Miracle (co) Worker

WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA OF OPENING A CO-WORKING SPACE?

Fact box

Amarit "Aim" Charoenphan is the 26-year-old cofounder and co-CEO of Hubba Coworking Space & Community (19 Ekamai Soi4[BTS Ekamai], 02-714-3388, www.hubbathailand.com) . With a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Thammasat University’s International Programme, Aim hopes to offer the relatively new concept of co-working to Bangkok via Hubba where, for a fee, you can work alongside people of other trades as well as bounce on a trampoline in the garden (essential to any working day, we say).

I had read about co-working spaces since 2010 on tech blogs and Deskmag [an online magazine about co-working; www.deskmag.com]. During the flood crisis in October 2011, I experienced the pain of trying to work at a coffee shop with unusable electrical sockets, back-breaking seats, loud customers and spotty internet connections. Sensing that there was a real need for co-working spaces for Gen-Y professionals who can work anywhere so long as they have a computer and an internet connection, I decided to take on the challenge of creating Hubba for tech start-ups, creatives and freelancers. It has now been open for 10 months. Co-working is a rapidly growing trend. According to Deskmag, the number of co-working spaces worldwide jumped from 600 in 2010 to nearly 2,500 as of Feb 26.

IN YOUR OWN WORDS, WHAT IS A CO-WORKING SPACE?

The "co" in co-working stands for collaboration and community. To me, a co-working space is like the inns of Chinese kung fu flicks where people of various trades come to sip tea, muse over ideas, share abilities and even form lifetime partnerships. People who utilise co-working spaces receive many benefits that they wouldn't necessarily get from a usual office setting i.e. chances to meet and learn from new friends, meeting potential partners, clients and investors, or forming an awesome team for a start-up.

WHO SHOULD USE A CO-WORKING SPACE?

A co-working space like Hubba is for anyone who wants to work hard and succeed while enjoying the journey in a community of like-minded people. We cater to entrepreneurs and independent professionals of all creeds. We have only three simple rules: bring work, be nice and have fun!

WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM SIGNING UP WITH HUBBA?

We offer every necessity a start-up entrepreneur or a freelancer needs, such as high-speed internet, comfortable chairs, office equipment and meeting rooms. However, our highlight has to be the experience we offer. I think our main attraction and why our members love us so much is that we give them a real sense of community. We are a close-knit bunch of crazy and passionate people. There is an overwhelming sense of inspiration and passion in the air so members feel motivated and driven to work alongside peers who are doing amazing things in their own line of work. Also, the networking happens organically as members learn about what everyone does during meet-ups, workshops and events that we organise. They can meet and chat over coffee or bond over trips, sports days and bar crawls. A real collaboration can take place as a result. For example, I'm helping four partners open more co-working and creative spaces this year. Most of them had come to Hubba and were so inspired they wanted to do something similar. We have also developed two start-up projects at Hubba this year. The benefits are the endless possibilities.

IS CO-WORKING POPULAR IN BANGKOK?

To the best of my knowledge, there are five co-working spaces in Bangkok and more have recently opened in Chiang Mai and Pai in Mae Hong Son. For a big city with a huge population and traffic congestion like Bangkok, people have a hard time commuting long distances to work and I foresee hundreds of co-working spaces in the future as more and more people experience the full benefits and enjoyment of co-working. There's no going back to a typical workplace. On a larger scale, I hope to see more co-working spaces across the country, more people joining the movement, more joyful workers, as well as more kick-ass products, teams and start-ups as a result.G

About the author

columnist
Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter