Guerilla Office is a new concept for the portable workplace. Bring your laptop and get to work in a hotel lobby with other entrepreneurs, developers and freelancers.
I don’t have an office right now.
So what do I do? Well, I work from my apartment, equipped with a killer playlist and a steady supply of coffee. Occasionally I drag my feet to a café down the street – you know, just to get out of the building. For the same reason, I’ve come to earn the title of “qualified hang-around” at SUP46.
But a while back I heard about this thing called ‘Guerilla Office’.
The idea was simple. The members of Guerilla Office claim a café, restaurant or hotel lobby for a couple of days, making it their own office. The organization was founded by Vasilis Mavroudis here in Stockholm less than a year ago, and it has already begun to spread to other cities.
I’m not surprised if you are thinking “Great, but what does the owners think about it?”. At least I was. But according to Vasilis, the response has been positive so far. Most of the Guerilla Office events are today hosted in hotels. The hotel lobby offers a relaxed yet professional environment with lounge music, sofas and – if necessary – a bartender within reach.
“We’ve had great response from all the places we’ve been to. Everyone is there to work and that makes it look professional so the hotels appreciate that, we don’t make any fuss and we are nice customers.”
However, Guerilla Office is not mainly about the physical space. The essence is rather the people themselves. Developers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, writers – you name it (the other day I met an Italian architect). And yes, the atmosphere is international. Visitors from abroad use Guerilla Office as a convenient way of combining work with networking.
“Lots of really cool connections take place, great discussions happen and friendships are formed. Guerrilla Office gives you the chance to work with and get to know great people that you might not have met otherwise.”
Every Monday attendees are invited to brief the others on what they want to achieve for the coming week. It’s a bit like Scrum, but everyone has their own projects. Vasilis’ personality is reflected in the organization he is building – it’s energetic, authentic and warm. Sometimes his questions make you feel like you’re seeing a shrink, but for your business project rather than yourself.
Sometimes his questions make you feel like you’re seeing a shrink, but for your business project
How big can Guerilla Office get? They recently expanded into Uppsala (credited Jason Dainter at Uppstart.co), and Vasilis is just getting started. Vasilis himself describes it as “beta testing” the concept in Sweden, and the plan is to set up Guerilla Offices in several major tech hubs in the world before the years end. Organizations such as Couchsurfing and AirBnb are inspiring examples of similar concepts going global. And I have to admit, it would be pretty sweet to just be able to head over to an office in London, Amsterdam or New York.
“The vision is to have Guerilla Offices in every city that has a vibrant tech community, so that when you travel, you’ll always have a local office and colleagues wherever you go.”
I’m fairly optimistic about the future of Guerilla Office. The discussion about “grötentreprenörer” has highlighted the fact that there are many types of entrepreneurs out there. I think we all should appreciate that people follow their own paths and do it their way. The startup community is getting crowded with methods, models and frameworks. It’s easy to get stuck in the models of your liking, and think that if you follow a certain recipe you will have success. But what is success for you? Is it even the same for all of us?
We’ve seen SUP46 become a physical hub for many of the Stockholm tech startups, and similar co-location workplaces are emerging elsewhere. As a complement to these, the Guerilla Office initiative is perfect. The concept is still evolving, and might have to mature to get a wider adoption. But it’s getting there.
For some it might be a pre-step before a proper office, for others it’s a lifestyle. And for me, it’s just a break from everything.
I’ll see you there!