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Oh, hello.

July 16, 2009

If you’ve come to Tuttle in the last year or so and only seen a networking event, you need to go back to this post from August 2007 which outlines the initial vision.

OK, so actually, I’ve just gone back to it too and this is what’s evolved and emerged since then:

  • The social space has been a huge sucess – more exciting and productive than expected. And the idea of having coffee and chatting without much else in terms of format has spread across the UK, Europe and the US.
  • We’ve created a kind of un-members club – if we had a space I can truly imagine there being people there all the time, I know their names.
  • I don’t seem to have written about it much at the time, but a big bit that I remember was educational – helping people learn about the social web, although there was more of an emphasis on facilitating media production. That seems to have drifted away a little.
  • Collaborative co-working is still unproven in this town, in my opinion. No-one has yet found a business model that is both highly profitable and highly social. However collaborative work and projects have sprung up through Tuttle that one could imagine working well together if they had a common space.

In other words, while the social (and close to free) space has proved sustainable, the jury is still out on educative and collaborative working tied to a space and generating revenue of its own. And it’s difficult to experiment with anything like this without having a space.

But something else has changed in the world since August 2007. Whether you call it economic meltdown or a correction that is already showing green shoots is a matter of opinion. Nonetheless there are an increasing number (although it’s difficult to count) of empty spaces, everywhere including central and not so central London.

The Spacemakers group have been growing and nurturing ideas and experiments under the expert guidance of happy tuttler Dougald Hine, with a view to tapping the synergy between a range of projects all looking for space. We are not alone.

And it does seem, at least anecdotally, that property owners are starting to look at alternative ways to bring in some temporary income, if only to offset some of the costs of holding an empty property.

We’re talking about just such an offset project at the moment – it may come off or it may not – if it does we’ll be letting you know loudly as soon as wee can (there’s a twitter feed to accompany this blog) but there’s always a possibility that this is just a wake-up call for us to understand some of the issues and iron out some of the bugs before something even better comes along.


Say we had a property with 20,000 sq ft of space and that the deal boiled down to “You may use this property however you wish, within the law and on condition that when you vacate it, you leave it in as good nick as when you went in. You may not install major cabling or alter the fixed infrastructure in any permanent way. You need to cover your use of electricity and provide for public liability and contents insurance. Other than that, here are the keys, see you in a couple of months.”

What would we do? What would you want to do? What event would you like to hold? What would have you queueing round the block to pay to get into?