Voted yes: There will be open houses 9am-5pm open to everyone as much as they like, last Wednesdays of the month, starting this October 31st, 9am-5pm. Halloween costumes encouraged. Get people in to see interactions, as visitors. Everyone that’s currently a member to invite one or two people specifically. Explicitly ask them. Because that’s how people become members.

Fitz will put report on member rates together and email to the Google Group before the next civics meeting on member rates.
Civics meetings will start up again every Tuesday 3:30pm, same place, same time. Meetings and events and reminders below: see Updates.

1. Welcome (3:30pm)

  • Civics Meetings – Purpose and Intention. Ideas for process change.
Aimee: What do we want to make of civics meetings, to be really exciting?
Fitz: “Civics meetings to be a place for chatting, collaborating, brainstorming, hearing goals and challenges we’re facing.”
Aimee: “If we only point to Fitz and say what things we’d like Fitz to do, it’s limited what we can do, so maybe we can give lots of support for people to be engaged, what does volunteering look like?”
Fitz: “Some of the best things about this place are going to lunch, having casual conversations. Had a debate-watching party here last night. In that spirit, keep in a casual conversation format.”
Questions about structure vs casual, desire for not difficult (Selena), simple and consistent (Andrejka)?
Alex: “Why have civics meetings?”
Fitz: “To come around and have an atmosphere where we can contribute and share and shape what this place is. For people to be able to give their input into what this place is. Camraderie. Eating snacks someone made.”
  • Roles? Chair (Fitz), Note Taker (Alex), Timekeeper (Andrejka), Facilitator (Aimee).
  • Check-in
Participants: Paul K, Andrejka, Alex, Fitz, Selena, Greg, David, Don, Aimee, Carol, Molly.

2. Reports and Reminders (3:45pm)

  • Weekly Update
Proposal to do an open house. (Priority.)
Rate change discussion. (Priority for Fitz to get a proposal together for next week about rates.)
New memberships happening.
Meeting process and design.
A) Mozilla has acquired their own building and is scheduled to leave sometime in early 2013.
B) Open house successful, people heard about us, not good conversion rate. Why? Fitz thinks our rates are too high.
  • Gentle Reminders
If drink coffee, please put some change in the jar (or even better, buy some coffee sometimes).
Please be sure for last person leaving to lock the elevator upstairs.
Andrejka is leading Skywalker Paradigm: Oct 27 at 5pm.
Todd Pitt and Duke Leto is hosting SMUG (Social Media Users Group) on the rise of social coding (6:30pm Oct 24 Wed.
Dunbar Aitkens Glass Plate Game 6:30pm Monday Oct 29.
Notetaker request: to provide even better info, some events are on the calendar, Fitz and Aimee and members please remind members to post their events on the Collective Agency Calendar:
3. New Business
  • Membership Acquisition
    • Update from Fitz and Aimee

PR could be better. Press releases were sent out last month, picked up by 2 publications. Collective Agency is listed on many coworking directories.

Selena: “Where do you tend to get conversions?”

Fitz: “Referrals. And repeated exposure. Someone hears about us, comes here for a meeting, and knows some friends.  Monthly open houses would be a reason to refer. Come and hang out.”

  • Goals and needs
  • Proposal for monthly open house
Monthly Open House Proposal:
9am-5pm monthly.
get people in to see interactions, as visitors.
freebie abuse.
Greg: “We already have that though, when people visit, they can sit around for a day or a few days, right?” Fitz: “Yes. And this would be regular, I think people would come every month.”
Selena: “Do you think calling first to come is a barrier?” Fitz: “Yes, but people don’t have to call to come. It’s a little more convenient, but even when I’m at lunch, people can come in.”
Andrejka: “And you’re going to tweet ‘Meet us for CoAg lunch, right?’ I thought that was cool.”
Paul K: “Are there competitors we’re competing with?”
Carol: “Right in this area there are a lot of people who might fit better here. It’s just a street where there are a lot of small working spaces. What are the rates there?”
Aimee: “We’re looking at this as a potential. Fitz, you’re looking at this as a proposal, does that mean you want an okay on this, or not? What do we need at this point to flush this out so Fitz can walk away knowing we’ll move forward on this?”
Fitz: “A question for you: Do you think you’d invite friends to come work with you on the last Wednesday of the month?”
Yes’s from around the table.
Greg: “There’s Calagator.”
Aimee: So anyone can come in, part of the goal is for people to come in.
Selena: “So that’s next week, people can come in costume?”
Molly: “We have to.”
Aimee: “Any objections?”
Selena: “I have a suggestion. That you ask everyone that’s currently a member to invite one or two people specifically. Explicitly ask them.”
Fitz: “That’s a great suggestion.”
Selena: “Because if referrals are making money, target them.”
Fitz: “Would any of you be less encouraged to come, if more people here?” Selena: “Depends on what I’m working on.” Paul K: “Wouldn’t make much of a difference.”
Selena: “If I told one of my friends to come, I’d probably show up.” Paul K: “I’ll see you there.”
Aimee: “If no objections, make it a go?” Fitz: “It’d be just as easy to change or reverse it.” Aimee: “OK, move on.” Fitz: “OK, vote on this.”
All vote yes. 7 members vote yes.
Fitz: “OK, yes.”
  • Changing rates – discussion (4:08pm)
Changing Rates Discussion:
Fitz: “I think it’s our community and being around folks that makes this a good place to be. For not much more than $320/month you can get a private office of your own, which sounds awful to me, but seems really appealing to some people.”
Greg: “The coworking space I used to work in Seattle, they’re $300 and you can get a desk to lease, and private offices for $550.”
Aimee: “Why a rates change conversation, for what reason?”
Fitz: “Lack of conversion, real need to get more members before Mozilla leaves.”
Fitz: “Need to improve rate change, for new membership for immediate 20 members.”
Andrejka: “Why not have a limited time discount?”
Greg: “Coworking space I was at, had limited passes, every time you came in, you knocked one off.”
Fitz: “We haven’t had a day rate for goal of continued community.”
Aimee: “I’d love to put that on the table. It strengthens the community when you don’t have a day pass.”
Andrejka, Selena, Greg would support of a day rate instead of a coffeeshop.
Fitz: “Part of it is paying to support a community, to sustain this thing. I hope the monthly membership accomplishes that goal.”
Selena: “I think you’re picking a good season to do a membership drive, because this is the depressing part of the year and people might be thinking about needing human companionship.”
Molly (from across the room, making a voice, joking): “I’m cold and alone.”
Selena: “Target people in overcrowded workspaces, or without an office.”
Paul K: “Do you have a target price in mind?” Fitz: “$250/month for a regular membership. For permanent desks, Mozilla is the only renting permanent desks at $495/month, so I think it’s too high.”
Aimee: “How to work with current rate members?”
Fitz: “To ask for members grandfathered at the old $160/month to pay a new rate. I had a member mention to me one time, ‘Hey Fitz, if you need me to pay a higher rate, just let me know.’ We would need 6 out of 21 people to trade up in order to make the difference.”
Andrejka: “Do you have a referral thing?” Fitz: “Talked about it, ended up getting feedback that majority of people would be discouraged to refer people if they got a financial benefit.”
Aimee: “What do you want to do with this next?”
Fitz: “What I feel least stable about is the rates, consistency.”
Andrejka: “Why not do a temporary $200/month for a month or two, then be permanently at $250, a two or three month offer.” Fitz: “Or even a month.” Molly: “We’ve always gone you’re grandfathered in (other than scholarships).”
Alex: “I like putting it at a rate of $250 or $200 for a month, then if people don’t sign up in that month, they don’t get the lower rate for awhile.”
Fitz: “The time urgency, it’s just more complicated.”

4. Review (4:22pm)

  • Next steps
Aimee: “I think this has been productive. What do you see as the next step?”
Fitz: “I want to come up with a proposal on how to change the rates.”
Paul K: “The thing that’s hard about the rate is, what’s the competitive rate.” Selena: “And what’s the effect if 10 members sign up.”
Alex: “When does the open house go into effect?” Fitz: “Open house passed last night in Coordinating Council last night by 60% and today, so we have a last Wednesday on Halloween.”
Fitz will put report together and email to the Google Group before the next civics meeting on rates.
Alex will post notes to wiki now, will post to Google Group tomorrow.
Aimee: Next week, talk about new membership stuff.
  • Thoughts on meeting process and design

Aimee: “How run this meeting more fun, fair?”

Selena: “Put meeting on PiratePad so more people can contribute.”

Greg: “If in a Google Calendar I can subscribe to, that’s best for me.” Fitz will do.

Greg: “Will this civics meeting be the same day, same place, same time each week?” Fitz: Yes.

Fitz will send notes in advance to people to be able to edit.

Aimee: I’ll be here Tuesdays to assist with facilitating.

4;29pm. Wrap.

Written by Resh Inanna