cafeBricolage - Let's Roll / by Nate Westheimer

Firstly, I want to applaud Charlie O'Donnell, the panelists, and the nextNY community, and say that last night's NYCHub event was a great success. Also, a big 'thank you' to CRESA Partners and their Kristian Hansen for hosting the event. It was a great space. To check out pictures from the event, see Ed Costello's Flickr photos and Dave Evans' photos. I certainly came away with a similar impression that Charlie did. Actually, the event did two things for me: firstly, it reinforced my earlier conclusion that our NYC challenges are about the intersection of three things -- Culture, Centralization, & Resources -- and secondly, that we as nextNYers are a tremendous resource to the broader community.

I'll talk more about nextNY as a resource in a different post, but first I want to say -- after gauging the response from last night's crowd -- that it is high time to get moving with cafeBricolage.

First a few Q/As:

What's in it for Nate? This was a question I was startled with and want to clear up immediately. Somehow, people think this is a proprietary business idea or that I'm staking my (future) kids' college money on this project. I'm not. This is an Open Source concept and idea and needs other "core" team members to see it through. On the flip side, there are a few tenants that are required for me to be passionate about the project and to continue seeing it move forward.

What are the tenants of cafeBricolage? Glad you asked. Of course I laid out the "manifesto" earlier, but to sum it up, I'm interested in building a space with core three elements to it: a coworking space designed for mixed team sizes, a cafe, and a formalized community support structure (dare we say "incubator"?). These three things combined are what address the Culture, Centralization, and Resource issues so clearly lacking in our environment. This is the cafeBricolage Manifesto. (By the way, while I like the name "cafeBricolage," and many others do too, this is not a deal breaker for me! Names are important because they convey the nature of things -- cafeBricolage conveys great meaning! -- and if there's a better name to use, by all means let's use it.

What's Next?

Well, who's coming with me? Anyone who desires to a part of the cafeBricolage Core -- at least in these early stages (i.e. no commitment... yet!) -- should make sure I know about it. I can't and won't do this alone, so comment below to show support. Also, this will get me your email address and show others that there really is a community serious about it. (Even if I've already heard from you, you should still comment below :-)

First on the table will be figuring out the big things:

  • What's the legal structure of organization. Will it be non-profit or for-profit. Will the three elements be one organization, two, or three? These are big questions!
  • What are our space requirements in terms of location, square-footage, and amenities?
  • What kind of allies do we need on board? Who needs to be a part of the Core that isn't? (With one of the first words in this list being "legal", obviously there need to be smart legal minds in on these discussions. No reason to go through hours of planning only to find that something's not plausible. Having a diverse Core with legal and business experts on hand will be essential).

With these (and more?) big questions answered, getting our hands dirty is the next step. This means delegation, organization and formalization. It also means a lot of research. But this all can't be done until we meet and see "who's in."

As I said, contact me and discuss below. I'll take the email addresses and get a Google Group going once I see who's serious about being involved. I'm excited -- very excited -- and I look forward to working with you all to realize this project.