All posts by MiaLobel

has it been done before and what makes this idea unique

mediabistro.com is probably the closest to what I would like to create. (Any name similarity is purely coincidental. If it’s too embarrassingly similar I will make a change – though I rather like “Freelance Cafe” (Dave’s idea)). It combines resources for independents with networking opportunities and special events/classes, and it emphasizes making connections between people who would otherwise be alone in their independent freelancers’ world.

Two thoughts on how my idea is different:

1) The physical space – while mediabistro.com creates opportunities for independents to meet, it is primarily an online space.

2) I’m not sure about the focus on media. While that is what I know the most about, there are plenty of freelancers/contractors who don’t work in media – for example – contract engineers. These folks have different needs and, potentially, a lot more money.

One thought on how my idea is the same:

1) Maybe I could work with mediabistro.com to create my cafe with their backing?

TechShop is a new space in the South Bay that seems really, really cool. It’s kind of like the Crucible (one of my favorite places in Oakland) but it’s for profit. These spots are obviously much more industrial than what I have in mind, but they do share the sense of communal resources and networking for people with like interests.

Here’s a recent news story about TechShop.

Creative Growth in Oakland is a well-established program to support creative expression, but it was created for adults with disabilities. Might be a good model for developing an Oakland non-profit. It’s been around since the mid 70’s.

Oaklandish
– not really similar to what I want to do, but a very cool Oakland-based organization that is doing great things. Might be a good partnership opportunity.

Insomnia Cafe in Los Angeles is simply a cafe, but it encourages screenwriters and other independent LA types to sit and stay all day. I love the idea of creating a space like this. Lyssa (amazingly) remembered an article that was written about it the New York Times in 2004.

AudioLuxe is noteworthy in that it’s a local independent startup non-profit podcasting/training organization run by some folks I know-ish (Stacy Bond and Michael Johnson of KQED). They could potentially be a good partner/resource.

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stop trying to make it perfect and get started already (aka The Big Picture)

I’ve been talking about starting this blog for far too long. I keep waiting to have the time and energy to create a fabulous and coherent mission statement and a framework business plan to kick it off, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. So I’m just going to start putting stuff up here in all its incoherent glory. We’ll call it brainstorming.

The main idea – more or less – is to create a space in Oakland for freelancers, contractors, and other independents to gather with others doing similar work, and to find resources and networking opportunities to help them succeed (financially, socially, etc.) in whatever it is they want to do with their time.

Here’s my very first list of possibilities for this space. (Keep in mind, this is brainstorming so there are no bad ideas, right?)

  • incubator for individuals with an idea
  • memberships
  • workshops
  • resource center
  • brown bags or donated lunches
  • gym membership and other discounts (health insurance)
  • individuals/artists in residence
  • guest speakers (author of “I don’t know what I want…”)
  • resource library
  • in house gallery/pro tools setup/darkroom
  • media center
  • collaborations with other local businesses – Luka’s, other galleries
  • rental spaces for freelancers
  • special events/fundraisers
  • sabbaticals for independents

So – what now? I need comments, opinions, suggestions, links, resources – anything that will either 1) help make this idea a reality or 2) convince me that this is crazy and unworkable and that I should stick to my day job.

Ideally – each of my posts will encourage a slew of comments from you all, which will lead to more posts and ultimately that fabulous and coherent mission statement and business plan I mentioned earlier. Ready? Go!

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