Opinion

About Worcere - An Extended History

— Adelaide, SA


Preface
What is Worcere and why did we start it? To scratch my own itch, for a start. As a freelancer it is a resource that would have made my life better.

Writer
Paul Goodsell

Photography
Paul Holmes

Location
Adelaide, SA


It all began in my year as a freelancer.

I had a great home office. A big, broad desk. My window looked north and benefited from the winter sun - in lieu of any interesting view. I never scheduled a client meeting or phone call before 10am, preferring to potter up to the high street, whilst most were struggling through the commute, to grab a take away coffee, shoot the breeze with the locals I'd meet on the short walk, and generally ease into my day as a freelance marketing consultant that worked from home and didn't really have to change out of his jammies if he wished.

A few months of constantly being at home took its toll. It was just me and the cat, mostly, and a few phone calls, Skype chats, and Slack exchanges throughout the day to keep me in supply of my daily dose of human (well, most of it) interaction. I needed a moving back drop. And I mean more than the cheeky rat that would sometimes scurry along the fence outside my window.

Occasionally, I'd pop my laptop in my pack and make for the high street or head into the city on my bike. I'd do what other bearded men with Apple affinities would do. I'd sit there, try not to procrastinate, and get down to configuring me some Wordpress, writing a blog post, or planning a Facebook Advertising campaign. I liked it. It worked.

I liked having a never ending supply of good coffee at my disposal. The food. I never forgot to eat this way. The conversation with random people I'd meet. And, of course, a dynamic backdrop to it all. And it was cheaper than renting a small office or co-working desk.

WiFi was reasonably easy to come by. The Adelaide City Council and Internode have done an acceptable job of blanketing the city with a service. It's often slow and jittery, and sometimes doesn't work at all, but it serves a purpose. And in the space of my year as a freelancer, data plans with the major mobile carriers became cheaper and more generous. I could get connected to my clients who were based across Australia at least.

But, power. Yep, electricity. Of course all the businesses had it to run their fridges and lights, but most didn't make it directly available to their customers. I knew of a few places - my Friday afternoon '10% battery' go to was the Exeter on Rundle Street as they have a myriad of sockets - but found myself having to duck into places, squirrel around to see if others had them prior to placing my coffee order.

I discovered a few blogs that took on the task of sharing their laptop powering finds, but information on The Great Interwebs of where all the great cafes, bars, pubs, and other places with power points for customers to use, free WiFi, and a positive imposition toward freelancers and others that chose to open their laptop in their establishments, was hard to come by in a useable format.

Freelancers and entrepreneurs working at Daluma in Berlin

There were also a few sites and apps coming out of the States and India that attempted to address the problem. Certainly not with an Aussie focus. The issue I had with these was there lack of focus on user experience. A lot of technology development seemed to go into them - well, they all manage to put existing APIs, like Four Squares offering to good use - but didn't give a hoot about the actual needs of the user - accuracy of content being a big thing. Providing them with what they want, when. And most filled a city map with every place that could muster a breath of WiFi signal - even places that had long closed!

Readily scalable these efforts may be, but only if people want to use them.

As a specialist in content marketing strategy, I knew the power of unique, targeted, and persuasive copy and content. Of helpful content. (Tim Reid, thanks for introducing me to that phrase all those years ago.) And the cut-through that small and specific gets over big and broad. I knew that if I could create a product with a focus on relevancy I'd be creating something of greater purpose for smaller group of the right people and maybe attract a few more to the idea.

This is how Worcere was born. After a few months of procrastinating over the idea we now have 30 cafes, bars, canteens, diners, restaurants, and other places listed in a rather basic directory format definable by whether a place has WiFi, power; is suitable for a meeting or a Skype call; has good coffee, food, booze, or all three; and whether it's a place that welcomes a freelancer, business owner, or creative to sit for an hour or so and work over a coffee and sandwich.

As we head for a future filled with short term contracts and project-based work, and with the advent of remote working, more of our favourite cafes will serve as more than a meeting place for people in the flesh to mull over caffeine. Some places do and will embrace this - vibrant, entrepreneurial businesses attract vibrant, entrepreneurial people - and some won't. Heck, some cafes factor in these sort of customers into their business model.

Worcere plans to continue connecting those go-getter laptop jockeys with Australia's best, most interesting, and, important, well connected cafes, restaurants, bars, and other places.

After all, the greats were working like this over a hundred years ago.

Opinion

About Worcere - An Extended History

— Adelaide, SA


Preface
What is Worcere and why did we start it? To scratch my own itch, for a start. As a freelancer it is a resource that would have made my life better.

Writer
Paul Goodsell

Photography
Paul Holmes

Location
Adelaide, SA