• From Blank Canvas to Community Spaces

    GCUC-logo                    Jerome GCUC 2016


    Since launching BLANKSPACES in 2008, Jerome Chang has made a respected name for himself in the coworking arena.

    As the first coworking space in SoCal and one of the first in the US, Jerome has become a go-to source of inspiration and knowledge. In fact, he put his experience to good use in 2011 by hosting one of the first national gatherings of coworking space owners and operators, which led to the creation of the League of Extraordinary Coworking and

    It’s fair to say he knows his stuff. So when he took to the stage at Camp GCUC, the workshop for novice operators on day one of this year’s All.GCUC Conference in LA, OT’s Ceci Amador was all ears. Here’s what she learned:

    On Design:

    Jerome’s coworking space is BLANKSPACES by name, but not by nature. Design, he says, is all-important, as coworking and creative offices are slowly turning into one and the same thing.

    A space that is “efficient, vibrant, and attractive” is your ultimate goal in coworking, as this enables you to use more of your space in a greater variety of ways, which is “the trick to revenue”.

    Jerome discussed “design by numbers”, which associates the architecture and design of a coworking space with the actual revenue, and made the case for good design not only attracting prospective members but also underlying retention.



  • Taiwanese-American Chamber of Greater LA Investment Forum, May 28th 2016

    The Taiwanese-American Chamber of Greater LA – Junior Chamber for years has been advocating the necessity of information exchange and the acquisition of innovated knowledge. On May 28th, 2016, we are going to hold an “Investment Conference” at JW Marriot Los Angeles, LA Live. This is a one-day event and we will have 40+ speakers and VIPs talk about various topics related to innovation, startup, and funding, which I believe that will align with the interest of the audience. The program outline is listed below.


  • RE:WORK | APRIL 2016



    Let’s Celebrate, We’re Turning 8!
    cal-blueendar 16.Apr.05
    blog 1

    When we first opened doors in April of 2008 I had only hoped that we would continue expanding the brand and co working community across Los Angeles. Fast forward a few years, a couple locations, and hundreds of members later we are beyond excited to have been the first co working space in Southern Los Angeles and look forward to the next 8+ years.In honor of our birthday, we are introducing a few special deals:

    1) For the entire month of April, if you sign up for a month-to-month WorkBar membership at either our Downtown LA or mid-Wilshire locations we will offer it to you for $88/month!

    2) Also, if you would like to establish a business presence without physically going into an office, we’re cutting our month-to-month Virtual Office plans to $88/month!

    We want to thank our members for this continued success, and as we grow, we hope you grow with us.

    Jerome Chang
    Head Honcho

    Event Highlight
    cal-blueendar 16.Apr.21

    Alter Spark: Psychology for Digital Behavior Change
    Thursday. 4/21 (DTLA)
    Friday. 4/22 (DTLA)
    9AM-5PM – 2 Day Workshop


    ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP: Over the course of 2 days, you will learn how to apply the same psychological strategies that drive the world’s most successful websites, mobile apps, and social media campaigns. You will obtain exclusive psychological design resources and develop the ability to recognize and apply over 50 principles of persuasive psychology.

    This workshop is great for interactive designers (UI/UX), digital marketers, content specialists, and web/mobile developers. Learn why so many of the world’s leading technology companies, corporations and brands have already attended.

    The workshop will inspire you with new ideas, give you a fresh perspective on digital motivation, and empower you to build influential technologies. After, you’ll never look at technology in the same way again.

    Learn more and RSVP


    CRAZY 8
    $88/Month Special!

    Virtual OfficeMemberships,
    WorkBar Memberships (Mid-Wilshire orDowntown LA)
    or call 213-550-2235
    Televisionary Writer’s Workshop
    Saturday, 4/10, 4/17, 4/30 11AM-1:30PM
    Advanced Spec Lab
    Saturday 4/23 2:30PM-5:30PM
    UX Study Group and Peer Mentorship
    Tuesday, 4/12 6:30PM-9:30PM
    Advanced Comedy Pilot Lab
    Saturday 4/9 1AM-4PM
    Saturday, 4/30 1AM-4PM
    Advanced Pilot Lab
    Sunday, 4/24
    Command B Fellowship Panel
    Saturday, 4/23 11AM-12:30PM
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    BLANKSPACES is a coworking community of entrepreneurs and freelancers who share office space in order to collaborate.
    Workspaces are available on-demand, by the hour, day, or month.
    Welcome to our semi-monthly newsletter providing information regarding upcoming events, new promotions, and services.
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  • 30 Most Influential People in Coworking 2016

    30 Most Influential People in Coworking 2016

    Coworking, by its very definition, is rooted in community, growth, and innovation.

    Because of the passion and dedication of thousands of coworking community members, the industry has expanded to what it is today – a revolutionary movement that is shaping the way our world views businesses, offices, and the way people get work done.

    By the end of 2016, there are expected to be 10,000 coworking spaces throughout the world – 28% growth from 2015.

    This leads to some very important questions for 2016: as coworking goes “mainstream,” will the originality and unique roots of the movement remain?

    Where is the line between coworking and just working, and how do we ensure that we’re remaining authentic to the foundational elements of the industry?

    Leading up to the major 10,000-space milestone in 2016, there has been a strong community of influencers who have helped shape coworking into the high-growth industry it is today.

    These are pioneers, revolutionaries, and next-level leaders who are all tied to one very strong belief: that coworking is changing the way we work and is here to stay.

    We asked the coworking community to nominate influencers they feel have had a significant hand in building the coworking movement, accelerating the movement’s growth, and/or ensuring the movement stays on the right track.

    We received tons of awesome nominations and have broken up the influencers into six categories:

    Read on to find out more about each category and the influencers!

    Is this list missing an influencer that’s impacted your coworking experience? Let us know here.

    Most Impressive Networks Coworking Influencers 2016

    Most Impressive Networks

    These individuals have established themselves as thought leaders with some of the strongest communities of members, leaders, and influencers.

    Mike LaRosa Coworking Influencers 2016

    Name: Mike LaRosa
    Company: Coworkaholic
    Location: Washington, DC
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He is truly passionate about coworking. It’s most clear in his ability to bring communities together to collectively propel the industry forward.

    Jean Yves-Huwart Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jean-Yves Huwart
    Company: Coworking Europe
    Location: Brussels
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s one of the biggest voices of coworking in Europe, and has brought together a community of coworking spaces through Coworking Europe, where we can learn from each other and discuss the future of our industry.

    Tony Bacigalupo
    Name: Tony Bacigalupo
    Company: New Work City
    Location: New York City
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Tony is truly passionate about the collective good of coworking, bringing together coworking owners to ensure that whoever wants to be part of the coworking movement can be.

    Ramon Suarez Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Ramon Suarez
    Company: Betacowork
    Location: Brussels
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Ramon quite literally wrote the handbook on coworking, and he’s done a great job of using it to connect individuals interested in coworking from throughout the world.

    Liz Elam Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Liz Elam
    Company: GCUC
    Location: Austin
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    She hosts the GCUC [Global Coworking Unconference Conference], and has dedicated herself to her passion of connecting and informing the industry.

    Coworking Influencers Coworking Innovators

    Coworking Innovators

    These individuals are visionaries that are pushing coworking forward both creatively and strategically.

    Craig Baute Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Craig Baute
    Company: Creative Density Coworking
    Location: Denver
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Craig uses his solid business background in his approach to coworking – at the end of the day, we’re all running businesses we want to succeed, and he a forward-thinker who can help get there.

    Drew Jones Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Drew Jones
    Company: OpenWork
    Location: Austin
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He has an intuition for where the future of work is heading not just within coworking, but within the entire corporate working industry as a whole.

    Jeremy Neuner Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jeremy Neuner
    Company: Google
    Location: San Francisco
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s proven time and time again that he’s a builder and curator of great communities.

    Chelsea Rustrum Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Chelsea Rustrum
    Location: San Francisco
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    She has a true vision when it comes to the sharing economy, and has helped the coworking understand where it fits into this new revolution.

    Iris Kavanagh Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Iris Kavanagh
    Company: NextSpace
    Location: San Francisco
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    She’s the community expert – she knows how to build, foster, and optimize growth for communities of all sizes and types. Most importantly, she’s a pleasure to work with!

    Coworking Influencers Best Commercial Successes

    Biggest Commercial Successes

    The title says it all – these individuals have achieved significant commercial success in their coworking ventures.

    Adam Neumann
    Name: Adam Neumann
    Company: WeWork
    Location: New York City
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Adam built the biggest coworking space chain in the United States. It’s hard to argue with that success!

    Joshua Abram Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Joshua Abram
    Company: Neuehouse
    Location: New York City
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    With Neuehouse, Joshua shows a serious coworking model of how work collective will look like in the future.

    Nick Jones Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Nick Jones
    Company: Soho House
    Location: London, UK
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Nick successfully built the most loyal, high-end worldwide coworking and travel community.

    Jim Newton Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jim Newton
    Company: TechShop
    Location: Menlo Park
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jim started techshop in 2006, way before anyone thought about hardware startups. Now, he provides the world with a community garage full of tools to build their dreams.

    Howard Schultz Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Howard Schultz
    Company: Starbucks
    Location: Seattle
    Social media: Twitter, Bio

    Undeniably the biggest, easiest to access coworking space worldwide.

    Most Active Community Builders Coworking Influencers 2016

    Most Active Community Builders

    These individuals are gold mines for knowledge on all things coworking, and they do a fantastic building communities centered on their passions.

    Jerome Chang Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jerome Chang
    Company: BLANKSPACES
    Location: Los Angeles
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jerome is always contributing to help fellow coworking space owners. He also opened the the first coworking space in SoCal and SF, long before anyone else.

    Alex Hillman Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Alex Hillman
    Company: Indy Hall
    Location: Philadelphia
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s been a community builder since the start and runs the most popular coworking podcast.

    Bob Summers Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Bob Summers
    Company: TechPad
    Location: San Francisco
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s a true entrepreneur, and is the perfect example of someone who can use passion to drive community.

    Jared Kenna
    Name: Jered Kenna
    Company: 20Mission
    Location: San Francisco
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jered’s created the landing hub for every entrepreneur arriving in San Francisco.

    Jacob Sayles Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jacob Sayles
    Company: Office Nomads
    Location: Seattle
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Community runs in through his veins: he’s a builder and contributor to Open Coworking, the coworking wiki, coworking visa, and Coworking Seattle.

    Coworking Originals Coworking Influencers 2016

    Coworking Originals

    These individuals have been part of the coworking movement since the beginning, and helped pave the way for industry influencers to come.

    Jamie Russo Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jamie Russo
    Company: Enerspace
    Location: San Francisco
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jamie’s always willing to share her experience when pioneering spaces in Chicago and Palo Alto.

    Amit Gupta Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Amit Gupta
    Company: Jelly
    Location: Portland
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He introduced coworking to NYC [one of the industry’s biggest hubs] with Jelly.

    James Wahba Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: James Wahba
    Company: Projective Space
    Location: New York City
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    James and his brothers stay true to community coworking in NYC and constantly experiment to bring the best experience to their members.

    Tina Roth Eisenberg Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Tina Roth Eisenberg
    Company: Friends
    Location: Brooklyn
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    For Tina, coworking is and has been a natural lifestyle and source of inspiration.

    Alex Linsker Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Alex Linsker
    Company: Collective Agency
    Location: Portland
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Alex is one of the most consistent shapers of the coworking culture.

    Rising Newcomers Coworking Influenceres 2016

    Rising Newcomers

    The newest generation of coworking influencers, these individuals are going to play an integral role in taking coworking to the next level.

    Scott Cohen Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Scott Cohen
    Company: New Lab
    Location: Brooklyn
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Scott shows how an interdisciplinary, creative work facility can lift up and position an entire borough.

    Rabih Helou
    Name: Rabih Helou
    Company: Beauty Shoppe
    Location: Pittsburgh
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Rabih built the biggest coworking space in Pittsburgh and is a role model space for up-and-coming cities.

    Jamie Hodari Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jamie Hodari
    Company: Industrious
    Location: Brooklyn
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Industrious is the fastest growing coworking space in the US.

    Zoltan Szalas Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Zoltan Szalas
    Company: Croissant
    Location: New York City
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Zoltan made what many have waited a long time for – a space on demand from your phone.

    Jason Widen Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jason Widen
    Company: HQ Raleigh
    Location: Raleigh
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jason proves that the entrepreneurial spirit is what drives thriving coworking communities.

    To download the 30 Most Influential People in Coworking 2016 list, please click here.

    A little bit about why we built this list:

    We work with hundreds of coworking spaces throughout the globe, and we feel lucky to have been an integral part in the growth of these organizations.

    Through our work with coworking spaces, we’ve seen the impact coworking has had on individuals, companies, and the overall way our society thinks about the workplace.

    As the industry gains more and more momentum, we wanted to take a step back and honor those who have played an integral role in helping the movement get to where it is today.

  • Dear Furniture Industry, Love Coworking

    This article originally published in Business of Furniture on January 27, 2016 under the title, “Industry Can Learn from Coworking Movement” and can be found at this link. It is republished here with permission.

    This post appears on HuffPost:


    Amanda Schneider

    Workplace Trends Passionista


    The coworking craze is infiltrating American work life in a big way. According to a report from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, reported on recently in Inc, since the first coworking space opened in 2005, the number of coworking spaces in America has gone from 1 to 781 as of 2014, and is likely even higher now. More importantly, that trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In just one year, between 2012 and 2013, the number of spaces increased by 83 percent and coworking memberships increased 117 percent in that time.

    As the coworking revolution takes hold, it will have a big effect on the landscape of the future workplace. While coworking companies are beginning to garner a lot of attention, there are also new spaces echoing coworking concepts that are popping up with increased frequency: in hotel lobbies, corporate atriums, and even local YMCAs. As technology and corporate cultures allow workers to be more mobile, the integration of these types of spaces will expand at a rapid rate. Forward-thinking furniture companies must respond with new types of furniture, expanded purchasing options, and innovative sales strategies.





    Coworking spaces need affordable, attractive, ergonomic furniture choices with multiple purchase options to avoid running through a lot of capital at the outset, and furniture companies need the security to know that any risk taken to get a company outfitted with furniture won’t come around to bite them if not successful. There is still a bit of a gap from what the coworking trend needs from the contract furniture industry.

    Jerome Chang, owner and architect at Blankspaces in Los Angeles, sees the true value in contract furniture and leveraged his knowledge of the industry when he opened his first coworking location in 2008. Chang says, “Then, I was the only coworking space that put a strong foot forward for needing real contract furniture. Most were going Ikea or West Elm. As coworking takes hold, there is a growing need to differentiate with the look, feel, and function of the space.”





    Rebecca Brian Pan describes her experience with furniture buying after opening up several coworking spaces including her most recent endeavor, Covo, “There is one company, Turnstone, which specifically targets coworking and alternative workspaces. They are at a more reasonable price point and have much faster turnaround than most contract furniture. But that is the only contract option I’m familiar with, assuming they upgrade from Ikea or West Elm, which means a lot of coworking spaces have the same furniture and look. It is difficult to connect coworking operators with the more creative contract furniture providers who want to have these conversations and forge new paths forward. The market is still so nascent, it’s hard for furniture providers and coworking operators to find one another.”

    According to Liz Elam, Founder of Link Coworking in Austin, “After you figure out the rent, the second most expensive investment for a coworking operator is the furniture. The industry is so used to going after the corporate world they rarely focus on the emerging trends like Coworking. Right now, you typically cannot get a lease until you’ve been in business for three years. Since coworking is an industry that is pushing the boundaries of how people choose to work we will also challenge the furniture industry with how to facilitate these new ways of working.”






    Henricksen, one of the largest and most successful dealerships in the country, is one furniture dealer who is answering these calls from the coworking community with fresh, new ways of thinking. For example, in recent years, they have partnered with Catapult in Chicago. Catapult describes their business as a unique cross between an incubator and a coworking space, with a peer-selected community of talented, ambitious, like-minded entrepreneurs. What differentiates their concepts from traditional coworking spaces is that the goal is to get tenants to leave: that is grow, prosper, and leave. As these companies leave, they need furniture. Russell Frees, EVP & Principal says, “When I first heard about Catapult, in my head it sounded like a great idea, but they wanted a lot for free. It was a great vision, but they had no track record. It was a total leap. In a business like ours you can only take so many leaps. But we did, and it has paid us back tenfold. Not just in financial rewards and business, but in networking opportunities and our ability to evolve our business model.”

    Frees explains, “Here’s why it’s a big risk: a lot of these entrepreneurial companies don’t want to or cannot pay for the furniture in advance. They request financing over the term of the lease. We are already at really low margins because they are comparing contract grade furniture to product in China or Ikea. But they NEED contract grade furniture if they want it to last and keep looking good.” Just like the old adage, no one ever washes a rental car, Frees points out that in these new coworking and coworking-like concepts, people are leasing or temporarily using space. At the end of the day, those people are not going to be as careful and gentle on furniture as if it were their own. The quality of furniture needs to be robust enough to withstand people beating on it… a lot.

    Because of their early risks to help Catapult get set up, Henricksen now has a solid and very innovative partnership with Catapult. When companies outgrow Catapult, a rep will meet with them. Typically their initial ideas of budgets are not something that any contract furniture dealer can meet. That is always the struggle. Henricksen has to educate them on the value proposition. They also have to create robust lease, lease to purchase, and payment plan options to meet evolving needs. Dealers must understand the need to get complex expenses off the balance sheet, which in turn allows them to depreciate the product efficiently over time and focus investments in the core of the business, but there is still a premium. If you are going to lease over five years, the overall cost will still be a bit more over the life of the product. Forward-thinking dealers like Henricksen understand these complexities and are also open to working with each company to devise personalized financing arrangements. This can include payment plans as they are growing the first few months out of the coworking space.





    Frees also describes another innovation in the furniture buying process. Building management companies are getting more innovative, as they have realized it is becoming a huge market to buy furniture and wrap it into the rental lease. Many companies don’t want to deal with coordination with a general contractor and hassles of a build out. This is becoming another innovative way in which smaller companies can finance their furniture needs. Frees says, “There are a couple of dealerships in Chicago that are doing it well through their connections. What we have done is gone to manufacturers, negotiated unbelievable prices based on volumes we believed would happen, and they have.” Together with the building, Henricksen presents options within a limited finish scope, still allowing choices in design for their space. If they select choices outside the negotiated package, Henricksen simply communicates those price changes to the building management, who adjusts rent accordingly.

    On the topic of coworking, Frees says, “I get that there is some frustration with us as an industry. I don’t believe we are the most forward-thinking industry all the time. If they are not connected to the right company to help them realize their vision, it can be a bad experience. The right dealership who gets the bigger picture will help them achieve their goals. There are a lot of really good contract dealers out there that want to have these conversations. It is all about raising the bar of how people see us as the contract furniture industry.”

  • RE: WORK – January 2016



    New Website!


    It’s been in the works, but as of this month our website has been revamped and is now more user friendly than ever!


    You’ll notice that we highlight some of our ‘popular packages’ on the home page which include a Virtual Office, Everywhere WorkBar (access to all locations), WorkBar and WorkStations (dedicated desks). These seem to be the most sought after memberships at both our downtown and mid-city locations. If you have any questions regarding membership pricing, or you would like a custom quote please give our front desk a call!


    We have some pretty big plans in the works for this year so stay tuned for impending updates! We’re going to make this a great year for co working!


    Jerome Chang
    Head Honcho

    Jerome Chang




    Psychology of Success

    Panel Discussion


    Wednesday, January 27, 7pm-10pm



    The event is part of a popular series, “Psychology of Success.” This panel discussion reveals the secrets to success. Our speakers include: Michael Borkow: Executive Producer of Friends, Roseanne, and Malcolm in the Middle. He currently is a Producer for Chuck Lorre’s “Mom.” Josh Feldman: Head of Feature Film Development for Hasbro, oversees the development and productions fro the Transformers franchise, GI Joe, upcoming Magic: The Gathering, and Play Doh animated film. Daniel Schnider: Head of Production & Development for Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures.


    Computer Science Los Angeles is an in-person digital classroom experience for learning computer science, right here in the heart of Los Angeles. We will be starting with an amazing Harvard course, CS50 taught by Dr. David Malan through the EdX platform. NO PRIOR programming experience required! Each week we will watch one lecture, in-person, in a great location with a projector, audio, whiteboard, and very fast internet! We will continue this until the course is completed. This is a great opprtunity to learn the fundamentals of computer science, get to know people in the community, and have fun!


    To join: The structure is simple, please ‘apply’ by filling out a brief questionaire on Meetup (see provided link) to be accepted into the CLSA. From there, you can RSVP for the event.


    To apply: click here




    RE:THINK – Strategies for Success


    Hosting a seminar, or perhaps a large workshop during peak hours? Are you a location scout (or know someone who is) that’s looking to film scenes during the week?


    Due to increased interest in our downtown Los Angeles location we have opened up availability and extended the option to utilize our facility throughout the week during business hours to accommodate the needs of industry professionals.


    So if you are hosting a webinar, multi-day module, filming a new commercial or other large event give us a call to schedule your next event!



    Referral Program
    Refer a Friend: have a fellow friend in need of office space? Bring them in for a free trial! If they sign up for a 3+ month membership they’ll receive 10% off their first month and we’ll sweeten the deal by extending a 10% credit to your membership!


    Calendar Listing
    Psychology of Success
    Wed 1/27 7pm-10pm
    Advanced Spec Lab
    Sat 1/30 1pm-4pm
    Free Coworking Day
    Every other Thurs 8am-7pm
    @bDTLA: 2/4, 2/18, 3/3, 3/17
    @bLA: 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/10
    Televisionary Writers Workshop
    Sat 1/30 11am-2pm

    Veritas GMAT Prep
    Tues & Thurs 1/26-3/3 7pm-10pm

    Building Bridges Brunch + Workshop
    Sat 2/6 10am-2pm

    Fiction Writing Workshop with Jonathan Blum
    Sunday’s 2/7-3/13, 5pm-7pm
    Downtown UX Study Group & Peer Mentorship
    Tues 2/9 6:30pm-9:30pm

    TV Spec and Pilot Intensive with Eileen Jones
    Thus 2/11 7pm-10pm

    Advanced Spec Lab
    Sat 2/20 1pm-4pm

    Televisionary Writers Workshop
    Sat 2/20 11am-2pm
    Advanced Pilot Lab
    Syn 2/28 1pm-5pm

    Most of our events are open to the public and some are free for members! For more information regarding our events & seminars,please visit our online calendar





    By Jerome Chang // Founder, BLANKSPACES

    2016 will be a banner year for the design of coworking spaces. Here are some of my predictions.

    1. Design styles will distinguish and even glamorize the coworking brands that want to grow. Coworking has its roots in fostering community, with some spaces that are claiming a curated experience. Curation will continue to include design as a requirement for success in scaling up, earning PR, and closing significant investment rounds.
    2. Open work environments will continue to proliferate, but more spaces will try to tackle acoustics…and fail. With limited resources…and limited knowledge, bootstrapped solutions will try to piecemeal efforts to improve acoustics. Examples are the dreaded phone booth (my opinion only!); small “acoustic” panels; and hanging balls of yarn. #FAIL
    3. That said, noise is good. People will begin to just embrace how the range of noises will always exist and therefore shape your experience in the space. (Article: New York Times: Dear Architects: Sound Matters)
    4. At least one automated access system will finally break ahead of the pack and become the popular choice. The reason isn’t so much that a good enough system solves our problem, but that coworking is finally on suppliers’ radars.
    5. Furniture choices will expand out from Ikea to West Elm and CB2. Whoo-hoo! Baby steps everyone. Baby steps. Systems furniture manufacturers (Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, etc.) will continue to patiently wait for coworking spaces yet another year for space amateurs to become space professionals. Then again, most of the coworking industry will continue to wonder why they rarely ever see or meet these manufacturers Chicken. Egg. ?

    And for a sneak peak prediction for 2017: hipster style in the office will die. They belong only in bars and restaurants, which are themselves trendy. Therefore, premiums spent on vintage furniture will become costly discounts desperate to be hauled away.

  • Co-Working Finds Space in Tech Scene

    Co-Working Finds Space in Tech Scene

    REAL ESTATE: Flexibility, price points prove good fit for startups.


    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Moving In: Cross Campus’ Dan Dato, left, and Ronen Olshansky in Santa Monica.

    Moving In: Cross Campus’ Dan Dato, left, and Ronen Olshansky in Santa Monica. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

    Chad Vangas’ startup is growing, but he won’t be moving into a formal office any time soon.

    Bootstrapped since its inception in April 2014, his four-employee email marketing service Ecommerce Influence is housed in a communal office, commonly called co-working space.

    “The word ‘lease’ just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I don’t want to be locked to anything,” said Vangas, whose shared office in Venice is owned by NextSpace Inc. “We really never thought at looking at an office space. We knew the flexibility and what a co-working space offered. Everything was set up and ready; just plop yourself down and go.”

    Vangas is among a growing number of entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers who have been drawn to the hundreds of thousands of square feet of co-working spaces that have opened recently in Los Angeles. These spaces, operated by both upstart firms and those backed by many millions in venture capital, have cropped up most notably in Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Vista, Culver City, Hollywood, Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles – the region’s tech hot spots.

    No hard numbers on the total amount of space taken by these businesses are available, but it is clear they are taking large chunks of office space off the market.


    After opening in 16,000 square feet of co-working space in Santa Monica in 2012, Cross Campus opened an 18,000-square-foot space in Pasadena in February and is expected to open a 33,000-square-foot space downtown in January.

    New York’s WeWork, valued at $10 billion by its venture capitalist investors, has two spaces in Los Angeles and has signed leases for three more, including an estimated 90,000 square feet in the Gas Co. Tower downtown.

    High-end co-working business NeueHouse of New York has committed to take 93,000 square feet at Kilroy Corp.’s Columbia Square project in Hollywood.

    In all, there are more than 50 co-working facilities in Los Angeles, according to website Represent.LA, and more are on the way.

    “Penetration into what we think of the addressable market is really low, by our

    estimate (just) 1 to 2 percent,” said Ronen Olshansky, Cross Campus’ co-founder

    and chief executive. “I think the scale of demand is going to surprise people in the next few years.”


    The co-working business model at its core is simple: The site operator signs a long-term commercial lease, throws out some chairs, tables and Wi-Fi and then sublets space to entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote office workers.

    Co-working businesses take on the responsibility of handling more mundane administrative tasks for their subtenants, commonly called members: brewing coffee, supplying snacks, maintaining Internet connections and keeping the printer stuffed with paper. They also allow users to lease a desk, rather than committing to hundreds of square feet of office space for years on end.

    Still, argued Dan Dato, Cross Campus’ co-founder and chief operating officer, running the business is “a hell of lot more than (providing) an office and a desk. The hardest part of the business is the event programming, the hospitality.”

    Co-working spaces market both their perks and sense of community.

    Cross Campus’ new downtown location, for example, will come with a full-service artisanal coffee bar, rejuvenation rooms and member discounts with a masseuse who visits regularly. WeWork locations boast free beer, fruit water and video-game arcades. (Full disclosure: The Business Journal rents a desk at WeWork’s Santa Monica location.)

    Perks and community aside, the primary appeal is flexibility. And not surprisingly, the expansion of the co-working phenomenon in Los Angeles has tracked the growth of the tech industry, which craves flexibility.

    L.A. startup Soothe, developer of an app to order in-home massages, spent its first few unpredictable months at WeWork’s Hollywood facility.

    “For a corporate headquarters, it’s not a scalable option because the price per square footage is incredibly high,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Merlin Kauffman, who started the company with $400,000 of his own money. “But if you need to put one person in an office very quickly, it’s a great solution.”

    The cost, indeed, can be high. One two-person office in Santa Monica is about 80 square feet and costs $1,475 a month with a one-year agreement. That figures out to more than $18.40 a square foot a month, more than three times higher than the $5.02 average for Class A space in Santa Monica last quarter. Co-working landlords point out they also supply the office equipment, utilities, Internet connection, coffee and access to larger conference rooms, taking some of the sting out of the high price.

    Co-working spaces have also been able to proliferate because of changing expectations of work spaces: So-called creative office layouts allow operators to pack in tenants more densely.

    “Five to 10 years ago, it was 250 square feet per person,” said Olshansky. “With today’s creative office environment, people are working much closer together, 50 to 75 square feet per person.”

    The typical cost for an unreserved seat at an L.A. co-working table is about $350 a month, a dedicated desk is about $500 a month and private offices for two people range from $1,200 to $1,500 a month.

    Packing members in elbow to elbow means fees can add up quickly. And, like gyms, co-working facilities often overbook their open-table memberships knowing that many users will not come regularly.

    “With a good operating model, you can book 200 percent of the capacity, assuming not everyone will be there,” said Jerome Chang, founder and chief executive of Santa Monica co-working business Blankspaces.

    Landlords, too, like leasing to co-working businesses, which take large chunks of space and showcase their buildings.

    “All in all, getting more people to see your building, and to be a tenant in your building, spreads the word about the great attributes a building might have to offer,” said Gibran Begum, managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who brokered the deal for WeWork’s 44,500-square-foot space in the Fine Arts Building in downtown Los Angeles. What’s more, “they typically will pay market or top-of-market rents to be able to lock up premier locations.”

    The 10-year lease on WeWork’s 40,000-square-foot location on Broadway in Santa Monica has an estimated value of $24 million.

    “It’s a business that has a very low barrier to entry. Anyone can get a space, staff it up and try to get a lot of people in their space,” said Cameron Kashani, co-founder of Santa Monica co-working space Coloft.

    With that comes risk. With so many co-working spaces opening their doors, there is a chance they can blow past market demand.

    “It’s kind of the Wild, Wild West right now. It’s really new, so people are figuring it out,” said Chang. “There’s going to be a tipping point soon, where things start shaking out. We’ll see what really works.”

    Co-Working Finds Space in Tech Scene _ Los Angeles Business Journal

  • A social workplace develops and expands the definition of work, including networking

    “A social workplace develops and expands the definition of work, including networking” Jerome Chang, Blankspace’s founder

    Since 2008, Blankspaces has been cultivating the shared workspace scene in Los Angeles. The brand has several locations, with two in L.A and one in Santa Monica, each offering freelancers and entrepreneurs shared office space, which can be rented out long-term or on a flexible basis. We spoke with Blankspace’s founder, Jerome Chang, about the development of the social workplace and how today’s office is encouraging frequent employee interactions.

    Hi Jerome. How would you define the social workplace today? And how is it representative of the new model of work? 

    The current open office environment includes workspaces without full-height walls, rather than offices with cubicles, which are more traditional, albeit often poor, examples. The social workplace is designed to encourage frequent interactions. Hotel lobbies with work-like areas are good examples of this.

    Please describe the design of Blankspaces, and tell us a bit about why the look and feel of a workspace is so important.

    At Blankspaces, I include a variety of workspaces, from small intimate areas, to large open areas, and everything in between. This helps develop physical spatial relationships that shape cultural interactions. For coworking, it’s also important to remember that our physical space is what generates revenue, so efficiency is vital.

    Blankspaces, Santa Monica

     How did you realize what type of space design nurtured productivity?

    All types of spaces can nurture productivity. Once you use all of your design tools, including details like the way someone sits, away or toward others, you can make any space productive.

    What kinds of members usually join Blankspaces (more freelance or corporate) and what services do you offer them?

    Any and all. We tend to attract and retain members who value a “real office” and one that has a productive vibe. This does not necessarily mean it’s quiet, or noisy.

    In your opinion, how has the development of these open spaces influenced the culture of work?

    Privacy can be segmented into many levels and perceived differently by everyone. Questioning how much privacy someone needs to work productively, is critical.

    What does a social work environment offer that a traditional one does not?

    A social workplace develops and expands the definition of work, including networking.

    Blankspace's founder, Jerome Chang

    It seems that many larger companies/corporations are steadily gravitating towards social workplaces, why do you think that is?

    They are starting to see that interactions amongst others have been undervalued in the past.

    How are the expectations of the modern workforce different from previous models?

    Technology can finally untether workers allowing them to be productive anywhere, so they now work all the time. Oops.

    What has changed in the last 5 years? What are the current expectations? How do you address these modern needs?

    A workspace doesn’t necessarily need to provide space for a keyboard, a CPU, or even file storage. So workspaces can be much smaller. Dedicated workspaces may not even be required because people change workspaces throughout the day. Therefore, workspaces have to be designed with a variety of areas in mind.

  • CrashLabs in Costa Mesa offers freelancers, startup entrepreneurs fully equipped work space by the hour – and a sense of community

    Robert Nienhous, of Nien Studios, left, and Jeff Zinn, of Pixel Jar, collaborate in a project at CrashLabs in Costa Mesa. The pair rent a dedicated office at the co-work space. The co-working space provides desks, meeting rooms, WiFi, photocopiers and other office tools to members who pay an annual fee of $25 and a day or hourly rate to use the comfortable and colorful spaces.JEFF GRITCHEN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
    CrashLabs: Plaza Sereno, 234 E. 17th St., Suite 117, Costa Mesa; SoBECA, 2967 Randolph Ave., Costa MesaInformation: or 949-777-6570

    Related stories

    Co-working gains popularity in O.C.

    Lisa Taylor, a former business executive who lives in Newport Beach, was experiencing the same problem that has frustrated so many other entrepreneurs who don’t have their own offices.

    She would go to a coffee shop to work but couldn’t find a seat.

    “The people who were sitting there taking up spaces were not there for the coffee but the Wi-Fi,” she recalled. “They couldn’t get up to use the bathroom because they were afraid they’d lose their seat.”

    And it was a lousy place to work, she said: “It was a cold, loud, disruptive environment, and I thought, ‘I could build a better model.’ I just need to make it comfortable, like it’s their office, home and coffee shop all in one.”

    That’s what Taylor did. She founded a new chain of co-working spaces in Costa Mesa that provide all the Wi-Fi, photocopiers, meeting rooms, desks and coffee a startup could want in a space that is colorful and collaborative.

    The company, called CrashLabs, is not the first co-working space to come to Orange County, but it is the first home-grown one.

    Tech Space, originally founded in New York, is one of a handful of co-working chains operating in Southern California. It runs “full-service,” “flexible office space” in Costa Mesa, Aliso Viejo, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    BlankSpaces, started in 2008, is another chain operating in the Los Angeles area. New York-based We Work runs 30 locations globally, including one in Los Angeles.

    Co-working has yet to become a household word, but it’s an idea born from the realities of the modern workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, 40 percent of the U.S. work force, or 65 million Americans, will be freelancers, temporary workers, independent contractors and entrepreneurs.

    Co-working spaces like CrashLabs cater to the untethered worker with a shared environment that lets individuals work independently but not alone.

    A global phenomenon that began a decade ago, co-working is prominent in major urban areas like San Francisco, Boston and New York, where there are clusters of entrepreneurs in densely populated areas. Orange County has been slower to the game, analysts say, because much of it is so spread out.

    At CrashLabs, members pay an annual flat fee of $25 to join and then pay by the hour, day, week or month to use its amenities. In addition to a kitchen and lockers, there are tables wired with outlets to plug in laptops, private meeting rooms with soundproof sliding glass doors, and walls coated in a magnetic paint that doubles as dry erase board to jot down ideas or make presentations.

    “The whole space is movable, flexible – just like people’s schedules and lifestyles,” Taylor said.

    Combining a place to crash with a lab environment that encourages cooperation, CrashLabs earlier this month soft launched its first of two Costa Mesa locations in a 2,000-square foot-space on 17th Street.

    It officially opens July 17 and will eventually expand to 6,000 square feet. It already counts its membership at roughly 100. A second, 6,400-square-foot location on Randolph Street will open in August and provide space for performances and dinners, as well as open co-working.

    Similar to traditional businesses, CrashLabs operates from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, but it also hosts after-hours networking and workshop events to help entrepreneurs of disparate disciplines bounce ideas off one another and learn about topics ranging from finances to search engine optimization.

    “It’s not just a place or a space,” Taylor said. “You tap into a community. That’s when collaboration and synergy happens – and innovations.”

    Taylor should know. In 1998, she founded the Irvine-based global semiconductor distribution business, NexGen Digital, and expanded it to a $16.5 million company in two years. It was after selling her stake in NexGen in October 2013and experiencing firsthand the difficulty of having no office space – that she decided to set up CrashLabs.

    Co-working, as both a concept and a term, dates to 2005 when San Francisco computer scientist Brad Neuberg invited strangers to use the loft that was his home and workspace. Neuberg went on to co-found Citizen Space, which is credited as the first co-working environment.

    San Francisco has since become a hotbed of co-working, through companies with catchy names like NextSpace and Sandbox Suites. So has New York, where We Work grew into a $5 billion company.

    By some estimates, there are now more than 700 co-working spaces in the U.S. The number of co-working spaces has doubled each year since 2006, according to Innovation is Everywhere, an international coalition of co-working entrepreneurs.

    Even so, “The demand far outstrips the supply,” said Jerome Chang, founder of the 7-year-old BlankSpaces, which has co-working locations in Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles and the Mid-Wilshire district, and will open one later this year in Pasadena.

    “The supply is barely, even remotely, trying to catch up,”Chang said. “The army of people who are potential clients, users, visitors of these spaces is growing just on an individual worker basis.”

    Chang is also the founder of the League of Extraordinary Co-working Spaces, a group of 20 co-working space owners operating 45 locations globally who formed an industry association in 2012 to share best practices and establish co-working standards about membership policies and Wi-Fi systems, among other things.

    “No matter how advanced we are as a civilization technology-wise, the success of one business always comes back to building strong, personal, long-term relationships,” said Melissa Geissinger, global collaboration partner with, a website that is working to establish collaboration, openness, community, accessibility and sustainability as the core values of co-working.

    “Co-working goes beyond the physical desk. It goes beyond the shared workspace,” Geissinger said. “These are real communities full of people who trust one another and rely on one another.”

    That has been the case for Erin Leigh Brown, who was like a lot of new Orange County residents when she moved to Costa Mesa six months ago and was looking for a place to operate the independent marketing consultancy she launched in January after 14 years as a salaried marketing manager in New York.

    “I was finding it very difficult to get things done working from my home,” said Brown, 38, who moved to the area with her husband and 1-year-old daughter. She experimented with working at coffee shops but was too distracted by people watching.

    A member of CrashLabs since May, Brown said that what started as a distraction-free place to work has become a confidence-building tool. She meets fellow CrashLabs members who can help with her website design and other platforms she’s using to build her nascent business.

    “CrashLabs is a different dynamic,” Brown said. “I get up in the morning. I get ready as if I’m going to the office, and I treat it as if I’m going to work.”

    Contact the writer: On Twitter: @OCRegCarpenter