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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?


6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2009 5:04 pm

    Please excuse me while I get a bit ahead of myself … next Friday will be my first Tuttle! But since you ask … I’d use the space for putting on workshops to share expertise. I’d do presentation skills, use of slides, visual communication, where people’s attention goes – stuff like that.

    I’d like to attend the same sort of thing: workshops where un-members can discuss and acquire skills or share their experiences. That’s probably a bit vague, sorry. But I think there’s huge potential for crowdsourcing expertise, given a venue.

    • Patrick permalink
      July 17, 2009 9:37 pm

      Jeez… I hope you’re not disappointed! 😉

  2. July 16, 2009 7:17 pm

    Make a space to Facilitate the Unexpected please:)

    Would be great to run the space as a not for profit or coop where any surplus funds are invested in innovative philanthropic projects created by the community (more details at🙂

    I would like to help find a place if you want.


  3. Patrick permalink
    July 17, 2009 9:35 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this since I first read the post yesterday – what would I like to see?

    Well, lots of things… Possibly they wouldn’t work, but hey…

    a meeting place – an ongoing Tuttle gathering, where people can go and be sociable but not only for two hours on a Friday: somewhere that can generate the same vibe, that is as welcoming and challenging as Tuttle but also there all the time
    somewhere that has some quiet thinking places, too – where one can sit and think, maybe work a little, read a bit – I was thinking like a library, but a bit more sociable …
    somewhere with meeting rooms, so groups could coalesce from the social side, and so one could arrange to have specific meetings, too
    lastly (?!) somewhere for open public meetings – I have in mind here somewhere like the space at Demos which the Long Now London group used in June – where big discussions can happen

    Other uses may come to me!

    There are of course caveats – I might be concerned whether a Tuttle space where one could indulge in at any time any day might lose some of its essential energy – is the limited time slot one of the things that makes it special?

  4. July 20, 2009 10:34 am

    As I mentioned to you (Lloyd) at Tuttle this week, I have a couple of ideas (posted separately to ease discussion):

    As someone who is a regular blogger, but new to certain media (especially video), it would be great to have access to some of the facilities one gets in a studio so that I could use them to record videos that do not include my bookshelves as backdrop.

    There are a few things I’d like to try but would prefer a white background (or even green screen) to get the project moving. If there could be other tuttlers to give advice on the technical aspects too, that would be wonderful.

    I’m not sure what costs (if any) could or would be attached to this, but if we are simply looking for ideas, I’d like to pitch this.

  5. July 20, 2009 10:41 am

    What about …

    A space for Q&A with tuttlers in their areas of expertise? Not so much a workshop as educational entertainment

    For example, I’d be happy to pitch up and talk about wine, organise a tasting, give advice to other bloggers looking to get involved in wine, etc.

    Conversely, there are others I’d love to interact with not just virtually (isn’t this the point of tuttle?) to learn about … mobile phones, the world of TV & film, photography, etc.

    … all of which could be shared online too.

    “An Audience With …” Tuttle-style

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