There were periods of The Skiff’s history where access to the Internet from The Skiff was a running joke. We had members leave the space because it would occasionally become unusable for them. As one of the bare essentials for the vast majority of our coworkers this was inexcusable. It distracted us for months as we tried to create a network that we could all depend upon.
Six years in I can now say confidently that we’ve created the network we were dreaming of. We’ve had just two problems in the last year. Each was solved by nothing more than simply turning a few devices on and off again. Here are the three components of a great office network:
I've had to ask myself this question many times since starting The Skiff. The growth of coworking is leading to it being asked increasingly by first time coworking space founders and long term owners alike.
My short answer is "yes" but be careful (I've included a checklist at the bottom of this post to help with that).
Back in 2007 I asked Steve Ballmer a question at an event for people in the web industry in London. He didn't seem to understand it (to be fair I felt so out of my depth asking him a question, I probably wasn't being very articulate) so he asked me to follow up with an email. This is what I sent:
I spent Friday at ConfShop in the company of some of the most talented people in the UK web industry. Elliot Jay Stocks and Keir Whitaker pulled off a risky new event format that resulted in far more insight into the experiences of other attendees than I've ever before gained from a conference. Their "insites" brand is very aptly named. Some of the things I heard inspired me to write this, my first blog post in a very long time:
Everyone knows that scaling websites so that they can serve millions of users a day is hard. Most Twitter users have seen the famous Fail Whale often enough, which usually shows up because some component of Twitter's website isn't handling an increase in traffic so well. Many people familiar with web services can also appreciate the additional challenge that comes with providing an API, especially when, as is the case of Twitter, it has to handle 10 times the traffic of the website.
What people often miss is the huge amount of non-technical work that is required to keep the consumers of a website happy as the user base grows into the tens of millions.