Do you work in Laptopistan?

Ilise BenunExcellent article in Sunday’s New York Times, “Destination: Laptopistan,” about “creative laborers” who hunker down in coffeehouses around the country so they don’t have to work at home alone. It’s kind of like co-working, but without the official structure of the co-working space.

Here are my favorite excerpts:

“Laptopistan’s is an entrepreneurial economy, driven by solitary thinkers…Here, people have large ambitions,” Mr. Olinger said. “Some have resources, some don’t. They don’t have career plans mapped out, but they have a career in mind. They’re not looking at a particular ladder to climb, they’re looking at a mountain to conquer.”

Laptopistan provides structure, and freelancers, like children, secretly crave structure. You come to work, for two or four or eight hours, and you take comfort in the knowledge that everyone else is there to work as well. There’s a silent social pressure to it all.

“It almost sounds sick,” said Selena Ross, a fellow Canadian freelance journalist I sat next to one day, “but the fact that people are watching me do my work helps me be what they expect me to be. It’s like working exhibitionism.”

Anyone out there working in a coffeehouse right now? What do you think?

BTW: Steve Gordon‘s session at our 2011 Creative Freelancer Conference will touch on this issue of being a 24/7 freelancer. Registration will open in early 2011.

3 thoughts on “Do you work in Laptopistan?

  1. Alisa Bonsignore

    I’m a big fan of Laptopistan, not because I need the social pressure, but because I like the background noise. Overheard conversations give me fantastic ideas for blog posts, and I’ve even met some interesting contacts at neighboring tables.

  2. Arena Creative

    Aw, man – I’ve tried this. I couldn’t seem to get anything done, though. I can’t seem to get anything done at home either, though 😀 I think I just like screwing around on the internet too much XD There are too many distractions. One thing I did notice is that coffee house wifi-ing it up set me to a time limit, due to the fact that my laptop battery only lasted a few hours. Now, it’s shot and only my power cable adapter works. Sometimes you can sneakily sit at a table where there’s an outlet, but it’s up to the management if they are cool with that, or not.

  3. Di

    My home office is a secluded farmhouse in rural Wisconsin. Out my windows, there are trees, gentle wind, and birds singing. It’s as idyllic as it sounds and people would give anything to work where I do.

    Yet, regularly, I pack up all my gear and head 45 miles to the nearest big city (by Wisconsin standards, anyway:-) and work in Laptopistan. I crave the change of scenery. I embrace the community of people. I love the creative and eclectic persona I take on when I step into a coffee shop with my computer backpack.

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