Did you see this piece over the weekend? In Start-Ups Follow Twitter, and Become Neighbors the New York Times presents several San Francisco companies (including klout.com, my personal favorite) that purposely located offices near Twitter for good business reasons.
Steve King called it The Real Magic Comes from Being in the Same Place in his new blog on coworking. He quotes the Times piece:
‘Even though it’s all about tech and the Internet, the real magic of Silicon Valley comes from people being in the same space,’ said Burt Herman, co-founder of Storify.
He calls it “Accelerated serendipity”
It is a belief that coworking increases the generation of business ideas and productivity. The concept is when smart people from diverse backgrounds come together in a coworking community, good things happen – including business innovation.
Which is all cool, for sure. And of course, in my years in the Silicon Valley from 1981 through 1992, I saw that happening a lot.
But still, wait a minute: Isn’t this the opposite of 2011 and beyond? Aren’t we all – you reading this blog, me writing it, and all the information we both share on Twitter and Facebook – braking the barriers of physical space and geography with a new online landscape? One that brings us closer despite the distance in miles? Haven’t we seen lots of accelerated serendipity online?
In a comment to Steve’s post above, I quoted his (well, his company, Emergent Research) trend number 7 for 2010, from a piece about a year ago, the convergence of social, mobile, and cloud computing. And, come to think of it, trends number 4 and 5, the new localism and the growth of home businesses, are also counter to the idea of being in the same place.
My conclusion: I love a good paradox. And business is full of them.