I have been writing about architecture, interiors, urbanism and other corners of this field for over a decade. It is therefore no surprise to me how much an urban or architectural design, or even an interior design, can influence how people live and interact socially. What I did not expect, however, was just how much of an impact this experience has had daily: trading my home-office in São Paulo for Seed’s shared office in Belo Horizonte.
It’s all so new and unbelievably well thought-out that I ended up promising I would do this post and the video you see below, on just how amazing the whole setup is, that entrepreneurs here benefit from. It’s hard to make a video because there are always people in the booths, sometimes in meetings… on the day I filmed almost everyone was at Demoday (an event in which all first round startups were presented to investors), as was lots of the office furniture (that was used to give the event a similar atmosphere). On that day, they took advantage of the peace and quiet to wash and reorganize workspaces. Therefore I also added some photos to this post – this way the whole world can see the atmosphere of the space in its entirety.
Check it out: an office with a long front and few spatial divisions, all in glass so that people can see each other, and those passing by on the street can be inspired. Tables for up to six, chairs that not only look good but also are good, sofas, comfortable armchairs, colorful beanbags, inspiring stickers and paintings… not to mention spaces for unwinding that include the kitchen, an open air terrace, pool table, pinball machine, play-ball pool and videogames. What was that? Google? No, heh… it’s really Seed!
After a few days of hanging around here, I found out that it was thought up in a group and born out of the desire to make entrepreneurs in the accelerator programme work, have fun, share knowledge, and much more.
I’ll stop describing it now and leave you with some pictures that I salvaged from an issue of Planeta magazine. One thing is still worth mentioning though: despite the “micro-atmosphere”, Seed could not be in a better location – or was it perhaps Seed itself that created this reality around it? The Minas Gerais ecosystem brings together entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes in partnership with Sebrae, investment banks, and governments, in a manner I had never seen before.
Belo Horizonte is a large small city (of course, from the viewpoint of someone from São Paulo, the city is almost “paulistana”). There’s no shortage of cultural, gourmet, or leisure activities… and they are always so impressively well-organized! People can find one another, they can collaborate among them (yes, the verb ‘to share’ is much more frequently used here than the verb ‘to compete’) and they seem to have a different understanding of what it means to come together to fight for a different – a better – city, State, and country
Of course I know it’s too early to draw conclusions, but anyway, what I’ve witnessed with my own eyes much be shown: “public entrepreneurs” that deburocratize government sectors and help things move along faster and for more people; the “traveling City Council” that takes politics to the public square and calls upon neighborhoods to participate; banks, universities and accelerators that come together for a cool DemoDay, a fine opportunity for entrepreneurs!
That’s why this analysis published last week in Forbes makes so much sense. I get the sense we’ve truly arrived at a point where growing and prospering is something that is done collectively. This naturally leaves us in really high spirits!