DreamCast Episode 3: Clay Collins

Clay Collins

Clay Collins, Co-Founder of LeadPages

Clay Collins gets around. He speaks regularly. He’s been blogging for some time. And now that LeadPages, the business he co-founded, has been called the fastest growing Minnesota startup, he’s in the press. All that to say, if you’re in the Twin Cities startup scene, chances are you know Clay or at least know of him.

So, what in the world could you hope to learn about Clay Collins that hasn’t already been divulged? That’s what I asked myself prior to our chat. Having witnessed the meteoric growth of LeadPages at CoCo St. Paul—from fewer than 10 employees a year ago to nearing 100 today—what I wondered most was: What’s it like to be him? What kind of person spawns this kind of business? Is he different than those of us with businesses or projects that are less meteor-like? With all this pressure, is he on the brink of insanity?

Listen in to this insightful and inspiring interview and catch a glimpse of a unique character in our community!

P.S. We’re getting much better with our audio, so this should be a much better listen than our previous podcasts!


Show notes: selected links from the episode:

Connect with Clay:

Website: www.leadpages.net
Linkedin: Clay Collins
Twitter: @claycollins
Google+: +Clay Collins

Links Mentioned:

Clay’s recommended reading list:

About the CoCo DreamCast 

Our goal for the CoCo DreamCast is pretty straightforward: we want to talk to CoCo members, find out what makes them tick and learn how they’re living out their dreams. Look for another episode soon!


Posted in CoCo DreamCast, homepage feature, Innovation, Minneapolis

The elevator pitch for coworking


Believe it or not, there are still plenty of people who aren’t familiar with coworking. We recently had some business community leaders ask us to help them understand what coworking is and why they should care. In other words, our elevator pitch. Below is what we sent over. (Ok, perhaps it’s really more of an “escalator pitch.”)

It’s no surprise that thanks to mobile technology (laptops, cell phones), there are more people than ever who are able to—and do—work outside of a traditional office. Many are self-employed. Increasingly, many are remote employees. The default workplaces for these people? Home offices and coffee shops.

Which is great. Unless you’re even slightly extroverted and need more company than your cat. Or you can’t be productive when there are piles of dirty dishes and laundry. Or if you’re building a new business and what you need more than anything else is a steady flow of ideas, advice, talent and resources.

Coworking is an answer to the growing need for people to work as part of a community, rather than working in isolation. And it’s growing fast. The first coworking space started in 2005. There are now close to 4,000 worldwide. Even major companies like AT&T and Accenture have embraced coworking as an essential part of their workspace portfolio.

Now, isn’t coworking just a new flavor of office suites? Sure, in a loose sense. But the reason people choose office suites, —having a receptionist, an office with a closed door, a phone system and creating the impression of “being professional”—are not imperatives for the new generation of DIY business creators. Being connected and having access to resources when you need them trumps everything else. This is the generation that has embraced car sharing, taxi sharingbike sharing and house sharing, after all.

So, who shows up at coworking spaces? It’s a Who’s Who of the Creative Class. You have entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers and small business owners. Software devleopers, designers, IT workers and strategists. And increasingly, venture capitalists, attorneys and CPAs. In a word: knowledge workers. Because when you’re working in the knowledge economy, your stock in trade is information and ideas. Coworking spaces are essentially idea and information exchanges that cater to this need.

But, more importantly, why are coworkers willing to pay for the privilege when there’s free office space at home or cheap rent down the street? It all comes back to community. In today’s economy, where new businesses are launched and grow at lightning speeds, the cost of working in isolation is huge. We’re all familiar with accelerators and incubators, which strive to push new companies to succeed quickly. Well, coworking is a de-facto accelerator program, in which many types of companies—not just tech startups—are able to leverage a community of knowledge workers in order to get off the ground and succeed. All for a relatively cheap monthly membership fee.

Which brings us to the notion of cheap rent. In some communities there are still cheap rents to be had. Even so, there are built-in liabilities of becoming a tenant. One, leases tend to require a long term commitment, usually 3 to 5 years. If your startup or small business is based in the knowledge economy, chances are you’re solving for problems that didn’t even exist 3 years ago. You’d be crazy to sign a personal guarantee on a 3-year lease, when your entire business model could be outdated within that timespan.

Adding to the burden of a traditional lease is the need to figure out and pay for internet connectivity, a computer network, a phone system, furniture and insurance. For a business trying to grow, all this is a distraction at best, and at worst business-killing overhead.

Finally, there’s a phenomenon that, frankly, has surprised us, which is that CoCo members tend to do a lot of business with each other. In other words, if you’re a solopreneur looking for clients or a startup looking for beta users, you just might find them at a coworking space. We’re reluctant to guarantee this kind of outcome for everyone, but in fact we have a number of members who get more than half of their business directly, or via referral, from other CoCo members. All of which underscores the principle at the heart of coworking: people do business with people they like and trust.

One observation… We’ve been making the case for coworking ever since Day One (example: “How coworking is changing how and where we work“). It’s interesting to see how, with 5 years of experience under our belt, the argument has evolved from being more idealistic (“cowork and all your dreams will come true”) to more pragmatic (“cowork and you will begin to see some tangible progress in your business”).

Photo Credit: Georgie Pauwels via Compfight cc

Posted in Coworking, homepage feature

DreamCast Episode 2: Dara Rudick

Dara Rudick

Dara (left) with Management HQ teammates Kathy Choh (center) and Adrianne Prettyman (right)

She’s relentlessly polite, always well put together and her business has been growing steadily since she first joined CoCo in early 2013. Ok, so what’s the catch?

That’s the thing. There is no catch. Dara seems to be living proof that good people can prosper. But, as this interview revealed, she’s no softie when it comes to aggressively growing her business, Management HQ. Listen and learn!

Show notes: selected links from the episode

Connect with Dara

Website: www.management-hq.com
Linkedin: Dara Rudrick
Twitter: @ManagementHQ

Mentioned Resources 

Video Conferencing Services

CoCo Member Connection 

About the CoCo DreamCast

Our goal for the CoCo DreamCast is pretty straightforward: we want to talk to CoCo members, find out what makes them tick and learn how they’re living out their dreams. Look for another episode soon!

Posted in CoCo DreamCast, Community, Coworking, homepage feature

Coworking at a glance


Owain Lloyd-Williams recently reached out from across the pond to share a graphic he had helped put together. It brings together data from numerous studies on coworking and is chock full of great info about the growth of spaces and people who cowork. More info on Owain after the graphic!


Credit: Towergate Insurance

Curious about who would put together this kind of graphical tour de force, I asked Owain about his story vis-a-vis coworking:

“I’ve experienced a variety of coworking spaces across over the world over the past few years, having just returned to the UK after spending nearly five years living in China.

Much like what we’re seeing over here in what I deem to be a resurgence in creative minded start-ups as the economy begins to recover, Asian co-working spaces cater for a contemporary boom in digital start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers involved in industries ranging from design to translation to development.

As someone who has worked in the creative field both as a writer and a translator I believe that the flexible, autonomous yet open nature of coworking spaces accommodates and allows us to operate more fruitfully in what is an increasingly interconnected world whereby borders, cultures and languages are more often coming into contact with one another.

I’m currently situated in the tech hub of East London whereby most of these exciting new media start-ups are based, and it’s certainly an exciting change away from the monotony of enclosed office spaces.”

Huge thanks to Owain for his efforts and shedding some light on the global coworking movement!

Posted in Collaboration, Coworking, homepage feature

DreamCast Episode 1: Garrio Harrison


One of the things that makes CoCo a truly unique place to work are the members—who choose to show up each day in pursuit of their dreams. Because our members are so diverse, you never know where a conversation at CoCo might lead. And you never know who’s going to give you that little dose of inspiration that will help you pursue your own dream with extra vigor.

With that in mind we’re launching an interview series in hopes of gleaning just a little bit of insight and inspiration, while helping us all get to know each other a bit more. We’re calling it the CoCo DreamCast. Enjoy.

Show notes: selected links from the episode

Mentioned books & authors

Malcolm Gladwell

Peter Thiel

Steven Johnson

Garrio’s Goodread book list

Garrio’s journalSocial media and the web being restructured around people

Connect with Garrio
Website: www.garrioharrison.com
Google+: google.com/+garrioharrison
Twitter: @garrioharrison

About the CoCo DreamCast

This is just Episode 1, which means we’re just getting going and have no history to speak of. But our goal is pretty straightforward: we want to talk to CoCo members, find out what makes them tick and learn how they’re living out their dreams. Look for another episode soon!

Posted in CoCo DreamCast, Community, Coworking, homepage feature


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