Balance between profit and purpose – A need or a luxury?


Let’s cut the crap. Of course it is a need. Look at companies as Whole Foods, Patagonia, even Google or Seats2meet itself. All of those companies grow and are still growing without losing sight of what they were aiming for since the beginning. That is called sustainable growth.

I recently read an article from shareable which discussed about the growth of coworking spaces and the lack of the community spirit that it has on its beginning in 2008. It is true that when a market grows, businessmen with their suits and acronyms come close. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Getting organized and professional a good sign of growth and everyone should keep on with it. There is a difference between getting big and being a sell out for money. There are already NGOs to help companies growing understand this and also help big corporates to see less numbers and more people – to come around and create a purpose, one of them is conscious capitalism. Is worth it checking it out – could be eye opening.

I have been working on S2M for a short time, but it is great to read about it as a reference of business that scaled up without losing its human touch and purpose – which in this case would be “a strong focus on independent professionals supporting each other, connecting, and contributing to the space” as Cat Johnson nicely said in her article on shareable.

We can apply this for any kind of business, but it is important to acknowledge this is the moment that coworking spaces are going through currently. This raise lots of questions, will all the consumers of this market go to the companies that offer comfort but no community? Is it a coworking space with no actual coworking, given the literal mean of the world, still a coworking space? Or would it be just desk spaces?

A community couldn’t be a product, only if you mean it in a mathematical way where a sum of factors ends in a product. A community is something build through time. A coworking space is a location that facilitates it. The difference between the spaces who have a community and the one who doesn’t is where the investment is in. I am not talking only about money, I am talking about energy. Is it on the people who frequent the room or is it on the amount of people per meter it fits?

It might sound a little bit misplaced but I was reading an article about Ashton Kutcher’s investments. Yes, the actor. Don’t judge me. In contrary of what some people might think he doesn’t spend his money in cars, mansions and yachts. Since 2003 he has been investing in tech companies as Spotify, Airbnb, Skype, Uber and foursquare among others.

Kutcher didn’t limit himself on tech companies. In 2015 he invested on Beebo, a shoulder strap that holds a baby bottle. In an interview he told about his main investment: “My relationships — taking the time to get to know [people], what motivates them, what their challenges are. These things are often overlooked. Investors get so wrapped up in returns and numbers that they forget that the true privilege of their position is to share a journey with exceptional people.”

That is the mainly the reason why building a community has a lot of value. It builds up relationships. But it is important not seeing it as product to be sold and achieving sales goals, but see it as an end for itself.