Seems we have a sizeable Berlin community here on lobste.rs. I was once a member of co.up when it was still a coworking space. I may throw some money in the pot
Reminds me of the OSS sustainability discussions. The room provided for these groups to all do something great. They and their activities didn’t provide for the room. The room is so far unsustainable. Like in licensing discussions, folks should try to think on an alternative model with large benefit but more sustainability.
The interesting thing about co.up is: it has been sustainable and worked well. And it’s great to see what happens when you can make that happen! People teaching other people tech because the want too is a great way to live the OSS life for me. Or even just not teaching, just having a party :).
The issue, and that’s a bit of the beauty is just: we need to cover the rent increase. co.up has diverse sponsors for the community room, so it’s actually quite protected against huge sponsors dropping out.
One relevant datum regarding an alternative model: Skills Matter, a London-based training company that ran courses, conferences, and other events out of their dedicated event space (the second such space they had in London), just called in the administrators. They also had a policy of letting user groups and meetups use the space if it wasn’t already booked.
It could be that in cities like London and Berlin, the software population isn’t big enough, or rich enough, or big enough of a spender, to sustain a dedicated space like this. Another analogue I can think of is Amsterdam’s A-lab, which has partnerships with the government, universities and other institutions. It’s also on the site of a former Shell research facility, on land that’s contaminated enough that it probably doesn’t attract high rates despite being very central in a European capital city.
Skills Matter, for better or worse, was a much larger and commercial, investor funded space. Also, the did get something out of those meetups, namely that video recordings and were only available on their site and they were charging well if you wanted to get a copy e.g. for youtube. (this, by the way, means that the whole corpus of Rust London is gone from the internet) The attendee data was also used for training sales and contact building.
The deal with co.up is different: it exists as long as we can cover the rent.
Yes, it was different. @nickpsecurity suggested finding a different, sustainable model; Skills Matter is a different model that turned out not to be sustainable.
Ok, that’s not quite fair. They lasted 15 years, including surviving the sudden demise of their previous space after builders pulled a wall off. They had a great brand with international recognition. But it still couldn’t last forever.
Hah, I know Skills Matter somewhat, but that story, I didn’t know about ;).
The only one I know that’s awesome and sustainable is Recurse Center. I’m always on the lookout for more examples/models. Thanks for those two.
I wonder if this is something a city community center or local beer hall can solve, both often have sizable rooms for events.
Not really, as this would not be our space. The co.up model works well, but rent needs to be paid.
Investing the money into our space has never been the problem and I’m glad it worked. Investing more is now the problem.
Any place that serves alcohol would preclude attendance by people of less than legal drinking age, and would be inappropriate for people from cultures where alcohol is frowned upon.
I think this is mostly am American issue? There are mostly no such restrictions in Germany, and people under 16 are not very likely to attend anyways, I guess. Not that I think that meetups that require attendees to buy (expensive) drinks would be a great idea.
It is. Under a certain age, you need to have a guardian in such places, though that can even be an older minor.
But yeah, spaces that need consumption are not good.
The rent doubled? In that area of Berlin (Kottbusser Tor)? :(
If Germany is anything like Sweden, commercial rents (as opposed to household rents) are set by the free market.
I had my office in Umspannwerk and rent doubled as well, it went from undercharging to overcharging.
That’s where they wanted(?) to have some Google-related offices, right? No wonder, then.