Originally published on Medium.

Gah how is it the end of 2017 already?

Feels like I just wrote the “11 cool things that happened at Coworker in 2016”article the other day.

It’s been an eventful 12 months… including 8 new team members, a USA coworking tour, pizza parties across the world, a new angel investor, an acquisition (yes we bought a company!), supporting a bunch of community & industry events, opening up our API, and a ton of new tech upgrades.

We also had a few screw ups (all caused by me)… I’ve shared my personal favourite in the list below so you can face-palm at my expense.

Here’s the lowdown on what happened at Coworker in 2017….

The coworking industry is still growing like crazy with new coworking spaces opening up every day.

3114 new coworking spaces joined Coworker in 2017, bringing the total number of unique spaces on Coworker to:

6272 coworking spaces in 1465 cities across 125 countries.

And yes I know, the global search map (screenshot below) is starting to get a bit ridiculous — we’ll need to change the icon design logic soon because there are too many coworking spaces now to show all at once.

Some of these coworking spaces were added by members, some by their managers. We’re proud to be the largest community-powered platform for the flexible workspace industry, helping people find & connect with the right coworking space for them wherever they are in the world.

Here’s a few cool new coworking spaces that joined Coworker this year…

Nest Dubai, in the United Arab Emiratesis one of the world’s first fully integrated coworking spaces within a worldwide branded hotel (TRYP by Wyndham):

PLATF9M in Brighton, UKon the coastline of sunny England with beautiful sea views, is a popular choice for Brighton’s entrepreneurial community:

Hub Hoi An, in Vietnamin the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An, has quickly become a huge hit with location independent entrepreneurs & freelancers travelling through Vietnam.

The Foundry Africa in Nairobi, Kenyais popular with Nairobi’s startups & SMEs in Westlands — an affluent neighbourhood outside of the central business district.

Plus Coworking in Curitiba, Brazil, which happens to be the city voted as the best “Brazilian Big City” to live in according to the US Reader’s Digest Magazine.

We published a LOT of new member reviews of coworking spaces this year!

The reason we place such a big focus on member testimonials is because these really give an insight into what kinds of people cowork at the space and what they love about it.

Wondering how we get so many coworking space members posting reviews?

I’ll let you in on a little growth hacking secret:

People love free pizza!

Here’s an initiative we rolled out recently (this popup appears when a coworking space manager logs into Coworker if their space has less than 5 reviews)…

We’ve hosted pizza parties at loads of coworking spaces around the world now from Nigeria to India to England to Spain — it’s a win/win initiative and a fun way for us to give back to the coworking community.

We also rolled out our Reviews Widgets which coworking spaces can embed on their own website to showcase their member reviews.

Coworking space managers can generate the Reviews widget for their space inside their Coworker account. It’s fully customizable so they can choose from horizontal or vertical layouts and select colours to match their own brand colours.

Check out Coworking Bansko’s sexy orange Coworker Reviews widget (scroll down to the bottom of their homepage.)

351,468 people used Coworker to find a coworking space in 2017.

That’s 211.75% more (238,726 more people) than 2016.

Here’s a breakdown of our most popular countries.

Fun facts:

We also had 18 people in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 182 people in Kazakstan, 3 people in Micronesia, 4 people in South Sudan, 9 people in Somalia, 25 people in Haiti, 428 people in Venezuela, and 34 people in Palestine using Coworker to find a coworking space this year.

Me, to each of these people

We launched our API for developers, so people can create some cool apps or add a useful “nearby coworking spaces” map to their existing sites.

We had quite a few people in the travel and tech industries approach us about an API since Coworker launched in October 2015 so figured it was finally time to build one.

Well, three actually:

  1. Nearby Spaces API (free)

This API call returns a listing of all spaces within a specified radius (KM) of a given set of lat/long geo-coordinates. NomadList.com uses this API to power the coworking spaces on its city maps (these link to the coworking spaces’ page on Coworker)

2. Space Reviews API (free)

This API call allows you to pull in Coworker member reviews on spaces that YOU have on your site. The Space name you provide will be searched for within a 1KM radius of the geo-coordinates you provide using natural language search, meaning the exact words and order of words doesn’t have to match with our space names exactly.

This is a helpful API for large flexible office space networks and also office-broker websites that want to add a community review element into their platform.

3. Commercial: All Spaces API (paid)

If you’re looking for a continuous up-to-date database of all the coworking spaces out there, this is the API you’ve been looking for.

Whether you’re building an app related to real estate / property development, an app for finding coworking spaces just for women, a dashboard showing trends & growth in the coworking industry, or any other kinds of cool apps for the industry that rely on an up-to-date global database, our All Spaces API has what you need.

For more details about the Coworker API, check out here.

When we first launched Coworker we only collected / displayed prices for open plan hotdesks as thought it would mainly be used by freelancers, remote workers and location independent entrepreneurs.

We were wrong.

Although we do get a ton of these types of people using Coworker, we now also get a huge number of corporate employees and startup founders using it to find private offices and meeting rooms for their teams.

Here’s a few companies that used Coworker recently:

So earlier this year we launched sections for Dedicated Desks and Private Offices, along with “membership requests” so people can check availability / request to book for specific durations & numbers of people.

In 2017 we supported quite a few coworking community & industry events.

The reason we do this is because we love being part of the coworking community and we want to use our position as a global platform to help grow the industry and raise awareness of coworking.

“A rising tide lifts all boats” ~ unknown wise person

  • We sponsored CUAsia 2017 — the coworking conference bringing together 250 industry professionals from coworking spaces across Asia
  • We supported GCUC (the Global Coworking Unconference Conference — the biggest coworking conference in the world) in NYC, Singapore and Australia, teaming up with the GCUC crew to gift 9 free conference tickets worth up to $800 each to coworking space managers in the Coworker community ❤
Photo credit: GCUC
  • We supported Coworking Europe, gifting 2 free conference tickets to coworking space managers in the Coworker community and hosting a drinks meetup at a local pub. Free Guinness (and wine and gin) for all!
The drinks vouchers we printed out and gave to conference attendees
  • We sponsored a Women’s ‘pop-up coworking’ 2 day event in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for female digital nomads in collaboration with Behere. We treated everyone to their first coffee and a bunch of snacks.
Photo credit: Suzanne Gerbenzon
Photo credit: Coworker
  • I was a speaker at a few conferences this year, including the eOffice Coworking Conference during London Tech Week in the UK, the Nomad Summit in Thailand and as a virtual speaker streamed in for the Coworking Conference Nigeria in Lagos.
Me on stage at Nomad Summit 2017

If you’re a coworking space operator or marketing manager, this presentation for the Coworking Conference in London might be useful for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFyEx1HyfPU

If you’re interested in coworking trends with an additional focus on Nigeria, you might like this presentation for the Coworking Conference in Lagos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbnLaOAFHL4

If you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur / freelancer / digital nomad and have no idea where to start, this presentation for the Nomad Summit in Thailand might help you:

  • We sponsored QTLY — a series of local conferences for owners & operators of shared workspaces in 23 cities across North America. With the mission of sharing, learning and fostering collaboration between coworking space managers at a local level, this conference series hosted by coworking industry influencer Mike LaRosa was a smash hit.
QTLY Mexico City
QTLY Miami
QTLY Dallas
Coworker 2017 North America Tour

On a personal note, attending the QTLY conferences was a pretty unique opportunity for me as a founder to learn valuable insights from coworking space operators across the USA, Canada and Mexico — the things I learned from them really helped us shape the direction of Coworker this year.

So yeah… we bought a company!

Ryan Chatterton set up Coworking Insights in 2015 as an industry B2B insights and learning portal, and we really loved the mission and community he’d built around it.

Ryan Chatterton of Coworking Insights

We knew that with all the industry data & info we have access to through Coworker, as well as the relationships we’ve built with coworking space operators & community managers across the world, we’d be able to take Coworking Insights to the next level and make it THE leading source for coworking data & insights.

Ryan is staying on as Chief Editor and will be working with us through 2018 to grow Coworking Insights to reach its full potential.

Check it out here.

We welcomed a new Angel Investor into the family in November 2017, raising $500k on a $4.5 million valuation to help us grow further and build upon our technology.

Although it’s still early days for Coworker (and indeed the coworking industry in general), we’re confident in what we’re building and we’re thrilled to have the support of some amazing Angel Investors along the way.

Thanks to these people we’ve been able to grow the team quite a bit this year. All of us work remotely in countries including Canada, USA, Germany, Spain, Romania, India, Thailand, Bolivia, the Philippines and Australia.

I wasn’t planning to make this public as it’s just one of our internal docs but in case you’re curious (and because the colours are pretty) — here’s our current org chart so you can see how our core team is structured:

What E! News is for celebrity coverage, Coworker Media is for coworking (at least, it will be soon — you heard it here first!)

With Coworker Media, we now have a team of videographers, photographers and interview hosts across the world who can film and produce videos of coworking spaces & industry events, take professional photographs of your space and your members, create virtual 3D tours of spaces, do interviews and publish features of new coworking related launches & space openings.

Since launching Coworker Media we’ve produced videos of coworking industry conferences in Asia, filmed interviews with coworking space owners in the USA, been flown out to Dubai to cover the grand opening of a new coworking space, and much more.

Here’s a peek of a few things we’ve been involved in:

Madison Maidment, Global Partnerships Director at Coworker, as the Media Representative at the opening of Canada’s first coworking space inside a shopping mall
Me interviewing Mike McDerment (CEO of FreshBooks) and Erin Bagwell (Producer of Dream, Girl) at FreshBooks’ International Women’s Day event produced by Communitas

We soft launched our Premium Plans in stealth mode a couple of weeks ago, allowing new coworking spaces that join Coworker to choose from 3 plans:

  • Free : all the usual features
  • Coworker Direct : adds link to your website, links to your social media channels, & your telephone number
  • Coworker Featured : boosts your ranking to the top of the search results, gives you a highlighted map pin and features your space on the local City page for extra visibility

Example of a space subscribed to the Featured Plan in the Hong Kong search results:

Example of a space subscribed to the Coworker Direct Plan:

Prices are different depending on which city they are in — we have 8 tiers of prices based on an algorithm that includes the number of coworking spaces, traffic, average membership costs, and a few other city specific criteria.

We’ll be officially launching this in late January / early February 2018 once we’ve added some extra analytics features into the Coworking Space Manager Dashboards so coworking spaces already on Coworker can upgrade if they want these extras for their profile.

Psssst! If you operate a coworking space and want to upgrade to a Premium Plan, email us with the secret code word “MEDIUM” to spaces@coworker.com before January 10th and we’ll hook you up with a secret early bird 50% discount on a 1 year plan ❤

Oops, my bad.

We migrated over to AWS (cloud hosting) 2 months ago and the browser authentication for the staging site disappeared along the way.

(if you don’t know what a staging site is, it’s a secret duplicate of version your real website where you do all the development & testing before putting new stuff live. And browser authentication is the username & password that blocks people from viewing it.)

I noticed but figured “no big deal — we’ll just add it back in a few days once we’re less busy”.

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Didn’t take long for Google to find it.

Didn’t take long for Google to index it.

Didn’t take long for Google to hit our real site with a penalty for having duplicate content and cause us to start slipping down the rankings in the search results for all our best keywords.

For about 2 weeks we were wracking our heads trying to figure out what was causing all our SERPs to drop.

Until one day…

…we noticed we had 2 weeks worth of messages and reservation requests from REAL PEOPLE in our staging site dashboard.

Shocked Oh My God GIF by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Find & Share on GIPHY

Oops, sorry everyone.

We’re still recovering. Both in terms of the SERPS and my emotional health.

#guilt #fuckup #losttraffic

Virtual high fives, you made it all the way to the end! Thanks for putting up with me this far.

So that concludes our 2017 recap…

The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Carlton Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Me right now…
Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
…knowing you made it…
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Dancing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
…this far

There’s a bunch of other good stuff I didn’t include like the Coworker Welcome Packs we’ve delivered to coworking spaces around the world, the testimonials we’ve received this year, and a lot of the under-the-hood tech upgrades.

But I (or anyone else on the Coworker Team) can tell you about them over coffee if you’re interested and we’re in the same neighbourhood.

So what’s next for 2018?

We’ve got some BIG plans in store so watch this space 😉

And by watch this space, i obviously mean post a review of your coworking space on Coworker and follow us on ALL our social media channels plzzz 

Coworker.com/lab

Instagram.com/coworker

Facebook.com/coworkerglobal

Twitter.com/coworkerglobal

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