In his classic book on tech marketing, Crossing the Chasm, Mohr Davidow Ventures Partner Geoffrey A. Moore describes the gap between the early adopters of a product (the enthusiasts and visionaries) and the beginning of the adoption by the early majority (the pragmatists) of the mainstream market. Moore describes strategies that early adopters use to create an anchor to successfully cross the chasm and enter the mainstream market.
Coworking began within the creative community in New York City in 2006 as casual working events called Jellies. These early adopters gathered for a casual day at homes and coffee shops to work alongside other creative people. As these groups began to seek dedicated spaces to gather, physical coworking spaces were born. Coworking spaces are now growing rapidly – a study in 2013 showed that the number in the US has now grown to more than 780.
While 780 workspaces may seem like a large number, and it is, the number of coworkers they serve (less than 100,000) is nevertheless a tiny fraction of the total available market of 18 million independent workers in the US. So we are still very much in the early adopter phase of the market. These early adopters, however, are helping shape coworking spaces to the point where they are now becoming appealing to the pragmatist in the mainstream market.
The phenomenal rise of WeWork, as described in a recent Forbes article, is an affirmation that coworking is poised to cross the chasm. Starting with just 3,000 sq. ft. in SoHo in 2010, the company is projecting to have 1.6 million sq. ft. of space in 24 locations by the end of 2014 and plans to double that by the end of 2015. WeWork, unlike many of the previous early adopter niche spaces, is appealing to the early majority of the market with beautiful workspaces incorporating glass and brick walls, technology-enabled conference rooms, coffee bars and an appeal to diverse entrepreneurs “ranging from startups, freelancers, and artists to the small business and large multinational.”
From Jellies and coffee shops to modern, professional, upscale workspaces appealing to a broad spectrum of America’s independent workers, coworking is going mainstream. Want proof? Come check out Catalyst, our 7,000 square-foot industrial-chic workspace designed for entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, and creatives, features soaring ceilings and exposed brick walls, internet service with fiber networking; video conferencing; craft coffee; and a choice of open workspaces or private, glass-enclosed offices. Welcome, early majority! At Catalyst, you are at the forefront in ushering mainstream coworking into Orlando.