The One-Week Trial
David Walker is working on a theory he calls Transcending the Stranger Society, wherein coworking spaces are the world’s first cultural stepping stone for a stranger-less environment.
“It’s really funny that we live in a society where you go to a coffee shop and you sit next to someone for hours on end but you don’t have social permission to introduce yourself,” he said. “It’s this weird bubble you exist in; you remove your personality from a situation and everyone is removing their personalities from these retail spaces. Anywhere in our entire society, people convert themselves into strangers; it’s all these strangers hanging out in this place together.”
Walker says a one-day trial isn’t enough time for a potential coworker to feel comfortable in the new space, and it takes closer to a week to merge with the undertones of the social atmosphere. In a society of people suspicious of others intentions, there is a real need to systematically construct trust. Trust construction, Walker calls it.
“We don’t have very many rules,” he said. “We’re lax on any kinds of guidelines we do have. That helps people feel more comfortable and feel more of a citizen rather than a customer.”
A 24-hour access membership runs $275 a month. You can also sign up for the basic membership at $25 a month to show up once a month for free and any other time you show up it will cost $15. The first day is free. You can also request a one-week free trial.
Actually, Walker envisions a system where some of us don’t have to work menial jobs that don’t use our special gifts.
“There’s this great quote by someone famous where he talks about how it’s so silly that we all have jobs now,” Walker said. "We could easily evolve as a society so not everyone needs to work. With technology scaling at the speed that it is, we can create money and generate income; we just need to learn how to share it. We should be living in a society to encourage society members to do what they’re passionate about. It’s funny we tell artists who are fantastic painters they need to work hourly wage jobs to pay rent because our society would benefit more from these artists creating beautiful things for everyone.”
We’re at a point in our techno-global revolution where these crazy ideas are tinged with feasibility.
“At the end of the day I think we’re going to evolve as a world where we don’t need to make money,” Walker said. But in the meanwhile, he’s working on bring coworking to corporations, those modern timeless money-machine factories that have been a staple of the American landscape since we seized it from the Native Americans. Wherever it is coworking is taking us, people are responding to it.
Remember When We Pretended Other People Didn’t Exist?
Walker thinks that in the future, we’re going to look back on this period of time and be like, ‘Remember when we pretended other people didn’t exist when we walked into coffee shops?’
“It’s ’cause no one has created a system in our society that has facilitated a way for people to interact with each other easily,” he said. “People are oftentimes afraid to interact with someone ’cause they don’t feel like it’s appropriate. They’re afraid of violating a social norm. The more and more I’ve kind of watched coworking grow and noticed it here, I’ve realized how unique it is to be able to walk into a physical retail space and at the end of the day actually know everyone’s name that is working there and feel permission to share with them your personality and receive their personality. I think that’s magical.”
Walker thinks the culture in the States has been driven to isolationism, and that coworking is a systematic cure to re-socialize society. “I’ll bet most coworking members don’t have high levels of stress,” Walker said. “Have you looked up stress in the workplace statistics? Maybe doctors should start prescribing coworking spaces to people. Stick it on Obamacare.”
Update: We mentioned the coworking spaces Plug & Play and Hub Austin in an earlier version of this article. Both coworking spaces are (currently) closed.