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By Shane Barbanel

If you’re in an office like me, then you’re surrounded by architects, engineers, and designers — so very important because at this point in our story, I needed to imagine how my customer would react to a chair, a stool, or a couch.

What kind of light would be welcoming? Can I use existing fixtures? What materials bounce sound as opposed to swallowing it? What kind of coffee will be the best? How much does it cost? Do we use tap water? Or do we use filtered water, and if so which company?

As you’re mulling over which stool is the most comfortable, arguing grommets with your designer, looking at projectors for the classroom (it’s HD, by the way), and figuring out how to provide secure entry doors, the market changes. Someone comes along, and before you know it, opens up a similar offering nearby — not once, but twic — right down the block!

What do you do? Do you go home and cry? Perhaps you fall into a dark, all consuming depression that Sigmund Freud himself would need a winch and tractor to pull you out of.

Welcome to my life, before we even started construction — and it did absolutely destroy me (this happens a lot). I went dark for a bit, and then came the light. And what I mean by light is inspiration. I realized that these competitors were proving my thesis; that they were showing, testing, and running my idea in real time, and it worked! It’s nice to know you are right, even if it’s someone else proving your point. What happened when I shifted my perception is that I realized they’d help me better define my USP (unique selling proposition). I am sharpening my sword, focusing my game, and coming like a freight train, as serious as a heart attack. Yes, Brooklyn and I were made for each other.

At the end of February we had an awesome launch party, but it was tough. Why? It rained. It’s that simple — it rained! You see, New Yorkers are the laziest busy people you’ve ever met, and while we will go anywhere, and do anything…we won’t do a thing if it rains. And not only did it rain, but it was also the same night as a zillion Black History Month events. Awesome.

So we had friends and family, but the party took place in a social padded room. These things happen. We pick up and move forward, finding opportunities as other players use their considerable financial might to carpet bomb Brooklyn. Depressing, but not for long.

I realized that where these guys were oil tankers, we were corvettes. Where they were the Klitchko Brothers, we were Mohammed Ali — their power and influence focused our game.

We are education. We are a cooperative of doers, movers, workers, and generators. We are the pirates, the ninjas — we are co-working gangsters, my friends. To co-work with us means you are building your dream, because that’s what we are doing. We expect you to come here with your “A” game — your startup idea. Bring it, because we are the factory where bright ideas turn into shining reality.

We are not music playing, foosball tables, and kegs. We are CoLab-Factory University, we are CoLab-Factory Events, we are CoLab-Factory Art, Music, and yes, we are most certainly CoLab-Factory Hustle, because what could be more Brooklyn than a great deal? An underdog story

That’s us. We are not laying down on the job or watching the paint dry. We are on fire to bring the best experience possible, but we wouldn’t be able to do any of it without our business plan to guide us, and the perseverance, stick with it, and “don’t give up, kid.”

We are in your corner, or you could just come here and be in ours.

Missed the beginning of my story? Read below.

CoLab-Thinks: To Build it in Brooklyn Takes Perseverance

CoLab-Thinks: You Need a Business Plan