Hello Stone Soup-ers!
My name is Nikos and I have been around Stone Soup for about a year and a half. I first got involved by doing my internship for the Department of Management Science and Technology of Athens University. During that time I learned so much about the Greek Start up scene and about social impact. I also really connected to the people at Stone Soup. Luckily, Olga Paraskevopoulou went to the Seats2meet.com Global Meeting earlier this year and organized a trip for me to visit the Netherlands and get to know the whole Seats2meet.com experience. And I have to admit I am absolutely thankful for this. It had so many positive effects on a young graduate like me.
First of all I have to tell you what Seats2meet.com is about. It is based on the concept of Society 3.0, a new more flexible structure. Realizing that in the modern, rapidly changing era of business and technology, it is nearly impossible to stay relevant for large immobile companies. The colossi that have ruled the world for almost 2 centuries will have to shrink, concerning the space they occupy and the people they employ, to adapt to a more project based workflow. That means that they will be in constant need of specialists outside of the company. Also there will be more inter-company collaborations. Those two things are important to understand why Seats2meet.com is working.
Seats2meet.com believes in Social Capital. Thats why they have an open workspace in every location where people can book a desk with free access to wifi and coffee. Perfect for freelancing professionals. In exchange they must be open to share knowledge, connections and human interaction. Everybody wins. The locations also have some meeting rooms. People who don’t really want to share their social capital, but want to stay close to a really big network of freelancing professionals, can book these meeting rooms in exchange for monetary capital, better known as money. So the monetary capital funds the features that make it easier for the social capital to exist. Personally the book Society 3.0 will be my next read. And maybe it should be yours too.
During my stay in the Netherlands I have visited various Seats2meet.com locations, such as Meet Berlage and Amsterdam Connected in Amsterdam, Meeting Plaza and Utrecht CS in Utrecht, S2M station Amersfoort, Seats2Meet Eindhoven Strijp-S and Seats2Meet’s Hertogenbosch Centraal Station in Den Bosch. I also worked in the biggest one, Utrecht CS. I saw how people work here and also how the open space is so vital for everything to work. I also realized that this is a business running and no matter how great the idea behind it, there is so much work to maintain a smoothly running environment. But most of all it motivated me.
I saw how well organized the locations were. I saw how satisfied the people were and I also saw that there were enough people willing to pay for a meeting room every day. This gave me a blueprint of how I have to work so we can spread the movement in Greece. I am already trying to find something fitting for the Greek standards, a business plan that can work.
As you can tell, I like the idea. As for Stone Soup? Stone Soup has newly become the first ever Seats2meet.com location in Greece. That makes it a frontrunner in the greek ecosystem. Stone Soup shares the same culture with these locations. That in my eyes is a big advantage. We can now connect internationally to all the other locations in the world and the people that work there.
Crisis has always been a time of change and I strongly believe that Greece is headed to a Society 3.0 direction. My thought is to embrace what we, as Stone Soup people, do best. Share knowledge and work together. I will, for my part, put all my efforts to try and find partners and spread the word of what we represent. I feel that this is my role. That was my biggest gain from the whole trip. I think I found a place.
I want to thank Seat2meet and Olga for having faith in me and giving me a chance that changed me for the better. I experienced a whole different culture of professionals that inspired me and met so many great people. Traveling changes your view of things and I hope more people my age will get the chance to travel and work so we all collectively can make Greece a better place.
P.S You can read my blog posts about the whole experience on the Seats2Meet online mag here.