ShareDesk, a company that usually charges to connect people with available office space, placed people all over the city for free. Their site was getting flooded with startups looking for a place to work but most offices on their site were already at capacity. Rather than sit idle, they began manually making calls to anyone they could think of, even companies who weren’t members. Slowly they began finding available places, but rather than post them on their own site, they posted them on Noel’s SandyCoworkingMap. As CEO Kia Rahmani said, “It’s not about profit, it’s about helping other people out, and pooling resources is the fastest way to do that.”
One of the most amazing things is seeing the community saying ‘I have an open door. Please come in. We understand that you’ve been affected by this. We understand that your business may not survive a week or two weeks without power, without internet. So come back, get back to work, reconnect with your community, recharge and be prosperous again,’
Perhaps the most visible manifestation of the post-hurricane outpouring of good feeling has been Sandy Coworking, an effort to make desks and Wifi available for anyone who need a place to be productive. Almost as soon as the clouds parted, anyone with a working office was offering to host the displaced. Staffers from Buzzfeed took up residence in Heart’s cafeteria. Kickstarter moved in with Boxee. Venture capitalist Charlie O’Donnell suggested the hashtag #sandycoworking for those seeking and offering space; as the offers began flying fast and furious on Twitter, Mr. Hidalgo hacked out a platform for anyone to list what they had.
One of the pillars of our mission is to help solve our clients’ problems. I can think of few problems larger than being unable to operate your business for days, if not weeks. I want to salute our team in New York for taking the initiative to help our clients in a time of need.
The New York community has always joined together and felt a sense of togetherness,” O’Donnell told me. “Because we don’t have the resources of Silicon Valley, New Yorkers have realized we can only succeed by working together so it’s not surprising that people have jumped on board.
It didn’t take long for New York startups and techies to spring into action after Hurricane Sandy left parts of our fine city without power, water, shelter, or Wifi.
With many office buildings in Manhattan still without power, mobile workers are finding ways to coexist—peacefully, for the most part—wherever they can find a power outlet and an Internet connection. The savviest nomads, weary from the battle for space at cafes, are now making temporary homes in other offices—some of which have opened to other workers for free.
Only 590 members of the NYTM voted, adding up to a turnout of less than 6 percent.