Keep Austin Weird. Shop Local. It’s how Austinites think and it’s what makes us what we are. This is also what makes Austin Coworking a great resource for newcomers as it’s overwhelming to learn and identify what works best. Austin is great at creating that local feel with a particular niche. The only problem is that it requires you to invest time in getting to know your community.
To every mom and pop shop, there’s always that mega store that will consistently deliver the same quality and experience no matter where you’re at. I remember walking down Las Ramblas in Barcelona and joked, “it smells like Subway.” Right as I said that, I turned around and lo and behold, there was a Subway. The exact same smell. The exact same feel and I can only assume, the exact same taste. This is what franchises do best. That is what WeWork has been able to do; create the same quality and experience but yet still shine in bringing in the feel of the community.
WeWork started in 2008 and was originally called Green Desk. Little did the founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey know, that WeWork would become the most valuable startup in NYC in 2015. WeWork’s mission is turning “me” into “we” and credits community as their catalyst.
I think every coworking has the “danger” of being less productive over time as you get to know more people but I think WeWork Congress has an interesting vibe. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time to get to know the community here and my perspective is biased but I found working in the main lobby of WeWork Congress to be quite refreshing. The community is friendly and will say hello but gets the clue when you’re busy. Each community will differ depending on the type of entrepreneurs that work there and you’ll have to check out and test each one to see what fits best.
WeWork now has 5 offices in Austin with the Barton Springs location being the most recent. They do best in attracting newcomers who are overwhelmed with the growing selection of coworking spaces by being the familiar face in town. Every WeWork you walk into, you can expect some of the same traits as the ones you’ve been to in the past: your flavored fruit water, open kitchen and urban feel.
What I specifically like about the WeWork Congress space is that it’s a very convenient location. I typically stay and/or have meetings around downtown. If you have a lot of meetings with people coming from out of town, many choose to stay in downtown. This makes it a great choice to work from. It’s relatively central in downtown so walking to Houndstooth, Capital Factory, or Café Medici is simple and easy.
It wouldn’t make as much sense if you’re just a solo entrepreneur and looking to find a space to work. Unless you know the ins and outs of downtown, it can be a very frustrating place to work from every day. They do have a parking lot but that only adds to the high cost of coworking.
A couple of quick (entrepreneur minded/wallet safe) tips on parking downtown:
- Avoid lunch meetings if possible (11am-1pm) as it’s essentially impossible to find parking
- If you’re only there for a couple of hours, parking on 6th street is free for the first 2 hours
- Some areas of East Austin are free all Monday if you plan to stay for a while and don’t mind the hike