Jim Collins book Good to Great introduced the concept of getting the right people on the bus. The idea being that curating the people who make up your company is as important as developing the business itself.
As immersed as I’ve been in coworking, including founding and running ThreeFortyNine for 3+ years, I’m only now starting to grasp the real power of coworking as a model. Yes it is a lower cost office, fast internet, a place without the kid’s or great coffee but those aren’t the real value of coworking.
If you wait until you have your bus, it’s already too late!
I realized a few weeks back that almost every partner I’ve engaged with over the past 6 months is someone I met here at ThreeFortyNine. Either through them having a desk full-time or being a member of our weekly Founder’s Club. Eric and I are building 20Skaters and the main reason we’re so efficient and communicate so well is that we’ve coworked together for years now.
The difficult part in building early stage businesses is spotting the real roadblocks daily and facing them head-on. That requires a high level of intimacy with your partners. Being within a coworking space allows you a platform to practice that with people without actually working directly on projects together. Through that, you eventually discover who you want on your bus and who you don’t.
I’ve always maintained that picking partners is about selecting the people you gravitate towards when the sh1t really hits the fan. That’s great but how do you know that about someone you’ve just met or have never actually worked with? Specifically in our Founder’s Club, we work on tackling problems and challenges in each other’s businesses. Founder’s Club gives people a chance to talk about their sh1t hitting a fan. In that setting you’ll quickly figure out who you want to be around at those points.
I have a few buses I need to fill these days. I’m lucky in that I have a long list of people I can’t wait to invite on those buses. Coworking is the reason for that.
If you’re thinking of starting something of your own in the coming year, don’t wait until you have to fill your bus. Find a coworking space in your area and start building your list of partners you know you can work with.