Genève, me voici! Coworking à la Muse [fr]

[en] I'm helping manage the coworking space in Geneva, so I'm going to be in town a little more than usual!

Moi qui suis une indécrottable lausannoise (comprendre: Genève, c’est carrément à l’étranger!), je vais me retrouver à prendre le train du bord du lac un peu plus régulièrement durant les mois qui viennent. En effet, je vais compléter l’équipe de la Muse et prendre en charge pour un moment la gestion du coworking et des activités ayant lieu à l’Espace de la Muse.

Concrètement? Gardez un oeil sur mon calendrier de déplacements! Tous les lundis, il y a un pique-nique à la Muse où vous pouvez rencontrer d’autres personnes “entreprenantes”, et partager vos défis et besoins. C’est donc à Genève, au 2, rue de la Muse, de midi à 14h. (Aussi sur Facebook!)

Côté Genève également, je serai au salon du livre vendredi 30 avril à 14h pour un débat organisé par l’Hebdo, en compagnie de Laurent Haug et Olivier Glassey.

Et après ça, bien sûr, je serai à la conférence Lift les 5-6-7 mai 🙂 — avant de sauter dans l’avion le train (enfin on verra) pour me rendre au Portugal pour la conférence SWiTCH (15-16 mai — j’y parle).

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Happy birthday l'eclau! [fr]

[en] Eclau, the coworking space I opened one year ago in Lausanne, is now... one year old. We're partying tonight!

There is Work and Work [en]

We freelancers know it: there are many kinds of work. Non-freelancers probably know it too, but let’s stick to the freelance way of life for the sake of this article.

There is work that gets you paid. There is work that doesn’t get you paid, but that you need to do in order to get the work that will get you paid.

There is also work that you have decided to do and planned, and work that you just happen to do.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last distinction lately.

Three years ago, I had a big client project and was going through a slow procrastinative summer. At one point, I decided to stop worrying and embrace my summer days: I would work from 9am to noon and then would be free to do whatever I wanted.

It worked really well. I made quick progress on the project and got to enjoy my summer.

This year, I’m having a slow summer too. The weather is nice, people are on holiday, I’m learning to sail, and I’m not swamped with work (I am busy with lots of things, though, I think that’ll never change). And honestly, when I look at my productivity certain most days, I might not be working less if I had decided to do the 9-12.

Deciding to work 9-12 does not mean that I stop myself from working in the afternoons. It means that I don’t have to work in the afternoons. And this is where the work you plan and the work that just happens comes in.

I rediscovered this when I started working in my coworking space, eclau: office hours started to be devoted to “things I had to do” for work, and sometimes, in the evenings or week-ends, I would do some light work that I felt like doing (work that doesn’t feel like work). Blogging, for example. Fooling around online. Sometimes, even doing my accounting because I felt like it. But nothing because I felt I ought to do it.

So, next year, I’m thinking of trying the 9-12 during the summer months. Work well three hours, then do something else or allow myself to be completely unproductive in the afternoon.

Hell, why wait until next year? I’m starting tomorrow.

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Lift09 Workshop: Where will you work tomorrow? (Pierre Belcari) [en]

Workshop information. Watch the video.

Developing environments. Different solutions available at the moment in Europe. Evolution of the workplace.

Lift09 001

Where do we come from?

Office: individual offices, cubicles, open spaces

Hoteling: book work spaces when you need them, inside the company.

Lift09 002

Companies might try to encourage people to telecommute: save money on space, and improve work-life balance.

Evolution of technology has made evolution of the workspace possible.

Working from home? social interaction is lacking.

Lift09 003

Coworking: Gathering of people working independantly but sharing values and costs. Synergy.

*steph-note: I talked about eclau and Coworking Léman here.*

Xavier: FRIUP incubator. Very different from a coworking space. Very startup-minded. Need to leave after one year. Have to present a project to a committee who will decide if they can benefit from the incubator.

Nicolas: on the road.

Lift09 004

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Workshop About Coworking at Lift09 [en]

[fr] Je participe à un workshop sur le coworking à Lift, mercredi après-midi. Si vous avez prévu de venir à la conférence, rejoignez-nous-y. J'y parlerai de mon expérience avec l'eclau. Si vous avez des aventures style coworking à partager, contactez-nous pour en parler au workshop!

The Lift conference is taking place in Geneva two days from now. Unlike last year, where in addition to live-blogging a whole lot of stuff I also held a workshop, an informal discussion, and gave an open stage speech (I was kicking off Going Solo), this year will be pretty low-key for me: just live-blogging and talking with interesting people.

If you’re not decided about coming yet, you might read what I wrote last year to encourage people to come to Lift08.

I’ll be actively participating in a workshop about coworking held by Pierre Belcari (I agreed to be co-host and talk about my experience setting up eclau here in Lausanne). It’ll take place in the afternoon.

Do join us if the topic interests you (“Where will you work tomorrow?”) and if you have coworking stories to share (or any alternate office arrangement stories) do get in touch with us so we can plan some space for you to tell your story.

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17 mars: c'est l'apéro de l'eclau! [fr]

[en] On March 17th, we're holding another "apéro" (drinks and nibbles) at the coworking space (eclau). All are welcome!

Republié, paru à l’origine sur le blog de l’eclau.

Notre apéro de décembre a eu un tel succès que nous avons décidé de remettre ça plusieurs fois par année.

Apéro de l'eclau 12.08 5

Réservez donc la soirée du 17 mars, dès 18h, pour venir prendre l’apéro (qui se prolongera tard pour ceux qui le désirent!) à l’eclau. Si vous n’êtes pas sur Facebook, laissez un message dans les commentaires de ce billet ou envoyez-moi un mot.

Pourquoi venir?

  • l’occasion de rencontrer plein de personnes extraordinaires
  • faire connaissance des membres de l’eclau
  • se détendre après une dure journée de labeur
  • voir les bureaux
  • grignoter des tas de bonnes petites choses en sirotant une bière, un verre de blanc, ou du jus d’orange
  • faire des gouzis au chat
  • revoir les personnes rencontrées au dernier apéro!

N’hésitez donc pas, sortez l’agenda — on se réjouit de vous voir. Pour nous trouver, voici plan et indications.

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Apéro à l'eclau! [fr]

[en] We're holding a little party at eclau on december 16th to celebrate our existence!

Ça y est, le grand moment est venu. On est assez installés pour organiser une petite verrée à l’eclau, mardi 16 décembre dès 16 heures. Venez vous joindre à nous! Inscriptions sur facebook pour ceux qui y sont, ou à l’aide du formulaire ci-dessous.

A bientôt, et merci pour votre soutien dans cette longue aventure qu’a été la mise en place de cet espace coworking!

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Learning to Have an Office [en]

[fr] C'est étrange pour moi d'avoir un "bureau", maintenant que l'ECLAU est en fonction. Mon salon est à moitié vide maintenant que j'ai descendu de deux étages bureau et étagères, et j'avoue avoir un peu de peine à trouver mes marques (le chat également). Je suis par contre ravie de l'esprit qui règne déjà dans l'espace coworking. On est une chouette équipe et je me réjouis de voir qui va venir s'y adjoindre!

With the opening of the coworking space in the basement of my building, I am now learning to live with an office.

Eclau 5 - settling down even more

This first week has of course involved a lot of settling down, but already, I have a few comments to make.

I didn’t imagine how disruptive it would be for me to have all this “extra space”. I’m the person renting the space downstairs, so in a way it’s “mine” (even if it’s shared — I have the lease, and provide a service to the other people who use the space). So, all of a sudden, instead of “having” a flat (“having” because in Switzerland, you rent, you don’t buy — unless you’re settling down for life), I “have” a flat and this space downstairs which is actually bigger than my flat, and which a bunch of other people will be using too.

I like that bit. I like the idea of creating a space where people are welcome to hang out and drop in and work regularly. I brought a whole bunch of my books downstairs (many of them my “recommended reading”) and I’m really excited to be able to share it with the other coworkers like that. Somebody bought biscuits and fruit juices, so we’re starting to have a little stock of shared snacks — all this will be a bit more organised later on, but the spirit is right.

Moving away from the “coworking” bit, what is changing for me now that I have an “office”?

  • my flat is in chaos, as I have emptied half my living-room (desk and bookcase) and swapped the old drawers in my room for a newer set (most of the furniture for the space actually comes from my Dad’s house, which he has emptied to rent out)
  • I’m working at a desk now most of the time, rather than sitting on a mattress as I am now
  • I like having a desk, but I miss the mattress/floor moments. I have half a mind to set up something similar downstairs — maybe move the couches and create some “ground space” in the corner near the windows?
  • I spend my day in a room with people, rather than alone. Even though we work independantly, that’s a lot of interaction for me compared to my “usual” days. I realise I’ve become quite a recluse.
  • neither Bagha nor I have really found our balance — he comes downstairs with me and has adopted the sofa, but I realise he needs to spend time in the flat (which is “his home”), and by extension, I realise it’s the same for me
  • I think having a separate working place is going to help me “not work” — and like now, feel relaxed enough to blog or do “other stuff” online (or even offline!!) in the evenings
  • I’m eating at more “normal” hours — because I see other people go off or unpack their picnics at noon, and so I go and eat shortly after too

I’m looking forward to seeing how things evolve during the next weeks. I’m off to the mountains tomorrow, all the more because I’ve been on the verge of cancelling all week (too much to do!), which really shows how much I need a break. I’ll be back on Thursday.

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Espace Coworking Lausanne: Eclau [fr]

[en] I've been a bit quiet about it here, but it's happening! I'm opening a coworking space in Lausanne, Eclau. The address is Guiguer-de-Prangins 11, and drop-ins will be free. Hot-desking members for 100/150 CHF (depending on if you need storage space or not) and full members (with your own desk) for 300 CHF/month. (See my post in English on the Coworking Community Blog.)

Cela fait longtemps que je n’ai pas donné de nouvelles de mon projet de coworking. Tellement longtemps, en fait, que vous imaginez probablement que tout est tombé à l’eau.

Que nenni! Le bail est signé, les coworkers trouvés, et je viens de passer ma journée (avec une joyeuse équipe d’entre eux) à déménager des meubles dans les locaux de l’Eclau, l’Espace Coworking Lausanne. Regardez, on est presque installés!

Coworking Move 9

Enfin, pas tout à fait. L’état des lieux est lundi, ensuite on fait de la démolition de mur, et mercredi, si tout va bien, on commence à y bosser!

Pour en savoir plus sur nous, visitez le wiki de l’Eclau (on peut, par exemple, aller apporter son grain de sel concernant le nom de l’Espace Coworking) qui est en ce moment la source la plus complète (bien qu’un peu brouillon) d’informations. Le site web grandit chaque jour un peu plus, on peut déjà nous suivre sur Twitter, et il y a une mailing-liste destinée aux “Amis de l’Eclau”, c’est-à-dire non seulement nos membres et utilisateurs, mais aussi ceux et celles qui désirent suivre d’un peu plus près la vie de notre communauté.

On organisera un apéro dans 2-3 semaines pour inaugurer en grande pompe notre nouveau lieu de travail et de vie& ne le ratez pas!

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I Need to Blog More [en]

It’s been nagging at the back of my mind. Since before Going Solo Lausanne, actually — when I got so absorbed with the conference preparation that CTTS hardly saw 6 posts over the space of 4 weeks.

I need to blog more.

It became clear this morning, as a chat with [Suw](http://strange.corante.com/) led to a [long blog post in French](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/07/20/reflexions-freelance/) that I’d been putting off for… weeks, to be generous.

This isn’t the first time (by far) in my blogging career that I’ve been through a “dry” patch, and then one day realised that I had to get into the groove again. Life is cyclic. It’s not a stable line or curve that heads up and up or, God forbid, down and down. It’s ups and downs. Some days are better than others, some weeks are better than others. It’s the low moments in life that also make you enjoy the high ones (though I wouldn’t want you to think I’m advocating heading for “lows” just so you might have post-low “highs” — lows are just part of the colour of life, like the highs).

Some people have higher highs than others, and lower lows. Some people have more highs, some have more lows. We’re not equal — and in the matter of happiness in particular, I remember Alexander Kjerulf saying at Reboot last year that roughly 50% of our “happiness potential” is genetically determined.

So, pardon me the digression on the highs and lows, a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately due to my own ups and [downs](http://www.bcwomens.ca/Services/HealthServices/ReproductiveMentalHealth/MentalHealth/PMSPMDD.htm). Back to blogging.

With the [supposed return of the tired “blogging is dead” meme](http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/004603.html), which we long-time bloggers have seen poking its silly head up every year or two, oh, “blogging is so yesterday”, I once again sit down and wonder at what’s kept me going for over [eight years](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/07/13/eighth-blogversary/) now.

I know part of the answer: I’ve never been in the arms race — or at least, never very long. Arms race to first post, arms race to breaking news, arms race to most comments, arms race to more visitors, more visitors, yes, ad revenue, monetize, recognize. Oh, I want my share of recognition and limelight — I won’t pretend I’m above all that — and there are times when I feel a bit bitter when I feel I’m not getting as much attention as others who have louder mouths but not necessarily better things to say. What can I say: I’m only human, and I think one constant you’ll find amongst bloggers is that each in our own way, we’re all after some form or other of recognition. Some more badly than others, yes.

So, I need to blog more.

One of the things blogging did for me, many years ago, was put me in touch with other people who shared similar interests to mine. That is one thing blogging does well, and that it always will do.

It also provided a space for me to express myself in writing — forgive me for stating the obvious. I’ve always written, always had things to write, and blogging for me was a chance to really dive into it (actually, before that — this website existed before I signed up for a Blogger.com account many years ago).

Writing helps me think. Even though it may sound a bit lame to say so, it’s something I do that feels meaningful to me. It’s not something that puts money in the bank account (one of my important and ongoing preoccupations these days, to be honest), but it’s something that connects me to myself and to others.

Organising a conference as a one-woman endeavour can feel extremely isolating, even with a large network of advisors and supporters. But more than that, I’ve been a freelancer for two whole years now: working from home most of the time, travelling a lot, getting more and more involved in personal and professional relationships outside my hometown, and often in completely different timezones.

I don’t really have any colleagues I see regularly anymore. My client relationships are usually short-lived, given the nature of my work (lots of speaking engagements). I haven’t really had any clients in the last year that I saw regularly enough to build some kind of meaningful relationship with.

It’s not without a reason that I’ve become increasingly interested in [coworking](http://blog.coworking.info/), to the extent that I’m now working at setting up a space in the very building I’m living in (quite a coincidence actually, but a nice one for me, given I like typing away with [my cat](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/collections/72157600210295068/) purring next to me).

What does this have to do with blogging more?

My feeling of isolation isn’t only offline. It’s online too. It feels that I’ve been spending so much time “working” (ie, preparing conferences or worrying about how to earn some money) that I’ve taken a back seat in my online presence. It’s time I started driving again.

I don’t mean that in the sense “agressively fight for a place in front of the scene”. I’ve never been an A-lister and probably never will be. I just want to go back to writing more about stuff I find interesting. Hopefully, not only long rambling soul-searching posts like this one 😉

Twitter, FriendFeed, Tumblr, Feedly, Facebook and Seesmic are changing my life online. I haven’t finished figuring out in what way. But what I know is that my online ecosystem, particularly around my blog, is not what it was three years ago. I am in no way rejecting these “newer” tools in my life, but I do feel at times like I’ve been neglecting my first love.

My blog is also where I give. Over the course of my blogging career, I’ve writen posts which are still helpful or inspiring to those who read them, years after. The more you give, the more you get. Well, maye one reason I feel things are drying up a bit around me is that I’ve stopped giving as much as I used to. Oh, I know it’s not magical. I don’t believe in “balance of the universe” or anything. I do believe in human relationships and psychology, though. If you care about other people, there are more chances that they’ll care about you. That’s what makes us social animals.

Part of it, over the last years, has been the challenge of transitioning from passionate hobbyist to professional. Suddenly my online world/activities are not just where I give freely, but also where I try to earn a living. Such a transition is not easy. And I haven’t found any handbooks lying around.

I’m going to stop here, because I think that this post has already reached the limits of what even a faithful reader of friend can be expected to be subjected to without complaining.

To sum it up: for a variety of reasons I’ve tried to explore in this post, I want to blog more than I have these past months. I think it’ll make me feel better. Blogging is something I enjoy, and if the way I’m doing things doesn’t leave me time for that, then something is wrong with the way I’m doing things. I became a freelancer in this industry because I was passionate about blogging and all the “online stuff” hovering around it — and wanted to do more of it. Not less.

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