, however, has less to do with my feelings toward mayonnaise and more to do with the fact that my conversation with the member was not only pleasant, but helpful. And, an example—stretched, perhaps—of collaboration. There’s an entire library out there extolling the virtues of collaboration and how coworking, in particular, lends itself to this sort of “magical” interaction. I’m not here to knock that notion; in fact, more so, I want promote it as well as explain how useful we, as a coworking business, have found the unicorn of collaboration to be. See, the girl genius who suggested “The Great Avo Swap of 2016” works for a health and fitness wear company, so given the nature of her business, she probably has half a dozen healthy hacks up her sleeve. It’s her specialty and passion, and people like to talk about their passions. She may not have provided me with the key to our next brilliant marketing strategy, but she provided information which did, in fact, alter the course of my day. I found myself at Ralph’s later, picking up tuna and avocados (be still, my heart) and making tuna salad for dinner. Collaboration and conversation aren’t just a perk for members—employees can benefit too, and ultimately, members can still use it as a way to aggregate business.
We recently began expanding our second space in the South Bay (see related post here), and we utilized one of our amazing member’s company, Building Power, to build our new roof. We house a large music streaming service here as well, and they have supplied countless awesome playlists and musical suggestions that we’ve used for holiday parties and beyond. We’ve gotten input and ideas from multiple graphic designers on site, and Arrowtel, a tech company in our space, recently set up fancy VOIP phones in our conference rooms. Collaboration and business opportunities can extend much further, beyond the walls of the space you’re presently in. But they can also be utilized sometimes by those closest to you—perhaps the ones you’re renting space from. The space I work for is lucky; I think we genuinely care what projects our members are working on and like to see the finished product. If there’s a way we can utilize a company we value and trust who we already know everything about, why wouldn’t you? Collaborations and great ideas don’t know boundaries, and we hope to build a space and business that continues to foster that kind of growth and idea incubation. Maybe that’s something as small as a swap or substitution made for tuna salad, or quite literally providing the roof over our heads—and both have their place and importance in the world. Collaboration, when it works out, is a pretty great thing. There’s a reason for all those blogs out there.