The Future of Work has an article on distributed work zones – Zevillage in Normandy and Hidden Tech in Massachusetts. These zones offer a sense of local community to freelancers and micro-entrepreneurs. Zevillage is unique in France in that it is the only rural area with high speed Internet access, something that is available in most parts of Canada.
The basic premise of these zones seems to be that many workers have the ability to tele-commute and don’t need to live in an urban area. Avoiding a costly commute seems to be a motivator as are lower housing costs. The zones fill a need by connecting local, mostly home-based, workers who can meet face-to-face to made professional life a bit less lonely.
Work Commons seem to be similar or complementary to these kinds of zones. What I noticed about these two examples is that both are fairly close to major urban centres. For instance, Zevillage is 2 hour train ride to Paris. Out here in Atlantic Canada we don’t have that easy of a commute to a large city. Montreal is an overnight train trip and Boston is a full day’s drive.
Still, I’m wondering if an Atlantic distributed worker zone would be of interest? It would be kind of like a virtual Commons, linking all of us who work in our time zone. Perhaps we could call it the Atlantic Standard Tribe (inspired by Cory Doctorow – another Canadian).
Here is what Hidden Tech is focused on:
In general, HIDDEN-TECH members fall into the following broad market categories: PR/Marketing/Newsletters; Content; E-commerce services/Retailers; Hardware/Software Developers; Web Design/Hosting, and Management Consulting/IT Training. Everyone from jewerly designers to photographers, software developers to marketing specialists attend meetings. Their connection is that they are small, usually not incorporated and use technology to drive their business.
Is this worth following up? I’m willing to do the ground work if there is some level of interest, so contact me or add a comment.