The Water Cooler You Want to Hang Around

May 8, 2013

At Atlanta Tech Village, we’ve made it a priority to create environments that spur serendipitous interactions that lead to startup success. Because of this, we purposefully lean toward shared community amenities and away from individualized breakrooms and conference rooms. By removing walls and giving people a chance to SEE one another and to SPEAK to one another, barriers to social interaction are removed and people really get to know one another. Here’s a real life example I want to share with you:

Three independent individuals with engineering/development experience joined the Village as coworking members. They sat near each other in the coworking space and, being the friendly folks that they are, introduced themselves to each other over the course of a week or so. As they started to get to know each other, they realized that they were all in a similar boat, using revenue from consulting work to fund new startups, and they were all looking for new problems to tackle. One day, the three of them were chatting over coffee in the game room lounge talking about new ideas that interested them. Another Villager, while getting a cup of delicious Octane coffee, overheard their conversation, and said, “Hey, you’re talking about an industry that I have expertise in, maybe I can help.” As their conversation continued, they realized that each one of them had a unique piece of the puzzle that they could put together and create a whole solution: a problem to solve, an industry in which one of them had experience but lacked the skills to develop a solution, and others who possessed the skills to create a program and process to solve the problem. Within a week, they had developed a working prototype.

It has been so cool to watch their idea grow from casual conversation around the water cooler, into a viable idea and a potential business venture in such short time! They may well have eventually bumped into each other at some point while circulating through the Atlanta startup ecosystem, but being here under this roof sped up that process, their brains collided and have spurred something new. And who doesn’t love a little brain collision with their morning coffee!?

May 8, 2013
Karen Houghton