You may think that all NYC coworking spaces are the same, or that they’re at least somewhat interchangeable. Then there are other considerations like, besides the obvious (costs), what are the benefits of simply renting a desk in the open co-working area over taking a private office? And what ever happened to simply subletting some space within a company that has some extra desks or an office to rent out? So many options – so little free time! We sat down with Replay Creative founder Anthony Martin who has been there, done that, and shared some of his insights into the pluses and minuses of all of the options.
Replay Creative is a web development/branding and marketing agency working with startups, agencies and enterprises, including a some pretty impressive brands that any company would love to be able to include on their client roster.
The name itself is a nod to Martin’s musical background. In addition to his developer background, he’s also a trained musician and plays piano, trumpet, guitar, mellophone (“it’s like a trumpet, but bigger”) and French horn.
“Anything I make, I want to make sure it’s repeatable and it has replay value. Like a good song – a song is judged by how many times you play it, or listen to it. Good songs are measured by how many times they’re replayed.”
He first started developing websites when he was twelve, and thanks to his passion for music, landed his first paid client when he was 13. While checking a local music venue to see who was playing, he noticed that all of the musicians had a website except for one, who only had an email address listed. So he emailed the guy. A few weeks later, he received a check in the mail for $100.
That was 2001 and his prices have gone up a bit since then.
Martin started a couple of other businesses when he was in high school (a web hosting company, an online store where he sold tee shirts), has been building ecommerce sites since he was 15 and he founded Replay Creative, in 2010 and started working from clients’ offices and with distributed teams since then.
Cowork.rs changed some of that.
Not that it was the first co-working space he’d ever worked in.
“I worked out of a few other co-working spaces. A handful. I had that as a reference,” Martin told us when he sat down with us at Cowork.rs recently. “I knew I wanted to go to a co-working space, so I had an assistant compile a list of potential spaces.”
His criteria? Reasonably quick/easy commute from his home (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn). Convenient to public transportation. The usual amenities (Internet connectivity, conference room, housekeeping, etc.). And of course, reasonably priced. You know – the usual.
Five spaces made the cut and he took a day out of his busy schedule to visit them all. At the end of the day (literally), he still had some time, so he visited a few of the ‘maybes’ on the list. One of them was Cowork.rs.
“It was the last place I visited, but it was my favorite,” he noted. “I liked the aesthetic and the community of companies there. It was a nice mix of freelancers and established companies. I thought it would be great for recruiting new talent and getting new clients as well. Then Eric (Steiner, Cowork.rs CEO) explained whisky Fridays – I thought he said Risky Fridays.”
Whether he was tired or intrigued, he liked what he saw and heard, and decided to sign on for a space in the general co-working area.
He instincts where spot on. He did find a couple of new clients (“one from Cowork.rs; two from referrals from people we met here”) in quick shrift – not to mention that that’s where he also met and hooked up with associate Aaron Cohen (who speaks seven of the 38 languages/ frameworks the company website boasts), with whom he has been working ever since.
After spending two months in the general co-working are, Martin moved Replay Creative to a private office at Cowork.rs.
“You meet more people in the co-working space (as opposed to a private office). It’s slightly more social, and social helps,” he observed. “But you get more work done when you’re in a private office. You’re also not hunched over a desk: it’s more ergonomic to have a monitor than a laptop – at least for me. And I don’t have to drag my computer around anymore.”
Private windowed offices are always prime – and coveted – real estate in co-working spaces, but there’s something to be said for having a door that you can close behind you,. And he likes the neighborhood. It’s Flatiron – again, coveted real estate, so what’s not to like?
“The neighborhood is great – that one reason why I picked it. We also have clients in the area, and it makes it easier to meet with them. They come to our office. Sometimes we go to theirs.”
Ah, and then there’s Shake Shack.
“They have amazing burgers. Now every other burger I’ve ever had fails in comparison. But winter is the only time you can get one,” he said, referring to those notoriously long lines that the warmer weather always brings.
Then again, it’s nearly summer and it’s New York, when people tend to cut out of work early and head out of town when they anticipate a great weekend weather ahead. The lines may be at least a bit shorter and Martin may have a shot at getting one of those burgers. Shake Shack is just around the corner after all, and with any luck, it won’t rain – a condition which always seems to change New Yorkers’ weekend summer plans.
Then again, maybe that’s why it’s called Risky Fridays.