Colorado coworking culture: Which space is best for you?

By May of this year, the number of active coworking spaces around the world had grown to 820, according to DeskMag’s latest count. That a magazine focused on coworking exists hints at the movement’s reach.

Candy Shop

This year alone has seen the opening of at least five new spaces between Denver and Boulder, adding to the shops already scattered along the central and northern Front Range. (Elsewhere in the state, Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, and Durango also claim coworking cohorts.)

The spaces vary in their amenities, operations, and even how they define “coworking.” In fact, they’re more likely to convey a sense of what these shared workplaces are not: cubicle-bound corporate offices. Indeed, the coworking ethos rejects rigid description, and the local organizations reflect the diversity of their founders and members alike. (Disclaimer: I became a coworking convert myself in February after taking up residency at Boulder Digital Arts.)

Tekhne set out to take a cultural snapshot of these tribes by dispersing a very unofficial, unconventional survey. Nine spaces sportingly replied. Their responses are, as anticipated, wide-ranging—with some noteworthy similarities. Don’t walk into a local coworking space decked out in a Samuelsohn suit and expect to blend in, for example. (Denim rules.) The findings also show an affinity for Colorado microbrews (and Pabst Blue Ribbon as a go-to backup), Wired magazine, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Modern Family, and Ira Glass, the esteemed producer/host of the weekly radio program and podcast This American Life.

So, is The Candy Shop a better fit for you than CodeSpace? You won’t know for sure until you visit, but our survey might give you some early clues.

Boulder Digital Arts

Boulder Digital Arts (1600 Range St., Suite 100, Boulder) map
Uniform: Jeans. Guys: casual, colorful button-down short-sleeve shirt. Gals: cute top and sweater.
Music: Smooth jazz
Beer: Assorted case from Left Hand Brewing
Tech toy: GoPro camera
Magazine: Wired
Lunch spot: Snarf’s
Extracurricular: Camping
Social network: Facebook
Meetup: Hacks/Hackers
Icon: Steve Jobs
Misfit: Insurance broker
Office prank: Printing out a full-color direction sheet for both HP printers instructing the user how to give voice commands to the printer in the hopes that someone would spend several minutes shouting “Print!” in the middle of the coworking space.


Candy Shop

The Candy Shop (1720 15th St., Boulder) map
Uniform: Casual. Jeans and shorts rule.
Music: Radio Paradise
Tech toys: All things Macintosh
Magazines: Architecture and design mags
Lunch spot: Kasa
Television/web series: Who has time to watch TV?
Extracurricular: Lunchtime bike rides up Flagstaff Mountain
Social network: 303cycling.com
Meetup or event: FAC at Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
Icon: Larry Flynt. We are in an old porn shop!
Misfit: Tie-wearing nine-to-fiver


CodeSpace

CodeSpace (at Trada, 1023 Walnut St., Boulder) map
Uniform: Whatever’s comfortable; jeans, T-shirts, sandals, etc.
Beer: Hazed & Infused, anything local
Book: Cryptonomicon
Lunch spots: Ozo Coffee Co., Atlas Purveyors, Amante Coffee, Illegal Pete’s
Extracurricular: Poker
Social networks: Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla
Icons: Superheroes
Dominant professions: Developers, engineers


Cohere

Cohere (215 Jefferson St., Fort Collins) map
Uniform: Blue jeans, blue jeans, blue jeans; yoga pants and flip-flops and Chacos and Keens and Toms; things found in our costume closets
Music: Something whimsical. Not by choice, but the unicorns running this place won’t have it any other way. Eighties pop radio does the trick most days.
Beer: Any micro from any of the many local breweries within walking distance of Cohere, or PBR in a pinch
Digital tools/apps: FreshBooks, WordPress, Drupal, Ubuntu
Magazine: Um, what’s a magazine?
Lunch spot: La Luz Mexican Grill
Television series: Arrested Development, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Glee, 30 Rock
Extracurricular: Our annual chili cook-off!
Social networks: Facebook, IRC, Twitter
Meetup or event: Monthly Snooze pancake breakfast
Icon: Ira Glass
Misfit: Someone who just wants a place to work and doesn’t want to get to know the other members or participate in our events.
Special Cohere feature: The people!


Creative Density

Creative Density (1719 Emerson St., Denver) map
Uniform: Jeans, colorful T-shirts, flip-flops
Music: Weezer, Mumford & Sons, Fun.
Beer: Fat Tire, PBR
Tech toy, digital tool/app: iPad, WordPress
Magazines: Wired, Fast Company, Businessweek
Lunch spots: Marczyk Fine Foods Deli, Watercourse Foods
Television/web series: The Foundation, TWiT.tv
Extracurricular: Time on the sunny front porch
Social network: Twitter
Meetup: Denver Coworking Community
Icon: Ira Glass
Misfit: Fax-dependent real estate agents
Interior inspirations: Googleplex and Web 2.0-style work spaces


DurangoSpace

DurangoSpace LLC (1221 Main Ave., Durango) map

Uniform: Casual dress, comfortable shoes, seasonal (sweaters in winter, shorts and/or short sleeves in summer)
Music: We have subscription to Pandora, with various channels playing during business day.
Beer: Ska Brewing (local Durango micro brewery): True Blonde, Steel Toe Stout, seasonal beers
Tech toy, digital tool/app: DurangoSpace has two 46″ flat screen Sony presentation screens, with 15′ connection & sound plug in for presentations from laptops and/or iPads. We also feature dual band 10Bps+ Internet, accessed by our wireless network or Ethernet.
Magazines: Fast Company
Lunch spots: Guido’s, our neighborhood Italian market and bistro.
Television/web series: Hmmm…..people still have time to watch TV?
Extracurricular: Each Friday, DurangoSpace hosts a winedown for our members.
Social network: Our members and staff at DurangoSpace us Twitter, Facebook,Foursquare and (limited) Google Plus. Probably Twitter for our “go to” social network.
Meetup: Everyday coworking at DurangoSpace.
Icon: Mark Fei, long-time DurangoSpace member
Misfit: Denver, CO attorney in a three piece suit.
Why we rock: DurangoSpace is coworking in Durango. We have created the brand, space and innovative work environment for independent workers, telecommuters, freelancers and mobile professionals.


Innovative Alliance

The Innovative Alliance (1205 Osage St., Denver) map
Uniform: No uniforms allowed! Everything from jeans and a T-shirt to business casual
Music: Local radio! Alice 105.9, KBCO-FM 97.3, NPR
Beer: Dale’s Pale Ale, PBR
Digital tool/app: WordPress
Publications: The Economist and The Onion
Lunch spots: Domo, The Buckhorn Exchange, or Brooklyn’s if eating out; Udi’s if eating in
Television series: Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, New Girl, Scrubs, Doctor Who
Extracurriculars: Pickup soccer in Wash Park, hiking, FAC wherever they’ll have us
Social network: Facebook
Meetup or event: Wirth Chair Sustainability Series at Wynkoop
Icons: Albert Einstein, Milan Kundera, Muhammad Yunus
Misfits: Reclusive hermits


Network

Network (2051 Terry St. #C, Longmont) map
Uniform: Jeans, T-shirt, hoodie
Music: Jason Mraz
Beer: New Belgium and Left Hand brews
Tech toy: iPod
Magazine: Wired
Lunch spots: Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Qdoba Mexican Grill
Television series: The Office, Modern Family
Extracurriculars: Playing with the dogs and the kids
Social networks: Facebook, Twitter
Ideal meetup: Working Parents: How to Do It All
Icon: Working consultant who can also bake a mean pan of brownies
Misfit: Hipster looking for his way in
Philosophy: Let’s be friendly and work efficiently; the majority of our life is outside of work.


Scrib

Scrib (2060 Broadway B1, Boulder) map
Uniform: If the uniform is to wear whatever makes you feel most productive and comfortable, then it definitely plays out in different ways. We’ve seen more than our fair share of jorts, cycling wear, clever/snarky t-shirts, open-toed shoes, closed-toed shoes, broken-heeled shoes and even some collars. Lots of plaid. I’ve even seen people in jorts TALKING to people with collars.
Music: Washed Out, M83, Gold Panda, Pretty Lights, Lily Allen, Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, Prince, 90 Dance Jamz, Mariah Carey ok I swear that wasn’t me ok it was.
Beer: Fridge(s)
Tech toy: Sphero for causing general ruckus. Also, we screen our interns based on their ability to resist the iPad app, Paper.
Magazine: Trust Your Passion and Do Work, a crowdsourced publication with a goal to capture the complete perspective and collective vision of the entrepreneurial-creative community. It’ll be available in May 2015. Also waiting on The Oatmeal: Print Edition.
Lunch spot: Atlas Purveyors for more coffee and a meeting, the Kitchen [Next Door] for the sunshine, or Lindsay’s Boulder Deli for soup and a Queen’s Grilled Cheese. The promise of Centro nachos can sometimes get us through the tougher days. It’s nice being close to the Jax, Mountain Sun, and Foolish Craig’s– full disclosure though, most of the empty food containers come from Chipotle.
Television series: The Pitch, claiming that we don’t watch very much TV.
Extracurricular activity: Happy Hour at the Bitter Bar, if that counts. Also, If we all did (do) something together, we would (shall) start a volleyball league, mostly to wear tall socks and talk smack. And win.
Social network: We’re on Twitter and Facebook, and err toward the Twitter side of the spectrum (if the two being opposed is a thing). Something like Cupple or Pair might be solid so that Jeff and Toby can keep track of each other and share memories, even when they’re in entirely different conference rooms. At the end of the day, we’re best at speaking through the vulnerabilities and over the awkwardness when we meet face-to-face, mostly because we talk with our hands a lot and an in-person laugh is way cooler than a lol.
Meetup: Once a month we have Scrib Lunch, where members each bring in a dish to pass and we hash on how everyone’s doing and what’s going on in the coming week. It’s a nice chance to slow down, enjoy each other, and try some of that quinoa salad you’ve noticed and coveted, but that has always been marked with someone’s last name in the fridge. The People have some culinary skills.
Icon:
Misfit: Someone who hasn’t seen Spinal Tap, someone who can’t see the value in talking to someone with a differing viewpoint.


The Armory

The Armory (411 N. Railroad Ave., Loveland) map
Uniform: Jeans, T-shirt, Flip flops or Chacos, Flannels & hiking boots in the winter
Song: Americana, U2
Beer in the fridge: Grimm Brothers (Loveland’s local brewery)
Tech toy and/or digital tool/app: iPhone & Macbook Pro
Magazine: Entrepreneur Magazine
Favorite lunch spot or delivery-service: Teraza’s Not Just Gyros
Social network site: Facebook & Twitter
Meetup or event: Loveland Coworking Community
Misfit: None – all are welcome! We are such a diverse group that anyone could fit it as long all are willing to give to and benefit from the community.


Uncubed

Uncubed (2762 Walnut St., Denver) map
Uniform: Shorts, T-shirts
Music: Turntable.fm
Beer: Dale’s Pale Ale, PBR
Tech toy: Apple TV on projector
Magazine: Wired
Lunch spot: Curtis Park Delicatessen
Television series: The Big Bang Theory
Extracurricular: First Friday art events
Social network: Twitter
Meetup: Refresh Denver
Icon: Perry Evans (local entrepreneur)
Misfit: Telemarketer


The Vault

The Vault (at The DaVinci Institute, 511 E. South Boulder Road, Louisville) map
Uniform: Jeans, logo T-shirts; scruffy, casual
Music: Muzak; so far, no country western
Beer: Yes, and wine and pop
Tech toys: Podcasting equipment, iPad, iPhone, lots of Mac computers
Magazines: Wired, ColoradoBiz, Businessweek, Every Day with Rachael Ray, The Futurist, Prevention
Lunch spots: Ralphie’s, Pizza King
Extracurricular: “Cowalking” time before office hours
Social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
Meetups and events: Night with a Futurist, Startup Junkie Underground, DaVinci Inventor Showcase, Mad Scientist Club
Icon: Leonardo da Vinci
Misfits: Real estate agents, insurance agents, lawyers
Notable feature: A genuine vault (the Institute is in an eclectic bank building) that we use for meetings

[note color="#eee"]Do you manage a coworking space and want to be included in our story? Fill out the survey.

Did we miss your favorite coworking spot? Know of an up-and-coming space that needs a little love? Drop us a note and we’ll contact them.[/note]

Updated: June 12, 2012