If you’re walking, you really shouldn’t be texting. While not as perilous as texting and driving, there’s no surer way to annoy fellow pedestrians than by zigzagging across a sidewalk, eyes glued to your precious screen. But if you absolutely must walk and text, Apple might have a new feature that could make that action safer.
Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism
Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT Center for Digital Business
Vincent Walsh via Nick Skillicorn
Benjamin and I met a few years ago, when I was relentlessly searching for the right sort of coworking space in New York City. A friend who had overlapped with me at another coworking space, down in SOHO, suggested that I meet the founders of a new place on South Park and 29th Street called Grind, and when I read the manifesto at the website, I was ready. For example, it includes these:
Less Chains, More BallsPut The Funk In FunktionalWork Liquid
They had me at ‘Work Liquid’, really, but when I sat down with Benjamin and several of his partners to chat about Grind and their aspirations, I was sold.
About Benjamin Dyett
Benjamin’s write up for the 2012 Re:Working conference is too good not to reuse:
Benjamin was a mild-mannered lawyer who woke up one day and, together with some partners, decided, Hey, let’s change the future of work.
So, along with his friends, Stuart and Karina, and Co:, Cool Hunting, Behance, Magic + Might and Breakfast, he created Grind, a platform for working in a whole new way, outside the system. Built for free-range humans who carry their offices in their backpacks, Grind is the antidote to everything you knew about work. It’s dedicated to taking all of the frustrations of the old work experience and pulverizing them to a dust so fine it actually oils the wheels of the machine (sorry, old work experience, but you had it coming).
Throughout his career, Benjamin has founded, funded, operated and advised successful start-ups. He has long experience in real estate and corporate law, has represented financial institutions and prominent businesspeople, owned his own consulting firm, and has always been at the epicenter of where business and imagination meet.
Stowe Boyd: We haven’t spoken in a while, and Grind has been expanding. What’s the state of the art and practice in coworking here at the start of 2014? Has it become mainstream? Has Grind tempered its somewhat confrontational rhetoric?The Grind brand is forward thinking and edgy, all while being authentic and about getting work done. I am not sure that I would call our “voice” confrontational, just more real. - Benjamin Dyett
Benjamin Dyett: Grind came into being in 2011. Since then, the collaborative workspace landscape has evolved and Grind has evolved with it. As more and different people choose to work in a collaborative environment, the design and amenities required in our spaces have changed. From our first space on Park Ave. So. to our two new spaces on 39th/Broadway [see Grind New York] and in Chicago [see Grind LaSalle], you can see the implementation of the lessons we have learned from our members - from more phone booths to more nooks/crannies to have a short/private conversation.
Also, the expansion of the industry has not slowed. Not only are the projections for growth in the independent worker category “on track” for them to make up more than 1/2 of the total American workforce by 2023, but mainstream corporations are adopting the collaborative workspace platform as a more productive and efficient format.
The Grind brand is forward thinking and edgy, all while being authentic and about getting work done. I am not sure that I would call our “voice” confrontational, just more real.
SB: You’ve expanded to more than the one space that you had when I met you originally. What’s the number and location of Grind spaces, today?Instead of subordinating yourself so that your employer’s corporate agenda can be propelled forward, we are here to help entrepreneurs build a community where the members stand ready to collaborate with each other for mutual benefit. - Benjamin Dyett
BD: Three…our original space at Park Ave./29th Street, our 2nd Manhattan space at Broadway/39th Street, and our new Chicago space at LaSalle/Madison Streets.
SB: The number of freelancers in the workforce is steadily growing, but as I recall, you had a sizable number of full-time employees who were working from Grind. Is that the case? Do you see more remote workers at Grind, whose headquarters are in other cities or countries?
BD: We still have a number of members who represent the “outpost” office for companies located elsewhere. However, I think the point I need to make here is that Grind has its own culture and we need to be careful when accepting people into our community who work for medium to large companies. We need to make sure that new members come to Grind ready to participate in our culture, collaborate, and share expertise - they need to come ready to adopt our community culture or incorporate it into their existing culture. This is where our application process comes into play - it is our way to ensure that new members are a cultural fit for our community and that Grind remains an oasis for people who would rather work in a COMMUNITY than a COMPANY.
SB: I’ve written a great deal about the need for a new, deeper work culture, one that transcends the shallow organizational cultures found in business. And those adopting that culture have put certain principles about cooperation ahead of the norms that traditionally are associated with subordinating ourselves to a corporate agenda. Is that what you are getting at?
BD: Yes, instead of subordinating yourself so that your employer’s corporate agenda can be propelled forward, we are here to help entrepreneurs build a community where the members stand ready to collaborate with each other for mutual benefit.
SB: I read and wrote about Square’s new offices in San Francisco (see Another take on offices: something other than open or closed) which were intended to feel more like a city than a business office. Might Grind someday create larger workspaces, that allow multiple businesses to share facilities — like cafés, conference rools, and library-like areas — while also having private offices? I know that older business office services — like Regus — have done something like this, although it’s less like a city or a hotel experience, and more like a shared conventional office.Grind remains an oasis for people who would rather work in a COMMUNITY than a COMPANY. - Benjamin Dyett
BD: All that I can definitively say about future Grinds is that they will be different than the spaces we have created to date. We are here to meet the needs of our members and that community is growing and changing along with the independent worker landscape. We are committed to evolving/changing Grind in our quest to build stronger, more connected communities. Whatever future changes come you can rest assured that they will be executed in a very Grind-like fashion.
SB: Benjamin, thanks for your time, and thanks again for hosting the NYC chapter of the Future of Work community’s first meeting next week. I appreciate it. I think it is more than apt that we are having several of our initial meetings in coworking spaces.
BD: Grind is excited to participate in the birth of your project. We are always happy to participate in efforts to expand collaboration around work and professional productivity. Good Luck!!!
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
We had a great start in New York last night. A long list of attendees — some old friends and many new — came together for a chance to discuss their personal reasons for coming, and then were subjected to me laying out my own rationale: for trying to bring together a Future of Work community as the start of a movement, a movement dedicated to changing the ways of work.
I offered up a subset of my manifesto for a new way of work, entitled Leanership: A New Way Of Work (see the presentation here, at Haiku Deck). And I sketched out some thoughts about how the community might work, at the chapter level, but I know that will grow and evolve as more people become involved, and the chapters start to take on a life of their own.
Big thanks to Grind, whose wonderful Broadway coworking space was our venue. The staff were immensely helpful, and I got a minute to chat with Benjamin Dyett, one of the founders. He told me that the Chicago Grindspace has now opened, joining the two in New York City, (And the Grindism manifesto is awesome.) Later today I will be publishing an interview with Benjamin, in the Socialogy series.
I want to especially thank Guy Alvarez, the NYC Chapter chief, for his efforts, and the larger task ahead. He and his fellow chapter chiefs — Kat Mandelstein in Austin, and Laura Gaunt in Boston — will be working over the coming months to reach out to their respective communities to pull in new voices and contributors, with new ideas about formats, speaker, and other activities.
Austin’s first meeting is this Thursday 27 March 6:30pm Austin time (Tech Ranch, 9111 Jollyville Rd, Austin, TX 78759). Please RSVP if you plan to attend. I am hoping that we can use the Interwebs so I can be piped in.
Boston’s first meeting is next week, and I will be attending. That will be held at Ideapaint, 40 Broad St, Boston MA 02109 on Thursday 3 April at 6:30pm Boston time. Please RSVP.
I’ve only seen one photo so far from last night’s event. Here I am with three members of Change Agents Worldwide, with (left to right) Rob Cladera, Joachim Stroh, me, and Dany DeGrave.
And a final invitation to join us, and to consider starting other chapters. This is the start of a movement, and we will need to incite a disruption — a discontinuity — so that some of the old, bad ways can be halted, and a new way of work can be coaxed into existence.
I was one of the ‘gurus’ in the Pew’s attempt to peer into the future of the Internet. I come across as protopian, hoping that we can use the web to make the world a slightly better place, and to work on the most central question of the age: What are people for?
OS X Calendar - When there are future events outside your viewport, they are stacked at the bottom of the viewport to give you a quick overview of what’s coming up.
/via Geoff Stokes