Co-Working: Elk Antlers, Awesome with a “J” and Why I’m Going to Die From Diabetes

Cohere co-working in Ft. Collins, CO

Image of the main Cohere workspace ripped-off without apology from their website.

It was 6:30am. I looked in the mirror and thought:

“Are those the Falkland Islands?”

I was referring to the acne installation that has cropped-up on my 37-year-old face overnight. Life’s been kicking me in the ass lately and while I’m always up for a good ass kicking, this one was apparently leaving me looking as if I’d stuck my face in the Burger King deep fryer. More on the deep fryer later.

As a solopreneur with a rapidly growing business, I act solo. I take conference calls on my sofa, wander around the backyard with the dogs while chatting about SEO and move sprinklers while hashing things out with web developers. I have essentially ZERO human interaction. I’m a goddamn hermitpreneur. Yesterday, that changed.

Two weeks ago, I’d received an invite to haul ass up to Ft. Collins for the day to co-work at Cohere Community. Angel (Cohere founder) was apparently shocked when I said “yes.” While she had no idea as to the reclusive and depraved work day that IS RedheadWriting, all I could think was: what the fuck am I going to do with OTHER PEOPLE?!? While it was possible I’d explode and leave a nasty stain on Cohere’s walls, I said hells yeah. The Toaster and I were going to The Fort. And thanks to the acne, we could use the HOV lane to get there.

I’d never heard of co-working before. Apparently it was an office you can go to if you don’t have an office. Given that I’ve never wanted an office since starting my business, I didn’t really know how it would all work out. But I’m here to tell you that co-working is the schiz. Da bomb. The hizzy. It’s awesome with a J.

Once I perched at my workspace, I followed the tale of a gal who had just had a buyer back-out on buying her home because his prized 10′ elk antler wouldn’t fit in her living room. (Weigh-in, darlin’ – I suck with names but very much enjoyed the conversation on IUDs!)

Jeremiah professed his belief that Steve Jobs and the CEO of AT&T had killed a hobo together and that was the only explanation for the ongoing bad relationship between the ossum hardware and shitty network. And in the process of laughing, I met a pretty cool WordPress developer.

When I needed to buckle-down and generate some content, I went into a nifty “quiet room” with a door, jammed out two blog posts and then promptly landed back at my workspace when ready for more stimulus. Stimulus is apparently a giant sandwich and I ate the hell out of it when it arrived for lunch – an added perk of the free co-working day at Cohere. In fine Redhead style, I did decorate my sandwich with Annie’s organic bunny crackers and truly regret that I don’t have a picture of the 100 Acre Woods I created deli-style.

Angel wanted me to share with those who were there some details about my brand – essentially, how I’ve come to be an unapologetic brand and the challenges it brings me. At the tail end of a fucked-up journey I can only assume put half the folks to sleep or in a state of mind to want to stab me with the blunt ends of their piece of the giant sandwich, Pul Hummer (heh-I said “hummer”) (yes, I’m really a twelve-year-old boy) comes through the door and offers that he’s just met the Coolest Guy in Ft. Collins. Realizing this was vitally more important than anything I could conjure, we all direct our attention to his animated account. We ask: was meeting this guy ossum with an O or awesome with an A?

Alex replied that it was Awesome with a J. How the fuck do you argue with that?

After lunch, Cali and I went on an jawesome trip over to The Fort’s local cupcake shop. Apparently evil lurks, even in small-town America. On the bottom right-hand shelf, there was a little sign that said, “Frosting Shots: $1.”

I gasped. Pointed. Inhaled. Gasped again.

Little known fact about The Redhead: I fucking LOVE frosting. You can keep the cupcake, cut off the top and turn it into some twisted Seinfeld muffin top episode – just give me the frosting. Taco Bell has Fourth Meal, I have frosting. I would use it as thigh cream, gladly generating mounds of lemon-flavored buttercream cellulite. I’d wrestle a small child for a Frosting Shot and use dirty tactics to take them down – with their mother looking.

So, I bought two frosting shots – one for me and one for Cali – and a cupcake, as it’s a moral imperative to QC cupcakes within a 2 hour radius of the Denver metro area. Cali gave me the old town tour of The Fort, which is quaint in a Pearl Street/Boulder kind of way and…relaxed. I liked it. When back at Cohere, it was promptly offered that I’d likely die from a diabetic coma right there on the hardwood if I ingested the frosting shot. Granted, this was offered as I raised my spoonful of buttercream porn to my lips and accompanied by, “You’re just gonna eat it with a SPOON!?!?”

Why yes. Yes, I am. But I digress.

I meant for this post to talk about how ossum Cohere is and how in love I am with the concept of co-working. I never realized I was a recluse. I mean, Christ – I “talk” to hundreds of people each day on Twitter and my Fan page or blog. I’d become The Guy in a Van, Down By the River and not even realized it. <insert sad Huey Lewis and the News song here> Co-working at Cohere yesterday made me realize a metric ass ton of things, elk antlers and insulin comas aside:

  • Being around people is a release – when I needed stimulus, I got it in spades. When I needed to buckle down, I could go hide. I worked better after the release. WIN.
  • I need people – while masturbating is a guilty, private pleasure, career masturbation is…well, it’s just sad. I’d been diddling myself day in, day out and never stopped to realize: people rock.
  • OOOOH, SHINY! I learned stuff. From the girl with bicycle wheels on her boobs who made ossum t-shirts to finding new web developers and potential new copywriters, the day was an epic WIN filled with things I needed that I could only get from other people.
  • People read my shit – while terrifying, I was confronted with a room full of people at Cohere who…ummm…apparently like what I write. So thank you. More importantly, thank you for not serving me with a restraining order when you heard I was coming to town. Now, sadly, you know that it’s not just an act – I really AM this fucked-up.
  • I’ll be back – driving for an hour and ten minutes is easy. Working alone all day – that’s hard. I loved the people, the environment and the vibe. I indulged in a rare gluten treat and loved the sammich and mini diet soda, too. While I will not single-handledly support the cupcake establishment (though I could, don’t get me wrong), you’ve earned a paying customer from a simple invite that you thought I wouldn’t accept for some reason. Silly wabbit – I was tickled to be asked to join you.
  • Solutions – we came up with a killer solution for the BP oil spill: turn the Gulf into a big-ass wok or deep-fryer! Chinese food for everyone! (This is how shit gets done, people.)

If you’re a solo soul and haven’t checked out co-working options in your area, please do. It’s soul food and the ideal anti-office solution. What went on at Cohere yesterday was any HR specialist’s nightmare and the fodder for many-a-lawsuit. Not all working environments have to have a stick up their ass. Sticks hurt. Laughter is much more pleasing to perch on if you’ve gotta get some work done – it lives at Cohere. Check it out. Denver co-working, Boulder co-working, Ft. Collins co-working…it’s all accessible at Cohere. With cupcakes.


23 comments
Jodi Henderson
Jodi Henderson

Your realizations about needing people strike home for me. I have an office job right now, but think I would be much happier performing the work for said office job if I could do it in isolation (like at home) or perhaps in a co-working space. I guess the difference for me would be that in a co-working space, the interactions are short-lived because everyone is there to get stuff done. In an office environment, everyone is there because they have to be and interactions are not so short-lived because they serve as a distraction from the work. I might actually like engaging in conversation with people again if I didn't have to tell them to shut up and get some work done.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Honestly - you don't want the frosting shot. It was diabetes-delicious. <shoots insulin> Thanks for stopping by and weighing-in with your own co-working experience!

The Redhead
The Redhead

ZOMG - I *sooooooo* need this shirt. LIKE NOW!

Dave Gardner, Editor
Dave Gardner, Editor

Coworking is the wave of the future! I work out of a cowork facility (AltamontCowork) in Northern California--and it sure as heck beats the early morning freeway gauntlet to Silicon Valley or San Francisco (not that I don't like those places--it's just that the commute is a killer).In his blog, Seth Godin said that with our laptops, WiFi, software applications, and our own skills, we can work virtually (and literally) anywhere. I'm not at the cowork place everyday or all the time--but when I need to get out of the house (my home office)... when the dog is driving me nuts wanting to go in and out every second (we've got a squirrel problem and the dog is about as ADD as I am), and when the door-to-door solicitors are not run off by the dog... I go to the cowork facility (that is about a mile down the road from my home). It's maybe not even the "cowork" idea that is so appealing. But just the ability to get work done, no matter *WHERE* you are that is so appealing. (I'm not overly enthused about cubicle farms or regular *offices*...) Two years ago, I went to a "cybercafe" (when I was in Hong Kong) to briefly check my email--and found an email from a client wanting a very-quick-turnaround emergency edit for her manuscript. A few hours later, the fixed document was on the way back to her. I'm from the U.S., she's in the Netherlands... I did the work in Hong Kong. She paid by PayPal. I used the funds that evening to buy a very nice meal for my family at an outstanding Chinese restaurant. How cool is that? Very. Beats the heck out of an "office job". :-) Very nice post. I've linked to your post on my own coworking website. (And now I want to try a Frosting shot!)

Cali Harris
Cali Harris

Cohere pretty much blows. my. mind. SO super-dupery happy that you came up to the Fort. I promise not to instigate/be a part of any more frosting comas. Srsly.

Cali Harris
Cali Harris

Suzanne - I'm wearing the bike commuter shirt today, and the first thing my mom said when she saw it was "I like the placement of the wheels." Bwahaha!

The Redhead
The Redhead

My work here is done. I've talked about boobs with bicycle wheels and I've made you (nearly) pee your pants. W00t!

Justin Matthews
Justin Matthews

"I’d wrestle a small child for a Frosting Shot and use dirty tactics to take them down – with their mother looking." I damn near peed my pants laughing at this! good read, maybe I should get out once in a while myself, or at least have some adult interaction. 3 kids under 10 gets me writing about scooby doo or hannah Montana way too much.

The Redhead
The Redhead

BOOBS! I want one of those shirts. Please tell me how I can have one and for what nominal fee so I may, too, have bicycle wheels on my boobs!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Hello. Welcome. I'm like a twelve-step program for inappropriate people. ;-)

ElizabethPW
ElizabethPW

So I'm now going to leave one of those lame comments that's all "this is the first post I have read of you and I can't believe that I didn't hear about you before because I resonate with your insanity and I'm adding you to my feed reader" and various other slightly uncomfortable things that you say on a first date in blog comment form. #thatisall

Angel K
Angel K

Trololol! #squeeeeee, etc.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I'll get those forms signed and bring them to you WHEN I COME UP AGAIN IN TWO WEEKS ON A WEDNESDAY!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Yes, right. I've fixed that now and made the requisite adolescent joke about his name. WERD!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Right. I've totally updated that. By the way - the glasses are HAWT.Good luck with the pants!

Alex Chiang
Alex Chiang

Except that his underscore goes at the end of his handle whereas mine goes at the beginning (@_achiang).Oh, and he's white and I'm yellow.But thanks for clearing up the confusion, albeit slightly. I did have a large blackout yesterday and was thinking, "oh goodie, now I know where I was" but I guess I need to go looking for my pants somewhere else.cheers!

brentter
brentter

Cohere FTW... though today im touring the local denver coworking spots.... sadly none have the same type of awesome setups (not to mention any type of treehouses) like cohere....

The Redhead
The Redhead

Dammit! Will correct. Bugger it all.Sent from an iPhone that wishes it were an iPad so its owner wouldn't have to worry about dropping calls.

Angel K
Angel K

ZOMG, Erika....if Cohere was a nail. You nailed us. Quite literally, we'll never be the same. Thank you for summing up a day of THE most random, J-awesome events. People always want to know what they will get out of coworking besides a place to sit and wifi. This is it in all of our brilliance, wit, humor and HR nightmarish inappropriateness. BTW, those legal forms are in the mail.

Jeremiah Tolbert
Jeremiah Tolbert

Great to hear that you had a good time coworking with all of us. It was a real pleasure to meet you, especially given that your sense of humor is as demented as mine. I wanted to make one correction hopefully before he sees it-- The guy you've credited as Alex Chiang here is actually Paul Hummer, aka @rockstar_ . They both work for the same company, Canonical (which makes Ubuntu) so I can understand the confusion.Looking forward to seeings you in FC again in the future!

Suzanne
Suzanne

I'm the girl with bicycle wheels on her boobs. ha.

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