I want a garage. One like in the movies about a birth of the great IT business. If there is no garage available/left I would love to have a basement (skladukas – nice Lithuanian word). Sadly I must balance my work routine between home, co-working spaces and cafes. I`ve been working in a lot of different environments. And I still want a garage.
A Garage is a place where you can be surrounded only by your working idea. A Garage is an area where all the external world problems are left outside. Garage is place where you can do shit not giving a single fuck about what your neighbors think. If I need loud DNB music to be energized – I just pump up the volume. Garage is the place where I can invite my friends, colleagues when I feel that I need them. Need them for the work I am doing.
In reality, if you want to work in a garage and you are located in Lithuania you will get really cold. At least on a winter like this. I like warmth so I had to find some alternatives. And I did:
- tried working in coworking spaces (hubs),
- tried working from home,
- tried working from a shared office,
- tried working from university library (it is better than it sounds like)
From these experience I can sum up: I still want a garage.
Why I am so demanding person? Well I have three constraints of which two are dominant:
- Quality of the working environment
- People around.
In Lithuania, from my experience either you must be paying a lot for the office space or you will be thrown into a hall.
Most Hubs here operate in a hall style. Bigger or smaller, but still a hall. While I am nothing against sharing the space with others, I still want to have a working environment which does not requires attention from me. Therefor I think an optimum number of colleagues in a shared space starts from 4 and finishes with 8. Also being a small live group in a huge empty area does not make me feel comfortable (this can be easily solved by the movable walls, but sadly…).
Public libraries are quite close to the hubs just with more rules and less to pay. As I need to be on phone some times – it sucked to get up, go out, make a talk, come back. If I need a laptop while I am talking – I am screwed (so is the battery).
Another option is to rent a cabinet. I am not going to explain the pricing, location, need of furniture, etc. Just take my words – for the startup you don`t want to pay much. You do have more important budget lines (see my previous posts about prioritization). Especially on the early stage. The only big plus is ability to gather all your team into one place. But if they and you have other responsibilities (eg jobs) – it makes no sense to sit alone. If you work together with friends/potential partners (did that) in a rented room – you still have distractions. And again you can`t focus on your work as much as you could be working from your own garage/basement.
Working from home could be the closest I got to working in a garage. I and only I work here. I go out to socialize when I feel need for that. I play music which I want to play… But actually there can get or to many of “I” (even all of us are egocentrics) or we share the house/flat with somebody. And there is no I left after the working hours, on weekends, etc.. I created my own working corner (two of them actually), how ever distractions are still really close. Also it is not good for the relations. When you get angry in a garage – you shout. When you get angry at your home – you still can shout. But be afraid that someone wouldn`t take it as a “shouting at somebody”. It can get really nasty then..;)
Why I am writing this? So far garage in a tropical area with high speed internet fits my needs best. But I hope for a change. Maybe managers (land lords) of the shared office spaces for the new businesses will read this: “If you understand your customer needs you can react. You, the manager, can make your place awesome. And then people like me will be ambassadors for you“. I was sharing my concerns with some of the hub owners, how ever the changes were either cosmetic or not considered needed (still feeling pity about that. Oh and I left with my 800lt/month).
Also I do hope that some (future?) politics/bureaucrats will notice all those young “stupid” people who try to create something on their own. With the right budget some cool and productive spaces could be created. Contrary (in my biased opinion) all the current “technology centers” and “valleys” are an expensive office spaces. Designed by those who are not working there. Operated by those who don`t care much about the balance between the need of a new technological businesses and their financial income. And this is not an investment. It is “right usage of the funds” (or “įsavinimas” in Lithuanian).
But for the Lithuanian society is it better to have the more strong businesses then a faster investment return? Or isn`t it?