Seats2meet Global Conference Explores the Future of Coworking

Top image: Seats2Meet Utrecht.

Seats2Meet, a fast-growing Dutch free coworking company, held their global conference March 23 - 24 in Utrecht, Netherlands bringing together coworking venue owners, staff, and experts from around the globe to share their vision of co-working and Society 3.0. The company also launched Seats2meet Connect, a social network that enables freelancers to easily exchange knowledge. With this new tool, Seats2meet continues their quest to build the biggest knowledge network in the world. Only a week after the conference, Seats2Meet reached an impressive milestone -- 1,000,000 seats booked since 2012.

Seats2meet has grown from a small social experiment to 65 locations in seven countries with over 70,000 members. In 2007, they began allowing freelancers to cowork for free in the open space of their Utrecht conference center. They also offered free coffee, tea, WiFi, and lunch. This helped them created a large community of grateful freelancers who were happy to tweet about or use their premium conference services when needed. This lead to increased bookings of their fee-based services and a new, freemium model of coworking was born.

Seats2meet added a location-based knowledge exchange and a new social contract between members to the mix in 2012. Members are allowed to cowork for free in Seats2Meet locations as long as they agree to help other members. Seats2Meet's app and website makes it easy for members to find the knowledge they need and get help. Research has shown that the service helps members find freelance work. Their new offering, Seats2Meet Connect, is meant to extend knowledge exchange beyond Seats2Meet coworking locations.

I attended both days of the conference and interviewed attendees about the most interesting happenings. The below videos give an insiders perspective on Seats2Meet and a cross-section of the Dutch sharing economy. A vision of coworking emerged from the two days -- that coworking and collaboration can happen nearly anywhere including coworking spaces, retail locations, private offices, and even at home.

1. Mariëlle Sijgers answers the question: What can we expect?

Mariëlle co-founded Seats2Meet with Ronald van den Hoff. In this video, she shares some background on Seats2meet and her expectations for the conference.

2. Ilkka Kakko talks about the power of serendipity

Wikipedia describes serendipity as "fortunate happenstance." But is serendipity pure coincidence? This Finnish serendipity expert does not think so.

3. Vincent Ariëns talks about Chairify, a sharing platform for your workspace at home

More and more people work at home. Seats2meet launched Chairify to unlock the abundance of empty chairs at home offices. Like other Seats2Meet services, an emphasis is placed on matching skills along with empty seats.

4. Singer songwriter Maud Stevers performs new song written for the conference

Since music is one of the best ways to share your message, Seats2Meet member Maud Stevers took the stage during the first night's dinner to perform a new song written for this gathering.

5. John Moravec talks about the knowmad society

What is happening in the knowmad society? Here’s John, co-author of Knowmad Society, with his latest thoughts.

6. Looking back with Vincent Ariëns

A recap of the last two days and an exploration of the new Seats2meet Connect competence platform.

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Disclosure: Seats2meet is a sponsor of Shareable.

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