What We Learned From Launching A Coliving House

Article by David Lowe

In June 2017, Qwerky did an experiment. It put 8 people in a house for a weekend and documented the entire 2 days. The goal was to see how coliving could positively impact the lives of the people living together. It was positioned as a startup bootcamp weekend and as a kickoff event for San Diego Startup Week. There was a combination of entrepreneurs, digital nomads, creatives and a journalist. Two Qwerkies had even crossed the border from Tijuana to be at the house. In addition, there were 4 guest speakers. Here is what happened…

Our Founder David Lowe kicked things off with his Future of Living talk on Day One. The session focused on how a staggering percentage of Americans were lonely and had no close friends. The cause of this was social media and an American Dream that was no longer serving the population (especially disillusioned millennials).

Next came a live webinar from veteran entrepreneur Rob Ryan. His company GrowthHax had been accepted into the prestigious accelerator Startup Chile and so he was speaking to the house from 5,000 miles away in South America. His talk ‘How To Use Mentor Hours Efficiently’ resonated well with the Qwerkies.

Lunch time gave the Qwerkies time to explore the surrounding area of Golden Hill and bond. What was apparent was that people were at different stages in their entrepreneurial and nomadic journeys. They were learning from each other outside of work or a coworking environment which allowed them to relax and be more open with each other. It certainly helped that there were hammocks in the back yard!

After lunch, Samantha Anderson from 41Orange gave her epic talk ‘What Breaking Bad Teaches You About How To Start A Business And Pivot’. The content was great but the way she used something non-traditional to compare made the talk so much more relatable and fun. We realized that Powerpoint presentations suck and most talks put you to sleep. This one had everybody zoned in.

After a quick challenge (What Would You Do If You Were A CEO?), entrepreneur Trevor Jensen came in to talk about the challenges he has faced with his company Bullibone. We switched from the living room to the outdoor BBQ pit for a chance to enjoy the perfect San Diego weather. Being in this relaxing environment made it much easier to learn and as it was more of a discussion, the questions and answers were flowing fast.

At dinner time, the Qwerkies ate outside in the back yard and talked about travel, startups and being creative. Later on that night, a spontaneous work session between a few entrepreneurs brought a hacker house vibe.

Day 2 started with a morning walk on Balboa Park and was followed by a session entitled “If You Had $100,000, What Issue Would You Solve In San Diego?” At Qwerky we want to offer people a chance to solve social issues in the cities they are living in. Some of the ideas that came out of this session were so good that they could have been launched as startup businesses and succeeded. Other sessions included the TED talk by Ric Elias — “3 Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed” and “How Rock Bottom Can Become Your Solid Foundation” by J K Rowling.

Michelle Stansbury was our final speaker from Little Penguin PR. Not only did Michelle end the weekend on a high with her talk about public relations but she totally nailed the hammock swing!

Here were some of the highlights from the weekend: 
- One of the Qwerkies was so inspired by the weekend that she came up with an idea for a business that she wants to launch. 
- A digital nomad gained clarity in his business and realized that by being around other like minded people, his business would accelerate and he would be more successful. 
- A couple of entrepreneurs saw the massive benefit of having an emotional support system in the coliving community. They could speak to each other about the challenges they were facing and empathize. 
- A few entrepreneurs talked about collaborating with their startups.

Check out some of the other photos from the house below and the full collection on our Facebook page. If you are interested in applying to our first coliving community in San Diego, please add you email here on Qwerky.co