Lesson Learned #3: Turn the "I" problem into a "we" problem

Third Space is a co-working + childcare concept in Omaha, NE, the brainchild of yours truly, Kate White, who is new to all things business, spreadsheets and pro formas. This blog is a documentation of my journey to entrepreneurship. 

The talk

The software development company where I work holds occasional “Leadership Talks” in which the more experienced employees discuss a topic or just themselves as impressive people. I showed up to be a sponge at one such event last spring, having talked to so many smart people recently about my fledgling vision of a co-working + childcare space that my brain hurt. I had created business profile identifying all the business-y stuff like target market, customer problem, competition, etc. and had been doing tons of due diligence to figure out if Third Space was a legit business idea or not. 

My co-worker Andrew Wirick was giving the talk that day, a self-proclaimed “UI-minded developer” I’ve not-so-secretly nicknamed our Golden Boy as every project he touches seems to turn out extremely well. He described how he became more involved with the development community in Omaha after moving here from Austin, looking for peers who were more experienced with Javascript (JS) because he wanted to learn the language better. Turns out there weren’t many. He formed the Nebraska JavaScript group after realizing other developers were experiencing the same struggle he was. He described this phase in his professional life as turning the ‘I’ problem into a ‘we’ problem. Andrew had been frustrated with a lack of JS knowledge, found that others had the same frustration and decided to do something about the collective problem.

The lightbulb

A lightbulb went on for me during that talk. I had been spinning my wheels on how to solve my own problem, had talked with smart people who knew about business, co-working and childcare, and yet had overlooked the other working parents, especially breastfeeding mommas, who were experiencing the same frustration with their own transition back to work. I researched breastfeeding groups, parenting groups, working parents groups, etc., and reached out to them for conversation. I ended up joining the Nebraska Breastfeeding Coalition and also posted surveys to several of the breastfeeding and parenting groups’ Facebook members for feedback on the initial Third Space concept. I was able to collect a ton of pitch-worthy data from those surveys, as well as the encouragement of parents responding along the lines of “YES, PLEASE, WE NEED THIS!” Turns out this having-to-work-but-wanting-to-be-near-baby is a ‘we problem’ after all. Additionally, I found my people, those who will hopefully be among the Third Space first adopters and will be singing its praises to their friends. (If I do this right. Gulp. 😳)

Sidebar…

As an aside, it was during this phase of researching breastfeeding, parenting and working parents’ groups that I became hugely impassioned about a few topics including:

  • Parental leave in America 

  • The importance of breastfeeding, especially skin-to-skin breastfeeding  
    • Check it: A study at University of Virginia found that a 50-week extension in paid leave was associated with a 20 percent dip in infant deaths. You’ve got to think that the physical closeness of mother and child had something to do with this reduction in infant mortality. I know I’m not fighting for paid leave here, but the Third Space concept is paid-leave adjacent. This is serious, babies-staying-alive stuff, people.

We are your people

Are you among the impassioned group of parents looking for change? I can't offer you deluxe Norwegian parental leave, but soon I'll be able to offer the next best thing. Sign up for updates at thirdspacecoworking.com to join your people!