Best Practices: The Sweet Smell of Success

It’s been a whirlwind week in pursuit of our perfect shared rehearsal space. We’ve been a little giddy over here in Cohere Bandwidth land. “Do you realize how much we’ve accomplished in the last 48 hours?!” Angel exclaimed on Saturday after a perfectly lovely meeting with our friends and soon-to-be neighbors at the Downtown Artery. (Well — make that about 16 months … and 48 hours). But who’s counting? Turns out, maybe we are. Or at least we’d better figure out what counts. Which is easier with a little bit of informed insight.

love luck success protection

One of the things helping to point us in the right direction currently is actually a practice that happens both organically and often at Cohere — accountability via coworking. In this case, Angel and I have opted to take this natural byproduct and put a little more structure around it by taking part in a 6-week process called Cotivation, as defined by our pals from NYC’s New Work City coworking community. Angel and I are meeting once a week with three other Cohere members; we each work on an individual project of our choosing. We set goals, report on progress, gather feedback from our fellows and talk about everything from time management tools to the magic of donuts as “carrots”. I’m working on some Cohere Bandwidth projects (which means Angel is, too, whether she likes it or not. I think she likes it.) Out of one of these Cotivation sessions came the idea of using a prescribed checklist for launch that we discovered somewhere. First item on our checklist — after “make checklist”, I suppose — was this: define success. This is harder than it sounds.

Success sucks

Over noodle bowls, a few swears and much head nodding, Angel and I took a stab at success for our shared rehearsal space project. In no particular order, it looks like this:

  • Band practice is as low-stress and low-hassle for musicians as going to work is for us every day
  • Cohere Bandwidth is a trusted, known entity that “sells itself” … through positive word of mouth via the users of the space
  • Bands have a super-amazing technical experience with the website and booking process — it’s simple, fast, intuitive, useful
  • “Big name” bands use and recommend the space, in turn helping support the venue adjacent to the space
  • ALL the communities — Cohere Bandwidth, Downtown Artery and the Cohere coworking spaces — are connected to one another and coalesce by working on shared projects that draw on both their individual and collective strengths
  • Includes a financial return on investment that allows for stability and sustainability; specifically, enough to pay someone who is passionate about it to manage the space
  • A waiting list exists for practice spaces. Not forever — perhaps just long enough to catalyze expansion!

Finally: we talked about patience. Again. And the idea of a distant future, and long leases, and Warren Buffett and believing in the outcome, and getting creative, and staying the course. And microwaving cookies as an olfactory relaxation technique, but that was a tangent.

The Wit & Wisdom of Winston - Oct 2010  - Westerham Pub Wall - Those Two Imposters

Other things we learned this week:

  • Our compatriots at the Downtown Artery have an almost eerily matched set of success-pectations. It couldn’t be a more perfect pairing, really. Amy had this to say: “For me, success doesn’t have to do with money. It has to do with not giving up — it’s about going home and feeling proud that you did a good thing, that you’re providing something good for the community.”
  • We didn’t get the Economic Health Office grant we re-applied for. And initially, we were feeeled weeeth ennui. But the City’s message for us wasn’t completely discouraging; they had this to say: it’s not NO — it’s just not NOW. We just need a W.
  • We did, however, get a completely awesome executive report from the consultants we hired to help us with pricing, David and Lucinda (or “Lucid” as they like to call themselves). They did a bunch of research, complete with fancy spreadsheets, and we found out an incredible amount of useful information about pricing … and much, much more. Of particular interest: having two hourly rooms is far more financially sustainable than having one lockout room + one hourly room. Sharing is not only good, it’s better. More to come there, but bringing in some help to make sure we nail the solid financial stewardship piece? Priceless.

Of course, success defined by us is nowhere near as valuable as understanding success defined by Cohere Bandwidth’s community of musicians. We’d love to hear from you. Success is different for everyone … what will success look like to you? Leave a comment, drop us a line, let us know. Oh and P.S. we really do have a current waiting list, by the way, so contact us if you’re interested on adding your name to it!


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