Could you create a “being space?”

A being space.

One of my favorite stores is Barnes & Noble.  Yes, they have lots of books, music and movies.  But what I love most about it is that it feels like I’ve been invited to hang out.  Big comfortable chairs.  Coffee and snacks.  Did I mention the big comfortable chairs?

Chair Well it turns out, I love Barnes & Noble because they’ve created a "Being Space."

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg first conceived of the "Being Space" in his 1990 book The Great Good Place and described it as a a place where people hang out —  take it easy and "commune with friends, neighbors, and whoever else shows up."  A place where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with friends, people watch, read a book or play a computer game.

Think about it.   Starbucks.  The Apple Store.  The Laundromat where you can watch a movie while you wash.  It seems like the retailers have caught on. 

But what about the service industry?

Imagine this…what if clients or business friends & vendors were invited to stop by the MMG office.  We happen to be right downtown.  Maybe they’re in between meetings or just need a place to catch their breath. 

They can grab a cup of coffee, hop on our wireless high speed internet (or use the computer in our open work station), make some phone calls or grab a book off our bookshelf.

Do you think they’d take us up on our offer?  Does it say something about our brand that we’ve created a space where they could?  Would it alter or intensify their opinion of us and what working with us might be like?

How about you — could you create a being space?

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6 comments on “Could you create a “being space?”

  1. David Reich says:

    Drew, next time I’m downtown there, I’ll stop in for a cup of coffee.

    Likewise, if you or any of your readers are in midtown Manhattan — near Grand Central or the U.N. — come on over to 222 E. 44th St. 9th floor. Relax, have some coffee. (On your way up, you never know who you might see. The Rachael Ray Show is taped 4 floors below us. I haven’t seen Rachael yet — she comes in different hours than I do. But yesterday I saw them taking a bull up in the freight elevator for a segment (on cooking steak?). A live bull with big horns. No bull.)

    Anyway, come on up.

  2. David Reich says:

    Today Bill Clinton was downstairs taping a segment with Rachael Ray. I didn’t see him, but I saw the Secret Service guys with their earpieces.

  3. Mark True says:

    Brilliant idea, Drew.

    I had the same idea for a small town bank I worked with a couple of years ago. They never moved forward for a variety of reasons too lengthy to into here 😉

    -Mark

  4. Lewis Green says:

    Drew,

    Starbucks calls it the Third Place, not home, not the office, but a place to getaway and be ourselves. That’s why I love Starbucks. I also love Barnes & Noble, no matter what they call the safe place. Good post!

  5. David,

    Okay you trumped me. You have Rachel Ray and a bull in your lobby. I just have Mike Sansone of Converstations!

    He’s probably better looking than the bull but Rachel Ray….no way!

    Drew

  6. Mark,

    Maybe it only works if you serve incredible coffee but I do think people love to “hang” someplace comfortable.

    So why not offer that as a service to a “friend” of your business?

    MMG is moving full steam ahead. You’ll have to come down and grab a cup of joe!

    Drew

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