It’s always a challenge explaining what coworking, or shared offices, are about and if they are right for you. Rather than trying to explain, we decided to simply share the stories of the people around ThreeFortyNine. Our hope is that you will have a better idea if coworking is for you while ‘meeting’ someone new from our community.
Next up, meet Alan!
Tell us about yourself and your history with the city of Guelph?
I moved to Guelph from Toronto in 2014 to establish life in a smaller town. I had several friends who had moved here, and felt the call myself too. I was drawn to Guelph because of its downtown core that doesn’t blend into surrounding cities, but rather has a distinct centre and rural surroundings.
Guelph seems to attract people like yourself, who come here with some expectations about what living here will be like, now that you’ve been here a few years what would you say to someone in a similar situation who is considering moving here?
I would say Go for it! Guelph is a progressive city in many ways with a lot of interesting people and natural surroundings. The connections happened quickly for me. I’ve joined the board of Silence, a music venue dedicated to musicians and “adventurous” improvised music. I have also established my business in the downtown core, and I have a red-brick house in the downtown core that would have been inaccessible in Toronto. Plus, it’s been a huge relief to get out of the big city and into something that feels more “human scale”. I joke sometimes that the traffic is bad when there’s a line up at one stoplight, but it’s true.
Where do you work or what is your business venture if you are working on your own thing?
I run Eigenworks, a boutique research firm servicing US technology clients, and draw employees and other collaborators from this area, fellow Toronto migrants, and the KW area. I’m in my 11th year of business, and am working to productize our offering, make it more scalable and sustainable. Also building a tech platform and training offerings.
How are you involved with ThreeFortyNine?
I guess I’m kind of a “graduate” of the ThreeFortyNine School of Business. I took a desk in 2014, and eventually I think my business was occupying 5 or 6 desks until we finally realized it was time to get our own space. That initial two years or so was essential to establishing myself and my business in Guelph. Meeting Brydon was amazing, as I felt a kindred spirit with many common professional experiences. ThreeFortyNine is a hub of interesting people with lots to talk about. Many collaborations have emerged for me!
Can you expand on how ThreeFortyNine was essential and maybe detail a few or the collaborations?
Sure! ThreeFortyNine naturally attracts people who are thoughtful, entrepreneurial, and out of the box. When I took my desk in 2014, I didn’t know many people in town. At ThreeFortyNine, I met and regularly interacted with a really interesting group of people ranging from solo practitioners to remote workers. Everybody I met was open, and so many conversations happened around the kitchen or the board room. I love the slogan, “work for yourself, not by yourself.” That was the main thing – I felt like I had comrades.
I also engaged in Founders Club, and got exposure to a lot of interesting businesses. But more important was the really interesting discussion that came from the folks in Founders Club. Many of those connections are still the backbone of my local professional network. In fact several of the ThreeFortyNine folks joined my team at Eigenworks for periods of time, and two of them permanently. I would say that being at ThreeFortyNine was a big part of helping me get my business to the next level.