BRAINWASH

IMG_9239There’s a lot of cool stuff to explore in Hamburg, especially in and around co-working spaces like Betahaus. It’s located in the middle of Schulterblatt, an alternative yet hip part of the city. That’s where this picture was taken: „one brain washes the other“.

What a perfect start to take a closer look at young urban creatives and where they  get their work done.

As in many other bigger cities, several co-wroking spaces attract young creatives with the magic four letters „WIFI“. Besides a fast internet connection, most of them offer good coffee, a good infrastructure (meeting rooms, printers, …) and the possibility to meet other young urban creatives who work, connect and linger at hip spaces rather than growing lonely in their home office/ at their kitchen table.

kaffee2In Hamburg, there are plenty of options when it comes to co-working, from very expensive places down at Hafencity to modest spaces that attract start ups, social entrepreneurs, various forms of freelancer, designer. Or in general: people that have more creative capital than actual capital on their bank accounts (no judgement – I’m one of you).

The ones I liked the most were Betahaus, Werkheim and Shhared, because of the diverse crowd working there, reasonable pricing and inspiring atmosphere. This is especially important when creativity is your business.

Co-working means working self-responsible on your own project(s), surrounded by others doing the same. Therefore, chances are high to meet likeminded people, exchange ideas and contacts. And sometimes even starting something new together. In most co-working spaces there are several happenings each month from wordpress meet-ups to workshops to relaxed get togethers. Experience has shown that it’s nice to not only know the face who’s sitting next to you pretending to be working yet checking facebook, but actually talking to them, too.

motivational-sticky-notes-cartoon-cat-october-jones-16In that sense, one brain washes the other as well. It’s great to work in such a buzzing environment and to breathe in the „anything is possible“-vibe. However, critics are warning of the creation of social entrepreneur co-working bubbles, where everyone supports everyone, no matter what. Where the positive attitude is so crucial that good feedback can become more important than an actual honest reality check.

It is very much a cultural thing, too. In San Francisco for example, it is common to praises everyone and stress out the tiniest good thing in the crappiest project, just to say something nice. Because we’re all brilliant and we’re all worth it and we’re all on the path to success. Hands down, hearing all those beautiful things makes you feel amazing, no doubt about it. However as German, it took a while to figure out if people actually liked my ideas and approaches or were acting out of the positivity-trap. It was very confusing at times.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully agree with being supportive, focussing on the positive and help people to grow through constructive feedback. And when someone with an outside view on my project has some critical points to contribute, I’d rather hear them in the beginning than figuring them out somewhere in the middle of the process. Straight forward feedback can be tough to receive, yet I see it as a blessing.

IMG_9171Back in Germany, I’m not so worried about not getting the tough love. Ask for feedback and be prepared for it! Using the power of community in a sense to get support AND honest feedback creates the most vivid, creative and life-/ idea-growing environment one could ask for. So maybe it’s not so much about being in a co-wroking bubble, but being aware of co-working as a potential bubble and then acting accordingly. When one knows the traps, it’s easier not to get caught.

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