P2P exchange stories: Sharing, thriving and laughing together!

Running a coworking space is creative and socially engaging work, but it is not uncommon for owners or community managers to experience a feeling of “solitude” while they run their daily operations. Thinking constantly about how to do the best for the community, as well as striving to satisfy the majority of people at your space takes a lot of improvisation and consumes lots of energy. People who join coworking spaces do not often realize that keeping everybody happy is really hard work!

The minute Stone Soup became a member of the European Creative Hubs Network we became part of a larger family of hubs and space owners, and we were able to start connecting and exchanging know-how and experiences. We were recently very lucky to participate in the P2P programme exchange and spend 5 days in Malaga, the city that Spanish actor Antonio Banderas was born, and we would like to share with you the highlights of our trip!

We connected

Meeting TLR Stone Soup

When I met Ben Kolp founder of The Living Room coworking in Malaga, we immediately clicked, and our communication and thoughts on the improvement of our coworking spaces were honest and deep. Our interaction made me soon realize that visiting the TLR was the best choice we could have made, as our communities and values are very much alike, and we could validate our successes and reconsider our weak points.

We had new experiences

Coworking space

Our tour in Malaga started with a delicious culinary experience of freshly made tapas and local red wine. We were also amazed with the city’s infrastructure, a small Andalusian city of 500.000 residents, Malaga has a big Technology Park that attracts global companies and has a vivid digital nomad scene. We visited both locations of The Living Room, Soho and Alameda, and it was interesting to observe why certain people would prefer the one to the other. We spent our days working at both locations, having meetings with the community, discussing synergies, and helping one another to advance our plans, and avoid making common mistakes.

What we learned

coworking spaceAt the end of the week, we co-hosted an event at TLR’s Soho location. We invited George Carey-Simos to talk about communication in the digital age. George is a digital strategist, consultant, and co-founder & COO of wersm.com. At the core of his talk was the idea that in our online communication we often take the easy way out, and we often fail to connect because we fail to “speak human”. We also often forget to listen to what others have to say. In an over-automated, hypertargeted, analytic world, we neglect the human nature of interaction, and we forget how to be ourselves, how to be authentic. As inspiring as his talk was for the online world, we also learned that as space operators we need at times to encourage members of our communities to be more human (!) and learn to enjoy the social interaction that can be found in coworking environments.

Being authentic is the start, and the baseline for improving ourselves, our brands, and ultimately to share, thrive and laugh together.

We would like to express our gratitude to the ECHN and the Creative Flip project for making this exchange possible. We hope that our synergies will add value to the project, and we can’t wait for the next enriching expedition!

 

Written by

Olga Paraskevopoulou

Managing partner of Stone Soup

Contact olga@stonesoup.io

 

#4 Tips for a junior software developer

Are you thinking about starting your career as a software developer? Here is a list of #4 advice that will help you embark on your trip!

If you want to code the first thing you should do is spend a good amount of time studying and practicing the basics of your field. Εqually important is communication. There is no way you are going to get good if you cannot effectively communicate with your coworkers and mentors and mingle with other devs who have similar interests to yours.

 

Almost half percent of the professionals in our workspace are technology oriented, which means that they either code for a living or that they are part of a team that builds a new digital product or service.

We talked with Panos, George and Alex, who are software engineers working on the greek division of Covis, an IT service company based in Düsseldorf, Germany. They were happy to share with us some of their experiences that may come in handy for anyone interested in the software industry.

Their impression is that the profession is on demand in Greece and the options vary. They all have worked in various sectors of the industry and they have accumulated some advice for people who are about to dive in.

Tip #1 Start your career in a big company.

There are more resources and better opportunities to be involved in more complex projects. No matter the company, you will have the chance to find inspiring people and expand your network while you get multiple exposure in valuable experience. Not experience in terms of learning some specific tools and get attached to them forever, but being familiar with generally the principles and practices that will help you better understand how new tools work and decide which one will better suit your needs each time.

Tip #2 Have a passion about coding.

If you don’t then no worries, you will have many alternatives that could satisfy you as well. For people of our expertise the pool is full of a wide range of opportunities these days. Being willing to experiment will get you wherever you want to be. Open a GitHub account if you haven’t done so already, push your personal projects, let others know about you and your work! 

Tip #3 Software development is a social process

The Greek capital may help you expand your horizons professionally-wise so you don’t want to miss any opportunities. Being full of interesting meetups, and strong communities is ideal for offering a first taste of concepts that interests you, finding mentors, and network expanding. For starters you could drop by our Monthly Networking Drinks and share some real time conversations with the people of our community. Joining community meetups is strongly recommended than only focusing on paid seminars. Developers’ meetups often keep an introductory level and they could help you understand without spending much time and money if the topic is something you would like to engage seriously in the long run. 

Tip #4 The age of super-hero programmers has passed, it’s all about teamwork.

How do you find the most suitable teammates? Choose from the people you have worked with, you have tested the dynamics between you in the past and you were excited about your collaboration. Working with people you know and have built some level of trust between you boosts the productivity and the beauty in worklife.

 

The best coworking spaces in Europe: Find yours in Greece

We are very happy to be mentioned in the latest Nomad Capitalist article, titled: “The best coworking spaces in Europe”. It feels great when your hard work gets recognised!

Are you a digital nomad? 

Nomad Capitalist is all about helping people like you “go where you’re treated best”. You may read the full article here and when the road leads you in Athens would be fun to pay us a visit!

Embracing the nomad lifestyle entails so many opportunities for expanding yourself either professionally or personally. Changing your basis frequently can be super exciting and could rock your world as you have the potential to meet so many people, be exposed to new ideas, different cultures and try new things.

How do you achieve to get some real influence?

It is helpful to keep track of local meetups and checking the local fb groups for digital nomads to find events relevant to you and generally keep an exploring attitude. Or you could go straight to the source of all the magic itself and mingle with the locals at hubs while you’re also having your work done. In a previous article we shared some tips you need to know to start working remotely and we vote for the first and fifth suggestions we mentioned there. Sharing some real time conversations on your break time with people from the local community may lead you to discover so many more than what you could merely by yourself.

Find your hub/ coworking space

Wherever you may happen to be, there are plenty of options for creative hubs and coworking spaces all over the world. Helping you with that choice there are numerous articles reviewing the crop of the cream of them, and many platforms (e.g. coworker etc) where you may find actual ratings of them. 

Coworking life is bringing people together

Operating from a coworking space brings many changes to your professional and everyday life. Poulcheria Tzova, an architect who resides at Stone Soup for almost 3 years now, shares her perspective.ask-a-stonesouper


According to Poulcheria, the thing she enjoys the most is that she gets motivated to keep on working even the days she feels the least like it. The way she describes this impact on her productivity resembles the effect of the population of a school of fish

In nature it is common to encounter groups of fishes who are staying together for social reasons and swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner. In a similar way, a dynamic coworking environment motivates one to be committed and keep on fighting their own battles so that they won’t stay behind but they will follow the destination of the larger group that is forward.

 

“On days where I feel tired or disappointed, I enter this space full of people and see them overcome difficulties no matter what they face. Along with them, I find the strength and courage to continue too.”

Giving and taking


Poulcheria’s favourite part of the day is when the magical little exchanges among the members of the coworking community happen. They occur either consciously or unconsciously but that is irrelevant because they are very impactful either way.
“I love it when I am asked for advice. I feel useful offering to others and at the same time I feel as I am returning the favor because I am also receiving so many things from them, even if they don’t realise it.

Tips for the new generation

 

As an experienced professional Poulcheria gives value to the workspace itself. When we asked her what would be her piece of advice for the new generation of architects, she responded;

“It is said that in order to become an architect you have to own the three O’s;

detail-driven 1. Observation
 2. Observation

      and

 3. Observation

This is one of the most essential qualities you need to own in order to succeed in every task you undertake. No matter what the workspace of your choice is, try to build a pleasant working base, but never forget how important is for our profession to be responsible, serious and detail-driven.”