Where am I off to this week?
From Cambridge, Massachusetts, I headed to Think Tank Coworking in Portland, Maine.
Where is it?
So how did I choose Think Tank?
From Cambridge, I could go many different directions to many different coworking spaces.
To help me decide, I always chat with people in each coworking space about where I should go next.
This time, I had no idea which direction to go. However, Portland came up many times as a great option.
People said Portland was a vibrant community where the people, food (I needed to eat a lobster roll of course), and nightlife were great. After being here for a few days, I have to agree.
Once the city was chosen, I narrowed down my search to Think Tank for a couple reasons.
- Think Tank is in the middle of the city but only a few minutes from the water. Ah the water! I am a walker, and I absolutely love to explore a city on foot.
- The space displays a mixture of sculptures and paintings that provide nice nooks of intrigue.
- The Think Tank team was easy to get in touch with and active on social media.
- There were multiple locations in the area. I had not yet visited a coworking space that had experienced such rapid growth without being funded. I wanted to learn more about their success and challenges. How did they build the community and culture in each of the spaces?
When I first arrived, Think Tank Coworking was exactly what I pictured from the website and the research I’d done.
It has a lively front part of the space with large windows and open coworking (Check out the graphics on the glass!) as well as a more reserved, quieter section in the back.
I want to work in busy and talkative areas as I like to connect with coworkers on a deeper level than just through working next them. I do enjoy chatting and love to learn more about the people I meet and their work.
A person’s story is hugely important to me as I believe I can learn something from everyone.
When I arrived in Portland, Patrick Roche, who is the founder and Portland guru, was unavailable. However, I ended up stopping by the space anyway and met John, a fellow coworker. John was nice, friendly, and does VFX work which was extremely impressive. Just imagine virtual effects on top of video. He has even worked on films!
He showed me around and helped me connect to the WIFI. As I mention in my About Me page, that is pretty much all I need to work. I had coffee with me so I was set to work all night.
The next day, Patrick gave me a full tour.
The first thing I noticed is the very large windows up front that flood the space with light and provide a warm and welcoming feeling. That couch was one of my favorite places to work. I do need to get into the sunlight from time to time!
From the street, Think Tank stands out and wants to be seen. This was apparent many times over the next few days as countless people stopped to look inside.
I imagine these people had many questions.
What is happening in here? What are these people working on?
The entrance, located in a downtown high-traffic area, serves as a great marketing tool and even as an ambassador of coworking as I believe it is introducing coworking to a new set of people even as they walk by.
The space does draw you in.
Within this coworking space, there are offices along with dedicated and open desk spaces.
Patrick actually built out and constructed all of these areas himself which is impressive. I am not a handyman in the slightest.
When picking a spot to work, I tend to just pick a desk somewhere so that I kind of have my own area. I’m not as productive when I sit close to someone as I probably talk too much sometimes.
Throughout the space, you are surrounded by many different pieces of art in many different forms.
It definitely builds a cool vibe.
These phone booths are also a nice touch.
Patrick and I both agree that these types of nooks are a requirement in today’s coworking spaces. There are too many distractions in an open space with people talking and on phone calls nearby. There need to be rooms where people can close the door and have a conversation. Check out the extra insulation to help minimize the sounds.
In the back part of the Think Tank there are more open coworking spaces and couches. This area is much quieter than the front. It caters to people looking for a spot away from distractions.
People work best in different ways and need the option to choose.
Personally, I like to be distracted from time to time.
One side note: this is the first space I have been to that is less coffee and more of a tea and water community. I live on coffee so this can be hard to comprehend.
There’s always a first for everything!
Before visiting the Think Tank, I did not know what to expect.
What was this place about? What was their mission?
After meeting Patrick, it was clear he was rooted in the community and invested in its growth. After all, they are expanding into an additional 3,000 square feet next door to be open soon.
The new space looks like it is going to be a great extension.
Patrick said he’s looking forward to adding things that are missing from the current offices.
I am excited to see what else this week holds for me.
Another side note: I ended up staying 2 weeks in Portland and at the Think Tank. More to come.