In the past five or so years, the coworking concept has spread across the globe. Coworking refers to when groups of freelancers or very small startups get together to both work and share their ideas. Often times this model serves as a great alternative to working from home or spending tons of money on coffee sitting by yourself at a cafe.
Coworking can be broken down into at least two main types: a physical office space which is shared by members and guests, and a periodic local meetup at a predetermined location (called a ‘Jelly!’). Jellies were formed by two new york designers who had the idea to invite other freelancers to get together and work on a weekly basis (having the eureka moment while eating jelly beans!).
Here in Jerusalem, and in Israel in general, the coworking model hasn’t taken off as fast as it has in places like the US or Europe, however there are numerous signs that point to them popping up in major cities soon.
Personally, I have been interested in the coworking idea ever since my close friend Simone Jacobson told me about Affinity Lab in DC (my hometown). She is essentially a renaissance woman – a dancer, a poet / spoken word artist, non-profit art professional, and many other things! She chose to work at Affinity Lab, which takes on the model of a startup incubator and coworking space, because it gave her the flexibility to have a community to work alongside of and bounce her ideas off of instead of sitting at home or at a coffee shop alone.
Since leaving my great job at Matan Media, I have been freelancing for a number of different SEO and online marketing projects. The idea of working from home may seem great to some, but having experienced it for a couple of years a while back, I can tell you it gets old very quickly. My ultimate goal is to create a shared office space in Jerusalem – a Jerusalem Coworking community which has an actual physical home where full time members, part-time members, and guests all have a space to work with like minded professional freelancers and startup-people.
What I’ve discovered is that the best way to reach this goal is somewhat counter intuitive. Instead of ‘if you build it, they will come‘, the ideal model for a successful coworking space is first finding the community (the right people you want to work along side most days), and then when the time is right, finding the right space to fulfill the community’s objectives and ideal vision.
I’ve read countless testimonies of failed coworking spaces whereby a business-minded person identified a need for this type of space, opened up shop, and quickly found that there wasn’t a consistent enough community to make it feasible or attractive enough to potential members.
The coworking wiki suggests finding folks through more informal periodic meetups, Jellys. I met Eliana and Josh through the Jelly Wiki for Jerusalem and after just a few meetups, I can say that they are awesome, friendly, warm, and talented folks. Eliana is a web designer / developer and Josh is working on a startup involving parent-child interaction. Our goal is to get the word out that we are looking for more people to build this community of local freelancers or startup’ists. You don’t need to be in the ‘techie’ world: artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, writers, whomever!
We currently meet once a week (usually mondays) at one of our places. We drink tons of coffee, talk and joke a lot, and also get down to much needed work! What we tend to find is that we actually look forward to this meetup as a time to both socialize and also get tons of work done.
If you’re interested in starting this community with us, or just trying out a weekly Jelly to see what its like or who we are, please be in touch with either myself (anahmani AT gmail.com) or Eliana (design AT elianaharvey.com). Obviously replace ‘AT’ with @ – we don’t like spambots!
Please feel free to post comments or questions below to discuss the future of Jeruslaem coworking and/or Jerusalem Jelly meetups.
And now for some coworking/jelly videos!
What’s a Jelly? (From the Jelly site)
Some Coworking Videos