I dropped by the Satellite Telework Center today, a co-working space in downtown Felton, California. Founding partner Jim Graham poured a cup of coffee and sat down with me to report on this growing business’ progress.
Graham and partners Barbara Sprenger and Ken Meshke started the business almost a year ago, and are on track with their projected goals.
“We always felt this would be the beta site and we now have several more sites in Santa Cruz County under consideration. I have studied co-working for years and have always wondered what prevented this way of working from really taking hold. Our idea has been to get the right mix of components in terms of services, space configuration and community involvement and then reproduce this, with each site having a ‘neighborhood personality.'”
Big Upsell: Why Drive Over Highway 17?
Felton sits near the base of Highway 17 on Highway 9. San Jose and Silicon Valley are on the other side of ‘the hill’ from Felton off Highway 17. A notoriously dangerous and often congested drive, why make it if you can tele-work closer to home? Save the highways, your car and the planet—most of all, save your own quality of life by paring down commuting time.
The Satellite is a green certified workspace and has a mix of cubicles, private offices and conference facilities. There is a large community room and a cafe lounge. The community room is available for all sorts of events, from yoga classes, the library book club to board games.
When asked what the most unexpected outcome for the Satellite has been, Graham answered,
“I thought people would come here to collaborate and work together, but what’s happening even more is that people are collaborating at their jobs, and then coming here several days a week to do very focused work alone. We are also seeing members use the morning commute rush as a time to drop by and work for a few hours, saving time by avoiding traffic. Some members stop by to unwind for an hour or so after work. The Satellite is functioning very smoothly as a place for dedicated work. We have solid internet connectivity and our own power generator, both significant in the Santa Cruz mountains. “
Working together, closer to home with a bit of community. Unemployed and underemployed people are making their own jobs as independent consultants. Co-working is going strong in 2010.