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Monday, May 11, 2009

My impression of San Francisco coworking spaces

I recently spent a day visiting every coworking space in San Francisco. I thought I'd post my impressions (since I have at least one friend that's also looking at spaces).

My Favorites
Five star recommended!
Sandbox Suites
Sandbox Suites ($495/mo) - Pros: Cool environment and convenient location. I like how the lounge area is separated from the desks. There are varying levels of privacy allowing you to choose the desk that best suits your need (and budget). There's a decent conference and phone room. They also have an active event calendar. Cons: It's expensive. Especially for a private desk.

SVT Group Coworking space ($300/mo) - Pros: The people seemed nice and the price is reasonable. Cons: Coworking is not the main intent of this space. It's basically SVT's office space with room for a few extra desks.

Seemed Interesting
I wouldn't mind working from any of these places, but they weren't my first choice.
2431 Mission
2431 Mission ($175/mo) - These guys almost made it in the "favorites" category. Pros: The desks in the public area are probably the best deal of all the spaces I saw. I also liked the atmosphere - very eclectic. Wether you do will be a matter of personal taste. To get an idea of what it's like check out some photos. Cons: Everything (including the fuseball table) is in earshot of the work areas. Don't think you could get a private desk and play your music without it being heard throughout. Also, the people didn't seem too friendly. This is probably because there was no designated greeter when I stopped by - everyone was busy working. Most other coworking spaces had someone who's job it was to manage the place and show you around.

CitizenSpace ($425/mo) - Pros: The place is dedicated to coworking and has been around for a while. Convenient location. Cons: They had the worst work/play separation of any of the spaces I looked at. There's only one big space that includes private/public desks, a kitchen, and a "chill area" with couch, TV, and Wii. The floor was concrete and sound would easily travel from one side of the room to the other. If you have a loud keyboard (as I do) everyone knew when you were working. There were no dividers between the private desks. I never saw anyone use the Wii - probably out of fear that it would disrupt everyone else.

PariSoMa ($350/mo) - Pros: Cute place and the people seemed nice. There's a lot of light from some huge windows, which could be a pro(not depressing) or a con (screen glare). There's a cool little nook where you could relax and read a book. However you couldn't take a phone call there without interrupting the rest of the office. Cons: Only marginally more private than CitizenSpace. Most people there aren't coders (which was important for me). This would be better suited for indie designers (hence the name). Also, the space was a little small and not as well equipped as Sandbox Suites.

I would rather work from home.
Dreamfish, SF - Way too cramped (unless you like working while standing up). I'd have a hard time working here even if I was good friends with everyone else in the room.

iList - Drop in only. No permanent space available. At the time I saw the place they were moving to a new office. I don't even think they had available chairs.

HatFactory - There was just one big common desk that everyone works at. I didn't feel like I could bring my own keyboard/mouse/monitor and leave them there. Also I think some guy lives here.

NASA CoLab - Seems inactive / nonexistant. Their wiki has gone offline.

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