23 May 2008

Jelly - work at my house

Jelly, what is it? It's not something you spread on toast, or not this kind anyway. Jelly is "casual coworking". It's popping up in different cities, and what it really boils down to is, someone opens up their house/apartment/some space, and folks get together to work. They aren't collaborating (although they could), it's just a way to get that social interaction for folks (like me) who work at home. You get to meet and interact with other interesting folks in your area, maybe do a bit of work, and get that social interaction you miss while working at home.

To learn more, check out this video that NPR did, or Amit Gupta's (who started Jelly) video.

This is pretty interesting to me, and I'm actually thinking I might do it here in Eugene. I'll have to consider whether I want to invite a bunch of strangers (as great as you all might be (hopefully ;-) to overrun my house for the day or not, but it seems pretty interesting. I always have to think about balancing this with privacy and having a bunch of random folks that I'm not directly aquanted with knowing my house/where I live, and so on. I consider it a bit different than say the 20-something single person living in a random apartment in a city. This is my house, and where my family (wfie & kids) live, etc. Still, it intrigues me. Plus, I have the space, WiFi/net, etc. to do it, and the tech folks (shout out to the Django group) I've met here in Eugene are all cool so far.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't let your insurance agent know you were doing it.

Le Coeur said...

Agreed about the insurance agent. Though, it sounds like an neat idea. I've never heard of that before.

Jeff said...

This sounds like a new concept, "JELLY", I was just reading over on CNN last night on their work from home series and the concept seems to have gained momentum in the San Francisco bay area and sweeping the nation as it was started in NYC.

Now, this is somethng worthwhile to do in "TrackTown, USA", I'd be interested when it all gets started.

Anonymous said...

Is it "Jelly" if you meet at a coffee shop and work together there? :) I thought twitter was my social interaction while I worked alone.

Chris said...

I'm not as big a fan of the coffee shop thing (see my semi-rant on it). But in general, no it's not Jelly. The idea of Jelly, at least my interpretation, is that you're specifically gathering people, and all the people, to mingle and potentially collaborate, etc., it's not just providing a physical space to work.

Twitter is nice (and I'm a huge fan), but obviously not the same as real interaction. But, then you knew that :)

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

Did you get a Jelly going?
I'd be curious to see how well it works for you, your family and the other people who attend. Has everyone been considerate with your family?
Jelly sounds intriguing!

Chris said...

Peter, I never wound up doing it. Two things, 1) I'm just not sure I feel comfortable inviting a bunch of folks I don't know to my house. I rarely give out my address and so on, let alone just invite people in that I've never met and have no background on, etc. I'm not crazy private or anything, just haven't felt comfortable doing this yet. 2) I question the value - especially in Eugene where things are so much smaller scale, limited, and you don't have the wealth of folks working on tech startups like you would in SF or similar.

That said, I'd still be interested in meetups in Eugene. The trick is the content/topic/people and the value. I am so time constrained (who isn't these days), that I really need to perceive some "value" from it in order for me to take that time over say spending it with my family, or friends, riding bike, or getting more work done, etc.

Peter said...

Yes, maybe Jellies are an urban phenomenon, where you're more likely to have the critical mass necessary to get some real action going. I'll just stay in my office and try to get some work done without the distraction of sharing space with strangers. Or if I really want distraction I can go to a Starbucks. What's the difference between a Jelly and a Starbucks? Getting somebody else to spring for coffee or donuts?

Chris said...

Actually, I think there's a huge difference between a Jelly and Starbucks (setting aside the far worse coffee you'd get at Starbucks as compared to my house at least ;-)

Starbucks is just random, you're just getting WiFi, who knows who's there, etc. And somewhere like Eugene, the likelyhood of a real tech worker being in there working (and somehow socializing with you) is, oh, I'd guess about 0.01%.

Now, if you had a group meet there, then it's still different - all the people in the place aren't there for that reason, and to have a big social gathering there (and probably without their permission) I just don't think would work nearly as well. People wouldn't feel as free to discuss, there would be no whiteboards or other such things that facilitate spontaneous discussions or co-working, etc. As I've said before, I think coffee shops usually suck to work at, regardless, and in this situation, I think they don't compare very well at all to a Jelly.

As you say, I think the culture, and location make a difference in the success of a Jelly. A high-density (for tech workers) place like SF, Seattle, etc. should be able to be successful, and someone likely is ok with the home invasion. Also, these co-working facilities are springing up more and more in such places. I would indeed go to one of those if we had something in Eugene like http://citizenspace.us/