From farmland to The Farm

  (A map from 1766 showing the many farms dotting lower Manhattan)

(A map from 1766 showing the many farms dotting lower Manhattan)

Not so long ago, much of New York was farmland. In 1799, Francis R. Stabile purchased Bayard’s East Farm, a sizable plot of earth at Grand and Mulberry, for a bank mortgage of $30,000. These days, the only kind of New York farm you can get for $30,000 is an artisanal dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant. Well, maybe it’s not that expensive, but I once ordered a small lentil soup that cost $26! Sorry, I digress.

The fact that this location was once a farm is a big part of the reason why we created the Farm where we did—just blocks from Bayard’s farm. It seemed like fate to bring parts of an actual farm into a place that once was created for that purpose. It also looks pretty amazing, makes the whole office design more organic, and puts stucco and cubicles to shame—but those are just a bonuses.

For someone who once worked in a windowless concrete office next to the men’s room, I can assuredly say The Farm is a far more relaxing environment. You’ll find yourself more productive, less stressed, and you can also tell people you’re a farmer. It’s the ultimate way to out-Brooklyn someone. Try it out! “Oh, you pickle your own vegetables? That’s fun. I’m an actual farmer.” It’s liable to make their beard fall clean off.

It’s hard to believe so much of this massive city was so different. Instead of skyscrapers, there were modest farms homes with yards. Instead of halal carts on the corner, there was livestock roaming the streets. Instead of the express train, there were horse-drawn carriages that ran very, very local. Still don’t believe it? Check out this lithograph from 1862:

  (The junction of Broadway and Eighth avenues in 1861. Lithograph by George Hayward for D.T. Valentine's Manual, 1862. The Museum of the City of New York)

(The junction of Broadway and Eighth avenues in 1861. Lithograph by George Hayward for D.T. Valentine's Manual, 1862. The Museum of the City of New York)

“I don’t trust lithographs,” you say. “There have always been skyscrapers in Manhattan. And several Forever 21s!” I appreciate your gusto, but just a stone's throw from The Farm is Orchard street. They named it “Orchard” because it’s where James Delancey, an early politician in New York, had his massive farm and apple orchard in the 1700s. But, unfortunately for James, he was a British loyalist and occupier. So after we won the war (go us!), James had to pack up and return to the Queen. His orchard was reclaimed by the government and divvied up to more loyal Americans. But as a consolation prize, they gave James the street name, so it wasn’t all bad for him.

These days if you want to crunch into a Granny Smith on Orchard street, you’ll have to find a Duane Reade. Wouldn’t it be cool if an Apple store opened on Orchard? That’s kind of what we’re doing with the Farm—paying homage to the old tenants. So, hurry up and sign a lease on Orchard, Apple Computer Company!

There were once so many orchards here with so many apples, early farmers started calling New York “The Big Apple” in the late 1700s. Actually, that’s a complete lie. It was coined by a sports writer in the twenties. But my version works way better for the narrative of this post, so let’s stick with that.  

 (The Eden Farm, stretching from Broadway to the Hudson River)

(The Eden Farm, stretching from Broadway to the Hudson River)

One final, TRUE, historical nugget before we sign off—The Eden Farm, shown above, was another farm owned by a British loyalist, Medcef Eden. After the war, he likewise had to pack up his crumpets and take the trolly home. After that, John Jacob Astor owned the land which is today Times Square. Mind blown? Me too. Times Square is such an overwhelming place these days—part of me wishes it was still a farm.

It’s easy to forget what another world New York was just a couple hundred years ago. But here at The Farm, surrounded by reclaimed farms, working above former farmland alongside your fellow farmers, we won’t forget. Because the past is important… as is the future. Just think how different New York will look in another hundred and fifty years. Flying Lyfts? Invisible Subways?? Dollar-slice Space Pizza??? A farmer can dream.

5 Basic Steps to Developing your Brand's Identity

Your brand is the face of your business. It is the connection point between you and your potential clients. It is the medium by which you will build a rapport and establish trust with your customers. Your brand is your business’s identity.

To have an identity that stands out from the competition, you need to define and develop it into something cohesive and powerful. Here are five basic steps to developing your brand identity.

Create a Mission and Value Statement

Before you can develop your brand identity, you need to know what your brand stands for. What is your mission? What problem does your business solve for customers? Who does your brand target? Messaging is at the core of any strong brand. You need to be able to define who you are, what you do, and why someone should choose your business over the competition before you can start to worry about how the brand looks.

To create a mission statement and outline your values, you should be concise and expressive. Your mission statement is not focused on making sales, but what happens as a result of the sales for the customers in question. It should capture what your company values. For example, Patagonia’s mission statement is "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." This tells us that they’re creating sustainable products that will help solve environmental challenges and that they value sustainability.

Develop the Creative Aspects

Logos, color palettes, fonts, taglines: these are all creative aspects of your brand. They should be relevant to your messaging and target audience, impactful, and add cohesion to your brand strategy. As the creative aspects of your brand (packaging, website, etc.) often double as your first impression with potential customers, you should consider outsourcing to a reputable designer to get the job done right. Don’t hesitate to conduct focus groups before making a final decision on your design.

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Shout it from the Rooftops

To develop your brand identity, you need to build recognition. Cover all the applicable platforms on social media. Use consistent branding across all of them when deciding upon profile images and messaging. Network at events and be innovative in how you showcase your brand. If table covers are needed for an expo, have them customized to be integrated with your brand. If you’re doing a presentation on behalf of your business, tie it into your overall messaging. Be innovative and relentless in building your brand recognition.

Analyze and Adapt

Your brand identity will constantly be evolving. Don’t be afraid to make changes if you discover that your initial idea about who your brand would attract missed the mark. Don’t hesitate to make changes to your creative aspects if you discover an artistic element that makes your packaging sing. Make an executive decision to change your messaging if you find words that resonate with your market. In time, you will refine your brand identity.

Conduct Brand Audits

Regularly conduct brand audits. Use a checklist that captures your brand standards, and scan your advertising, product or service offering, messaging, social media strategy, website, and packaging to ensure everything adheres to your branding goals. If you find something out of congruence, implement a strategy to get it back in line.

It takes time and dedication to develop a brand. However, the expense is worth the return you will receive on your investment.


About the Author

Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

Revealed: Who’s Your Business Soulmate?

In this guest post, Ahmet Tosun, CEO of social media polling platform Poltio, takes a look at the different breeds of leader and which one could be the perfect match for your business.

The word “entrepreneur” conjures up all sorts of images. For some, corporate heavyweights such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Sara Blakely come to mind. For others, they see an entrepreneur as someone with a talent for seeing and developing opportunities into profit-making businesses.

In truth, no two entrepreneurs are the same. But, after testing 30,000 entrepreneurs, the Founder Institute found that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs fit into one of six profiles.

We’ve come up with a selection of questions to see which skills you have as a founder, and which category of entrepreneur could be your perfect match.

How to Eliminate Distractions and Get in the Zone

So many people have a tough time reaching their productivity goals with all of the unlimited distractions bombarding us on a daily basis.

When distractions are such a huge part of your life, it’s going to seem practically impossible to get in and stay in the zone.

But that’s only because you don’t have the right techniques in place to reach the zone or your highest level of peak performance on a regular, consistent basis.

It’s tough because there’s always so much going on throughout the day.

When you’re in the office, the phone never seems to stop ringing, your email never seems to stop coming, and your social media accounts always seem to chime to let you know that there is another post waiting for your viewing pleasure.

If you need to be productive, you have to learn how to get rid of all of these distractions so that you can enter the zone and become as productive as you can be.

Time Blocking: A Huge Advantage to Getting in the Zone

The art of time blocking is incredibly effective for getting in the zone.

For starters, the simple fact that you’ve actually scheduled a time to completely focus on an important task immediately sets the right tone and helps you begin to focus on your major priority at hand.

So, scheduling a block of time to get an important project done is the ultimate first step.

By doing so, you are signaling to your brain that it’s time to turn off social media, shut down your email account, and ignore phone calls, text messages, and any other distraction that might come your way.

Why is this so effective?

Well, we have a tendency to achieve our goals and get more things done once we’ve made it an action item on our calendar or to-do list.

Not only that, but you are creating a time where you are going to be completely free of distractions, which will lead you to feel free of guilt, and give you an opportunity to block out everything else from your environment so that you can really focus and get into the zone.

The Right Way to Accomplish Time Blocking

As mentioned at the beginning of the previous section, there is an art to time blocking, and if done correctly you’ll achieve massive productivity.

You have to take your whole to-do list and add it to your favorite time tracking software like Clockspot or put it in your digital calendar or physical date book.

When you do this, you have actually created a specific date and time in which you will work on this to-do list item or project.

Now, find a calm, quiet place to sit and work on your projects and checklist items.

You’ll feel more accomplished and get a whole lot more done after you begin crossing these important items off of your list.

Using Nootropics to Gain Greater Focus

Some people seem to have a difficult time focusing no matter how hard they try.

Maybe, just maybe, you need a little help to achieve real world, lasting concentration.

That’s why we recommend using brain boosting Nootropics to help you gain greater focus, clarity, mental acuity, and stamina.

The best of the best Nootropics that we found is called Optimind.

This powerful stack contains brain boosting ingredients like taurine, tyrosine, caffeine, GABA, Bacopa Monnieri and other wonderful ingredients.

When combined, these ingredients help keep you calm, stress-free, concentrating on the task at hand, energized, and clear minded.

Using these wonderful Nootropics supplements will make it so much easier to enter the zone if gaining focus and clarity is an issue for you.

Setting Goals

You want to have somewhere to go. If you don’t have any goals, it will slow down your day. But if you’re always working toward the goals you’ve set for yourself, you’re more likely to achieve and even overcome them. You’ve got to set realistic goals, though.

If you set unrealistic goals, you’ll either underperform or become overwhelmed. Set goals within your ability to succeed, and find “the zone”.

Proper Nutrition And Coworker Interaction

You’ve got to eat right and exercise regularly if you want the greatest productivity. Having a coworker “buddy” to help you along in this process could be the best way to do that. When you’ve got someone to “keep you honest”, you’re more likely to hit your goals.

Coworkers can help you hit your goals better than you can help yourself, in many cases. Additionally, you can get into friendly competition. There’s an old saying about how many hands make light work, and a cord with three strands is hard to break.

If you can get a group of coworkers together aiming at a goal, and pushing to achieve it, your organization will see profit. Your little group will likely see profit as well, and bonuses beyond individual attainment may be achieved. Plus, you’ll get in the zone more quickly as you’ll have the added pressure of social interaction to drive you.

Conclusion

As you can see, it might not seem easy at first, but it is possible to get into the zone if you use the methods mentioned today.

Guest Post by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Towering who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

 

Becoming A Slashie: A Smart Career Choice Or A Path To Burnout?

What does this string of words mean to you?

Accountant / Entrepreneur / Surfer / Activist / Father / Philanthropist / Blogger.

You got it. This person is a shameless slashie.

Or slasher.

Or multipotentialite. (Sounds like a rare rock formation found deep in a cave.)

Or, for the more formal among us, a portfolio careerist.

RISE OF THE SLASHIE.

Some of my first childhood memories are of relatives asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m sure if I asked for a virtual show of hands, many of us would have this experience in common.

It seemed that society was set up such that we had to pick a field and stick with it.

Once chosen, we would study it at university, get a job in that field and do that work until we retired. From a young age, we were programmed to believe that if we didn’t follow that path, the fabric of society would begin to unravel.

We had to do our part.

True?

EVIDENTLY NOT FOR EVERYONE.

While it’s a fact that many people have found fulfillment and success at the hands of an intensely focused career, the straight and narrow isn’t right for everyone.

And for those who fall into the latter camp, their day has officially come.

Journalist / Author / Speaker Marci Alboher, who penned One Person/Multiple Careers (heed the slashes) defines slashies (or slashers) as individuals who've created a "portfolio career" involving multiple identities.

Meaning, their income is a combination of part-time work, temporary work, freelance assignments or a personal business—or they work a full-time job, while pursuing other money-making interests or hobbies.

The key phrase here is multiple identities—which takes my mind right to multiple personalities. And indeed, if you’re not suited for this lifestyle, it might make you feel a tad schizophrenic.

So, who is the slasher lifestyle right for? Any why do people go down this path?

Ironically, job security comes up as a popular reason.

Here’s what Irene McConnell, Managing Director of personal branding consultancy Arielle Careers has to say about it:

“Anyone who has found themselves fired, retrenched or simply stuck in the wrong job understands the importance of moving multiple careers forward and not putting all career eggs in one basket. By juggling multiple careers, one can have options....”

INSURANCE AGAINST UNPREDICTABLE SETBACKS.

The slashie emerged like a phoenix from the last major global economic downturn of 2008/9.

McConnell’s message is that, if you’re concerned with the possibility of another downturn, being a slashie is a smart option. Don’t give up your security to pursue your dreams. Keep your main course in the center of your plate…just surround it with tasty side dishes.

Very sensible advice for those not fully prepared to embrace their inner slashie-ness.

But something isn’t sitting quite right with me.

Am I alone in envisioning a scenario where balancing a full-time career with an entrepreneurial pursuit for the rest of your working life could become, em, how do I put this…

A RECIPE FOR A HEART ATTACK?

Let’s look at it from another perspective. If you became rich tomorrow, and money was no object, what would you do with your life?

Did you give one answer, or several?

If you gave one answer, and you really mean it from the bottom of your soul (remember money is no object), your slashie potential is low. It’s okay, though, we need specialists in the world.

Don’t let the multipotentialites make you feel like there’s something wrong with you for not joining their club.

Because they can’t even pick a single term to describe themselves. Just saying…

If you’re decisive and committed, be proud. It’s who you are.

But if, from the bottom of your soul when money is removed from your reality, you tend toward multiple identities – also be proud. It’s who you are.

Emilie Wapnick, author of How to Be Everything, spells out what she calls the three superpowers of a multipotentialite (her term):

1. IDEA SYNTHESIS

Innovation has been proven to happen at the intersection of at least two fields, which is the realm of the multipotentialite.

2. RAPID LEARNING

Multipotentialites dive deep into many disparate topics. They’re most comfortable being a beginner and are less afraid than most people of learning new things.

3. ADAPTABILITY

Multipotentialites can morph into whatever they need to be in any situation because they’re so versatile.

Fast Company recently tweeted that adaptability may matter more than any individual accomplishment on your resume.

ANY OF THOSE SUPERPOWERS STRIKE A CHORD IN YOU?

If so, and you’re thinking of adding a slash or two to your career portfolio, here is one major factor to consider:

Are you a strong multitasker, hyper organized and an efficient user of time?

If you’re lacking on this practical level, even the sexiest superpowers won’t save you. So, be honest with yourself.

Could it be that you’re avoiding a deeper issue, such as being burned out with your current career, but you can’t muster the motivation to make a more profound change?

Again, be honest.

But if you’re truly destined to become a slashie, need to not limit yourself to one path.

PROVIDED YOU DO THESE THREE THINGS:

1. SAVE YOUR MONEY.

Have enough set aside to deal with any impending setbacks or unexpected disasters.

2. HAVE ONE CONSISTENT AND DOMINANT ROLE IN YOUR PORTFOLIO.

If you’re too flighty, recruiters will sniff you out immediately. As will prospective clients for whatever your side hustles may be. Plus, it’s more stable for your income to have a major focus.

3. REMEMBER YOUR BRAND.

Never forget that you’re a brand. Every brand has to stand for something. Every element of your career portfolio needs to map back to your brand purpose. Don’t get sloppy with your reputation.

ONE LAST THOUGHT.

Da Vinci was a Painter / Scientist / Engineer/ Mathematician.

Michelangelo was a Sculptor / Painter / Architect / Poet.

Multidimensionality was accepted (even expected), cultivated and revered in Renaissance society. Perhaps we haven’t done ourselves any favors by buying into our culture of the boxed identity.

Which brings me to the most compelling point that Emilie Wapnick made:

Embrace your inner wiring – whatever that may be.

By Steven McConnell, director of marketing at Australian personal branding services company Arielle Careers.

Money Matters and Miami Beach: Here's the Lowdown On This Year's GWA Coworking Conference

The GWA Coworking Conference is coming to Miami Beach on 11 - 13 September this year. It's a packed agenda for the flexible office community of users and providers to connect, collaborate, or many just relax by the poolside.

At this year's event, you will meet the people investing in the flexible office industry and the organizations predicted to drive the next generation of spaces. We spoke to Jamie Russo, executive director at GWA, to find out more about the event:

What can attendees expect from this year's GWA?

In my experience, the biggest benefits of attending a conference are the connections you make. You must put yourself out there to be exposed to new ideas and opportunities. Reading blogs and participating in social media is one thing. But you're much less likely to find the next strategic focus for your business, an investor or a solution to your biggest business challenges online.

You find them through connections with people. Community is a core value for most of us in the industry. Communities develop and strengthen with in-person interactions at conferences.

And what benefits does the GWA bring to its attendees?

I would say the highlights are: exclusive access to our full Flexible Office Industry report, access to business growth resources, member forums, a listing on our workspace search site and a discount to our annual conference.

This year's event is focusing on investors in your self-proclaimed "meet the money" topic - why did you choose this theme?  

The topic is broader than investors - it will dig into a variety of ways to capitalize a shared workspace. The sources of capital are growing as the industry quickly evolves. Lenders are "getting" our industry better than ever before, private equity is looking for good operators to acquire, asset owners are looking for operating partners and companies like Staples and Verizon are looking for operating partners. We want to make sure our attendees are in the loop on how these relationships work.

Aside from the amazing beaches, why do you host the event at Miami Beach? 

I consider the amazing beaches to be a positive challenge - how do we keep people in sessions while competing with a premium spot right on the boardwalk? Miami is coming into its own as an entrepreneurial hub and along with that, is home to dozens of flexible workspaces.

What are you most looking forward to on this year's agenda? 

Besides the Bootcamp class at the onsite Spartan gym? I think our main-stage sessions are all very timely and help operators think about positioning for success in our quickly evolving industry. This year, we're hosting highly-facilitated break-out sessions after each main-stage session to give people the opportunity to really dig into the aspect of the topic that's meaningful to them. This is also an opportunity for attendees to connect with each other and those conversations that lead to those serendipitous opportunities.

What makes this event different from other such events for the flexible working sector? 

As an association, we sit at the intersection of the broader landscape of flexible office.  Our annual conference brings together voices from across the flexible office landscape, including coworking, serviced office, corporate workplace leaders, architects, building owners and service providers.

What's your most memorable experience from previous GWA events?

This is a tough one. We put a lot of effort into developing a meaningful agenda. But a lot of the magic comes from the chance to connect and build relationships.

This industry is probably unique in that people in it have a real passion for the work they do. The fact that the industry is grounded in collaboration among members of spaces translates to owners of spaces. It's a willing-to-share group. So, to some extent, know what you want to get out of the conference to evolve your business, ask for it, and you'll get it.

I would also say the conference is probably the most fun conference I've ever been to. When people love their work and have strong relationships with their peers, that tends to translate into people bringing some personality to the table. It's my favorite event of the year, hands down.

What advice would you give to someone attending GWA for the first time?

Send me an email and I'll make sure you meet at least five people at the conference that will impact your business and your life.