Fridays at the Workantile Exchange

The work is already going on at the Workantile Exchange.  As described in a couple of Ann Arbor Chronicle articles earlier this year, this space at 118 South Main was set up by Michael Kessler as a co-working space where independent workers can share a space and some facilities while working on their own projects.  But as the management explains, this is neither a conventional business incubator nor a rent-a-cubicle operation.  Rather, it appears to be an attempt to create a deliberate community where independent entrepreneurs and creative workers can bounce ideas off one another (fortified by the Mighty Good Coffee that also serves as an entrance hall), find others who have resources and skills needed for a current project, and schedule meetings and classes (the facility has a couple of conference and training rooms).  “We’re here for anybody pursuing a project-driven career, whether or not it’s their full-time profession. There will be the expected “geeks” and “suits” among us, but also lawyers and artists, sales professionals and writers, teachers and filmmakers.”  For about $100 a month, you can buy access to this free-floating brainstorm. Today, the main room (the Café floor) had a casual but quietly focused air, with several low-tone conversations going on while others worked at laptops.  A tiled set of large Post-its on the wall asked for leads to people with specific skills or noted future discussions; “B corporations and IF-profits” looked intriguing.

The mutual training seems to be a big part of this enterprise.  To that end, the Workantile Exchange is hosting some public brown-bag lunch seminars, especially on Fridays.  It’s a good excuse to check out the real estate.  And the topics are mind-bending. The next one, presented by Bill Tozier, is “The Independent Film Model for Project-Driven Businesses” (having little or nothing to do with film-making).

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