On Wednesday night, a group of us met at Crimson Cup coffee in Clintonville (or Beechwold. Or both, depending on who you ask) to discuss the idea of starting a coworking space in Columbus. (This is something I've written about before.) James Bentley and I coordinated the meeting (we found each other several weeks ago on the Columbus Coworking wiki page and have had a handful of phone calls and a couple working lunches since then) and we were both very pleasantly surprised at the turnout: 12 in attendance, including James and myself. And this from a fairly limited amount of promotion (just a couple Columbus message boards and one mailing list for local ruby developers.)
But even more encouraging? The professionalism and legitimacy of those in attendance. (You know, sometimes you throw these ideas out to the public, and you're never quite sure what you're gonna get: some goth kid that wants a place to write his 'fan-fics' and an insect-collector with a twitchy eye and mother issues..) No, these folks were as handsome and respectable a cross-section of Columbus' creative class as one could hope for: we had everyone from remote workers for companies in other states to independent contractors to local entrepreneurs (Alex Hutton's company employs folks from their homes in all 4 corners of Columbus!) Michelle Crandall was a welcome addition to the mix—she's Director of Administrative Services for the City of Dublin and had some great insight into how to make our coworking efforts appeal to Columbus city administrators.
We had a great discussion—I've posted some meeting notes over on the coworking wiki if you're really interested. Also, following the meeting, I set up a Google Group for Columbus Coworking which I encourage you to join, whether you'd like to become involved or would merely like to monitor our progress in the weeks and months ahead.
A couple of us (Alex, Jason Long, James and myself) grabbed dinner after the meeting and bounced around a couple more ideas—one that I'm really liking is the thought of having weekly or bi-weekly informal coworking sessions: basically, taking over a different area Panera for 6 hours on a Friday, or something like that. (See Jelly or Ann Arbor's Microcoworking.) I especially like that this is something we can do almost immediately, with no overhead, until an actual physical location becomes a reality. We'll probably be discussing this over at the new group. Join us, won't you?