Voted yes on rates change. It goes into effect tomorrow for our first monthly Open House. View: Rate Change Proposal

Result: Current members paying $320/month will now pay $250/month. Current members paying $495/month will now pay $380/month. Members currently paying $160/month will be asked to volunteer to pay $250/month, but will not be required to.
Good news: 5 new members signed up on Friday and Monday, mostly because of the community here.
Aimee will add two agenda items (monitor storage, and phone calls)  to next week’s agenda.
Fitz will send out a newsletter, will change website so people sign up at new rate, will announce in every way he can. Members asked to refer friends: that is how people become members.
Meetings this week? Alex’s Tax and Conversation meeting this Tuesday 6pm. Andrejka and Todd’s meetings went great last week.


Full Notes:

3:30 Welcome

  • Civics Meetings – Purpose and Intention.
  • Volunteers for roles: Timekeeper, Note Taker, Facilitator
Fitz chair, Aimee and Andrejka facilitators, Tom timekeeper, Alex notes.
  • Check-in
Steve, settled into Portland, grateful for this place to work and for the people here.
Tom, here over a year, a great place to work, people great, very appreciative of having this space.
Don Park, grateful we haven’t had any natural disasters.
Molly, really appreciate a dust-free space to work in. On staycation.
Fitz, appreciative of challenges presented with here.
Alex, appreciative of people seeming to be okay in New York and other places with the weather.
Todd, been here more than a year, appreciative of cross-over conversations here. Collective Agency makes those conversations really deep. And appreciative of the community here.
Aimee, here 20 weeks now, thankful for technology, to be in touch with what’s happening in New York, Occupy here, and collaborative tools being developed that supports her work.
Andrejka, been here for months, grateful for old friends.

3:40 Reports and Reminders

  • Weekly Update
Fitz: Signed up 5 new members between Friday and Monday. More people know about us, good feeling. More buzz about coworking generally in Portland.
Fitz: Working hard on rate change proposal. Fewer meetings being booked, meetings are seasonal.
  • Review of CoAg process for proposals
Fitz: wants everyone to feel that anyone can make proposals. We have a suggested format.
1) Why do you want to change something here?
2) What do you want to change? What is this problem-solving/what do you want to be different?
3) Write it up and publish it, at least 2 business days before the next meeting.
4) Proposal has to pass in a civics (Tuesdays 3:30pm, has to be submitted by Fridays 3:30pm) and a council meeting (Mondays 4:30pm, has to be submitted by Thursdays 4:30pm).
5) Has to pass through both meetings by 60% of the attendees.
Good to have checks and balances, but it’s not that hard.
Aimee: Where can people see that process, to follow the instructions?
Fitz: You can post the proposal on our wiki (on the website), really happy to show anyone how to do that. And/or to send it out on the Google Group. If you do that, Fitz will send it out on Twitter and post in on the Facebook page. It would also be good to print out the proposal and post it around the space. We also have a newsletter with 500+ people, but rarely would send to the newsletter.
Molly: I think it’s been really easy to approach you with an idea, thanks for helping me out. I proposed a lot of things.
Fitz: Molly felt members should have one free meeting a month, that meeting with a group clients would be really supportive of people here. Molly and Tom proposed, and we went through some back and forth on it, members can have one group meeting a month for up to two hours in a conference room. You can have as many people as you want into that meeting room, you’ll staff it, all members know how to let people in. It’s blossomed into a way for people to have user group meetings. Andrejka, Todd, Alex, Molly.
[Notetaker: We also have 3 visits per member per month, who can meet in conference rooms. See the Membership page and scroll down for details.]
  • Gentle Reminders
Fitz: Please bring or chip in for coffee.
Andrejka: I brought chicory root, as a coffee alternative.
Fitz: Also please always lock the elevator upstairs, last person here.
Alex: If after 5pm weekdays or on weekends and elevator is on, then each person should turn it off as they leave and lock it upstairs?
Group: Yes.

3:45 New Business

Aimee asks if anyone has other items. None.

  • Membership Acquisition
Fitz: What I’m proposing is to change the flexible rate from $320/month to $250/month, and to change the reserved desk rate from $495/month to $380/month. There are several reasons. 1) We don’t have that many people signing up at $320. We have 53 members total, 8 members paying the $320 rate. 4 of those members are Mozilla employees. We have 4 members currently paying $320/month. We need more members paying.
Fitz: Total expenses are $14,400 a month. Rent, insurance, leasing-to-buy the chairs, paying me, paying Aimee, and we pay a pretty good rate on all of that.
Fitz: Mozilla will be leaving sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
Andrejka: How did Mozilla find out about us?
Alex: Dietrich, Dave, Taras were members here, and there was sort of a campaign by them to have Mozilla here.
Andrejka: How many members do we want, ideally?
Fitz: We’ll need 22-28 members at the $250 rate. With Mozilla leaving that’ll bring it to 76 members.
Andrejka: You set the stage, so what do we want to…?
Fitz: Biggest reason people not signing up is they say it’s too expensive.
Alex: And people signing up, why are they signing up?
Fitz: The community is a big part of it, and it has to make financial sense. The people signing up are I think the ones who do value the community a lot, though there are people who aren’t signing up who would value community. I think we’d have a broader variety of people here, and the virtue of just having more people here.
Fitz shows the rate chart to group.  View: Rate Change Proposal
Todd: They’re the closest comparison we can get given that there aren’t any other democratic coworking places around.
Steve: How many members here work for big companies?
Fitz: I would say a majority of people here work for large companies and telecommute.
Alex: And of people here right now (around this table), how many are here from large companies?
Fitz: None.
Steve: A comparable service would be, where do they actually go? Is it $250 here or $190 at NedSpace, or work out of a guest bedroom?
Fitz: Coffee shops, single office space (very small office spaces).
Aimee: Some places calculate rates based on how much it would cost to work at a coffee shop full-time.
Fitz compares us to NedSpace: rates are only $175 there, but the community is the highlight here.
Molly: It seems strange to me that a permanent desk is more than $120 more.
Fitz: Once we start reaching capacity, flexible space is more valuable, potentially 3 times what a reserved desk is worth. And I don’t see a community difference between the two.
Molly: My friends who haven’t joined, want to bring their monitor. I’ve told them you can bring it and leave it and it’s okay. Todd’s really nice and leaves his out, but I’m wondering if providing a space for people to store their precious cargo that doesn’t fit into a locker, because flex doesn’t work for them because of their equipment.
Fitz: I would really love some help with brainstorming.
Aimee: Can I suggest after, take that (monitor storage) to an agenda item to next week, especially to encourage more members?
Steve: Probably a similar item to next week, if I do have to make a lot of phone calls, it’s speaking in a public area instead of a private area. Some way to clarify etiquette. I’m not sure how many people are saying no to a communal workspace because of phone calls.
Todd: suggests building something.
Molly mentions phone rooms, where people can go talk.
Fitz: Let’s talk about phone calls next week.
Todd: With rate change, will all members adjust to the new rate?
Fitz: In the past it’s always been you stay at the rate at which you signed up [except for scholarships]. And we’ll do the same thing this time. Although I’m asking members paying grandfathered rates (21 members paying $160), asking them to volunteer to pay the $250 rate. I do think we’re all going to need to contribute and step up and do this all together.
Todd: The reason this request is being made is to help Collective Agency sustainability.
Alex: What about Ryan’s comment about people ending membership if they leave for 3 months without financial benefit of staying?
Fitz: It’s a lot more helpful to refer new members.
Molly: It doesn’t seem necessary.
Alex: Okay.
Fitz: I want people to be incentivized to use their membership.
Todd: Does this bring up the question of who is an optimal member? Are we looking for a type of member we’re looking to get more of in the space? What are we thinking that optimal candidate might be?
Fitz: will decline to answer this.
Tom: I’m at the $160 rate and downstream makes sense we’ll have to make some adjustments. Something I want to ease into as we get closer to the departure of Mozilla. I think it’s fundamental for this place — there’s a good thing going on here. I like the idea of the lower rate because I think it’ll increase the membership.
Todd: I’m for it. I’ve been paying $160 from the beginning and if I’m not paying a sustainable rate, then it’s not real. And if it’s not real, this place won’t stick around. I’m willing to pay more to reach a more sustainable level.
Andrejka: I think it’s a good idea. When I’ve introduced this place and described the rates to friends, one thought the space was cool but the price was a bit much.
Steve: Sounds great to me.
Alex: Will there be a newsletter and stuff if this goes?
Fitz: Yes.
Molly: So we could announce tomorrow at the Open House?
Alex: So how do we vote on it?
Fitz: Vote?
All 8 vote yes.

4:25 Review

  • Next steps
Aimee will add two agenda items to next week.
Fitz will do newsletter, will change so people sign up at new rate, will announce in every way he can.
Alex will post notes to wiki and email Google Group.
Meetings this week? Alex’s Tax and Conversation meeting this Tuesday 6pm. Andrejka and Todd’s meetings went great.
  • Thoughts on meeting improvements
Written by Resh Inanna