[01.08] Paul Hemming Background and The Idea of EcoSystm
I moved to San Francisco studied film making about 20 years ago, studied a lot of philosophy and chinese. I have an American father and a Chinese mother. So, I'm kind of the product of two cultures, east and west. I dropped out of film school and then started DJing. I opened a record store in Oakland and it was getting the community there. It was a record store, music studio in the basement, we hung artwork and we threw parties. Basically, the record store was the beginning of the community.
This building community where like people would come in and hang out at the record store buying music. Promoters would come and drop off flyers, the DJs would combine music, people would pick up flyers to find out what party to go to. So, it was just a community that built around the record store. Then the record store eventually led to the nightclub. It was the seed that grew into the nightclub and we moved into this big building inside in San Francisco.
From there, I continued to experiment with ways to use the space more effectively during the daytime. I visited some coworking spaces and being in San Francisco was really the birthplace of coworking. I was aware of them and decided to learn more about it and integrate it into the project. It was really the perfect fit for this daytime nighttime dichotomy that I was looking to solve.
[02.56] The Differences with Zen Compound
We have a pretty big team but I'm the creator of all of these facets. So, it's called the Zen Compound as the parent company. Then, we have the nightclub, Temple Nightclub which is the engine, we have ECO-SYSTM which is the coworking space, Mirus which is the art gallery and Hive is the cafe restaurant concept, so all of the businesses together are the Zen compound. It's all running in same building at the same time.
Most people whenever people come to the coworking space they know that we're part of this bigger project. Then they can get free entry to the nightclub if you work in the coworking space you can go to. One of the benefits.
[04.11] The Coworking Business Model
It's membership based. It's part of what I call the shared economy, where people pay for access instead of ownership. For instance, what uber is to the taxi industry or what Airbnb is to the hospitality industry, coworking is to the office and so our model is really giving people access to all these different functions and facilities.
They get printing copy, fax, Wi-Fi, coffee access to conference rooms for a membership fee so it's like a gym for entrepreneurs. What I like to say is like a Googleplex for everybody. We just try to create a really fun environment that's inspiring. We have an incredible art, from the art gallery spread out everywhere and really nice furniture and cutting-edge design that's inspiring.
One membership for all ECO-SYSTM facilities whether it's coworking, the Nightclub and Art gallery. There are three levels, there's the open seat level, there's a dedicated desk private desk and there's private suite. The three membership levels and each one is really how much space you get right there. We have a bunch of desks that are open for anybody that wants to work out of them but if you want to pay for your own private desk you can and also if you want your own office you can. That's an option that's available.
[05.56] The Typical Demographic Members
We have a really wide range of members and pretty much anybody that wants to sign up, you give them a tour and if people are attracted to it there's no barrier to entry. You just pay memberships and you come in. We have what we call solopreneurs - an entrepreneur one that is by themselves, we have teams, we have a couple companies that have come in 2 person grown into 30 people then moved out. We have different freelance people that work out of here as well. I've also created an incubator on the third floor. For companies that I make investments into that are in music and entertainment technology. I will trade office for a year make a cash investment into some companies that are in music and entertainment technology and whenever we can we will test out their technology on our customer base.
There have been some friends and family around and pretty much I take revenue from the nightclub and use it to fund all the experiments. Essentially still bootstrapping but the nightclub is a great engine for change and experimentation. I call that the engine that drives all the other parts, so ecosystem was the the product of the nightclub.
[07.24] The Workflow When People Join
They sign up, get a membership. They come in for a tour then we give them a tour and sometimes we'll give them a free day to work out of the space see if they like the vibe if they like our community and our facilities. We always let people test it out first then if they like it they can pay for daily membership or monthly membership. Then they get an access key that allows them to come use it anytime. They can come and go and then they get an account on our community platform, our cloud-based community management platform and we have a calendar and they get the Wi-Fi code and depending on what level of membership. They pay for they get a desk or an office or you know the designated open seating areas
[08.22] Strategy To Get More Member
We do a lot of organic marketing. We have an Instagram account and Facebook. We do a lot of events, we try to host as many events in at least one or two per week that's a way of marketing to the community. Where we offer meetups that are involved in business and technology or sustainability creativity. Sometimes will bring in new members. We also run different promotions from time to time and form different partnerships with new brands so there are lots of different ways but a lot of it comes to word-of-mouth.
[09.03] Expanding Plan
We're actually expanding right now. We found a location in Denver, we're currently under construction building Denver right now the whole thing Denver's nightclub coworking art gallery and food cafe. We're looking for cities and we whenever the strategy for finding new cities is analyzing a bunch of different factors like how big is the population, are there lots of young professionals, need to have athletic departments, what the density of coworking, what the nightlife is like, the art scene, there's a bunch of different factors that will look at it. We identify 50 cities around the world that are perfect candidates for the Zen compound.
[10.00] The Unique Selling Point of Eco-Systm
We have a lot of unique selling point. We really have created one of the most dynamic and unique creative business communities out there. That's why I use the name ecosystem. I kept saying that we were going to create one of the most diverse entrepreneurial ecosystems out there. We have conversions of music art, technology and business are very unique. there are lots of synergies that happen when you bring all those components together.
[10.32] The Future Plan of Eco-Systm
The ecosystem is part of the Zen Compound and part of a whole and we've been experimenting here in San Francisco for the last ten years. Now, I like to say the word we're going through cell division. Our plan is to replicate this organism around the world that we're gonna take it and drop it into these unique environments and see how it grows and adapts and ultimately thrives.