The "Tail" of how it all Started....
It was a typical summer day, scorching hot, and a thunder shower was about to roll in. I was working in my home office, with my golden retriever, Thurman, at my feet. You could hear the rumbling in the distance, see the leaves turn upside down, and it began to get a little darker outside. Then suddenly shaaa-pow! My house got hit by lightning. The T.V was making a clicking noise, my laptop and monitor went dark, and Thurman was visibly shaking. I rubbed his head, and told him it was going to be o.k., he headed for his "safe" place and I went and checked the fuse panel. As I clicked on the breakers, everything seemed to be ok, however the T.V and my Internet router were causalities.
I called Samsung, and scheduled a warranty repair, and next was my internet provider. After 30 minutes on hold, I finally got a live person. The representative, was kind, told me this happens in Florida a lot. It was going to take them six days to get a technician to my house. I thought, no sweat I can survive with just tethering my cell and getting my normal work done. It would be slow, but doable. I soon learned uploading telecom switch configurations of over 600 megabytes to a server in California via my cell, is not working. Files are partially there, but physically not complete and corrupted. I could crash our network if I put these files in service. Tethering is not going to be enough bandwidth.
I jumped in my car and headed to P##### Bread. I was lucky to find a seat, as it appears an entire group of Purple hat ladies had taken over the joint. I grabbed a snack and got to work. It was loud, everyone appeared to have literally gotten a phone call at the same time, my battery was dying on my laptop, and I could not get to the speedtest domain to try and see what kind of bandwidth I was working with. My plan was to segment the files into smaller bites to deal with my uploads. I got my first file loaded, then wammo, laptop shut down. I was able to scout out an empty booth that had an outlet, the people who were occupying the booth next to it thought I was creepy, and got up and left. Success, I got juice! After spending over 3 hours to load a single file, which would normally take 3 minutes from home, I received an email from our Operations group, with changes that needed to be made to the file I just loaded. This is just not going to work for me.
I bypassed the coffee shop (the one with the green logo), assuming that the bandwidth would be same, and headed to the library. I found an isolated area from the book club that was discussing Internet for Dummies, (NO JOKE). As I began loading the new file, I was approached by the sweetest librarian, she said, "I know you just sat down, and before you get too comfortable we are closing in 15 minutes." The internet was so slow, that it was meaningless to stay. I bounced back in my car and headed home. I text'd every neighbor asking if they were home from work yet, as I needed to hijack their WiFi for a few hours. No one was home yet or responding as its dinner time, and I don't blame them. Finally, my one neighbor responded with a picture of his router and password. I was able to find the network and connect, however it was slow from where I was sitting in my house. My phone begins to ping and I have 3 more updated files now to load, as Father's Day weekend is a high volume phone traffic day. So without imposing on my neighbor, I set up a make shift desk in my garage, the closest I could get really to his router without putting a lawn chair in his yard. Success! I was able to crank out the remaining changes and uploads to get through the holiday weekend, however it was like 100 degrees and dark and this is not going to work for next week.
Over the weekend, as I explained my adventures to friends and neighbors, someone mentioned I could hit a place downtown that offered a strange concept to me at the time, coworking. My familiarity with downtown was non-existent, but it appeared it could be what I need until my router is back online. Orders piled up over the weekend, my workload would be larger than normal, so this is going to happen. I went online and reserved a coworking day, for which I had to pay $30 bucks. This was already strange to me. So I had a plan to wake up early, shower, put on some nice clothes and commute to downtown from the beach area where I live. Having worked from home for over 10 years, this was an old but new concept for me.
The day began burning my oatmeal. Then the traffic. Lots of traffic. I had no idea that the bridge I planned my excursion over to get to my destination was closed. Rerouting, rerouting, rerouting. A trip that should have taken me 30-45 minutes with morning rush hour traffic, took me and hour and forty minutes. I finally reached my destination, and I drove around the block looking for their parking lot. Nope. They did not have any designated parking or reserved parking for any tenants. I had to park in a paid lot. The only lot that was not full or closed was one that was five blocks away and $25 bucks for the day. Aggravated already, I began to hoof it in shoes I normally don't wear, pants that were way to long and hot, and a laptop bag that had been through some wars. I presented my day pass to the receptionist while a solid bead of sweat dripped onto the desk. I was given a desk with a chair, that was no better than the make shift bucket and box that was in my garage. I was determined to get though the day, so I whipped out my laptop, put my head phones on and started cranking out file after file. I picked up my head after a few hours to notice, I was being sized up by the "residents". It was awkward. They were wondering who I was and eager to find out why I was there. Not being a social butterfly, I just wanted to get my work done and get back to familiar surroundings and my pup. Of course I forgot my lunch I made the night before on the kitchen counter, so I had to ask a resident where I could get a quick bite to eat. They were nice and helpful, however now I gotta spend another $15 bucks to eat.
As I wandered home from this coworking space, on roads that appeared to take me in a circle with bumper to bumper traffic, I thought there has to be other people that are in a similar situation as me right now. I spent $70 bucks to go to work, and spent nearly 3 hours on the road for some solid internet and a place to rest my laptop. I began to research the coworking concept. Little did I know there are spaces all over the world that deliver different levels of service in cool looking buildings and layouts for people just like me. Someone that works from home, that from time to time could use a change or need a space in case of an emergency. However there were plenty of issues that needed to be solved in order for this to become a viable business plan in my area.
I began to scour the area for a location, that had free and plentiful parking, that was easy to get to by a large population, had plenty of options for food, where the price per square foot made sense, and of course that was close to my own home. It took over 6 months to find and decide on a location, a retail shopping mall. Not the most conventional space for an "office", however it met the criteria. The next step was to create an inviting space, with cool furniture, plenty of amenities and enough leg room where people could hunker down and work without breaking the bank daily. A place where I could get a lion's share of my work done during the day. I took a chance and built it, hoping people would come. They have. This is how LionShare Cowork was born.