Coworking as a concept is only 10 years old. This post is one in a series of posts where I interview people I have met. They belong to coworking spaces in Denmark as well as in the rest of Europe and the world. Hopefully, the series will teach us something about the coworking movement.
The first interview is with William Van Den Broek. I got in touch with William via Morgane Parma, whom I met when I participated in the Coworking Europe Conference 2014 in Lisbon. Morgane is a visual communication designer and a member of Mutinerie. William is the cofounder of Mutinerie in Paris. Here are his answers:
A: What is Mutinerie?
Q: Mutinerie is a community of independent workers: entrepreneurs, start-ups, and freelancers based in Paris. The headquarters of Mutinerie is a coworking space of 400 square meters in the northeast of the city. We have about 200 active members. Some of them work nearly every day from the place, and others come only a few days per month. Mutinerie hosts and organises events, workshops, and celebrations. Mutinerie has various goals and no limits!
Q: When/how did it all begin?
A: Mutinerie was initiated by three brothers and a playground friend who decided, one day in September 2010, to gather independent workers in a place where it would be nice to work, think, and live. After four months of hard work, Mutinerie opened its doors in early March 2012.
Q: What is a ‘Mutin’?
A: A mutin means a mutineer. A mutin is a member of our community—a guy or a girl who decided, one fine day, to become self-employed and chose what he or she wanted to do with his or her life. He or she is a developer, designer, architect, journalist, translator, consultant, artist, or whatever he or she wants to be. Mutinerie is glad to have a huge diversity of skills. Sharing values is the most important part. Being able to share common goods with others and to trust and respect fellow coworkers is key to building a micro-society in which good things can bloom.
Q. How is Mutinerie different from other coworking spaces?
A: We don't try so hard to be different; we just try to be good! The first thing was to find good people and to work hard to deliver a good quality of service. At the same time, we have high expectations of what is a community of coworkers. Coworkers are not in Mutinerie to show off or promote their stuff. There is an authentic atmosphere with authentic people who are able to trust each other. We managed to find a good balance between core coworkers, others who come here more rarely, and travellers. Doing so, Mutinerie remains an open community with strong relations between members. At Mutinerie, you will always have someone to welcome you and explain how things work in the community. The result is that ideas and relationships can grow strong quickly.
Q: What is Coworking Rural (Mutinerie Village)?
A: It is a coworking/co-living space lost in the middle of Le Perche, a French region located 140 km west of Paris. The farmhouse stands alone in a little valley surrounded by forests, grasslands, and a little river. As many coworkers can often work remotely, we thought it could be nice to offer a place where you can mix work and nature! The Village was born last summer after a major renovation of the old farmhouse. It includes a hostel, a coworking space, a maker space, and a permacultural kitchen garden.
Q: How are the rural and urban locations of Mutinerie connected?
A: Mutinerie Village is a kind of countryside house for our coworkers and for the freelancers of Paris. Our little maker space in the Village creates another reason for you to go to our urban Mutinerie and craft things you need. We also organise workshops, parties, and celebrations at Mutinerie Village with our community from Paris.
Q: Where will Mutinerie be in 5-10 years?
A: We have always said that Mutinerie is more a movement than a facility. Our motto means "Free Together" and sums up our main goal: connecting independent people and free minds. In terms of coworking spaces, a new Mutinerie is brewing in the south of Paris, and another space will open in June! If we prove our ability to develop new spaces, we will continue to open spaces in Paris. That said, operating in the heart of a serendipity machine like Mutinerie also means that a lot of unexpected things will cross our path and change it…
Q: Bonus: How do you envision coworking in 10-20 years?
A: Ten-twenty years is really far away, and considering the rapid changes in our societies, predictions are a bit dangerous! Yet, some figures are still pretty explicit. When Mutinerie was launched three years ago, there were about 1,000 spaces all over the world, and, today, we are reaching 6,000! The number of coworking spaces has nearly doubled every year for the past six years, and we don't really see why the pace would slow down in the coming years.
Some studies have predicted that the number of self-employed people will exceed the number of office employees in a decade or so in most western countries. It is the beginning of a revolution in the ways in which we work and organize societies! Yet, I'm not describing a shining future where everyone is free, wealthy, and happy. Being independent is an exciting but dangerous adventure. Big companies are still able to offer protection, security in terms of revenue, and social interactions. Coworking mitigates the dangers facing a society of self-employed individuals. It enables people to be independent and free without being isolated.
Thank you William and Morgane – #JeSuisCharlie