A Coliving Operator’s Guide to OTA Usage

I generally don’t depend on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) to fill my coliving space. In fact, my goal is to completely remove them from my sales process. I have previously written about the inefficiencies they bring to your operation. Now, let’s get specific and talk about my experience using Airbnb for Startup Embassy.

When I started operating, let’s be honest, I was doing it in a grey zone, like every other hacker house in Silicon Valley. Airbnb was pretty new, and I was afraid to publicly list my house. The space was (and still is) unregulated, and it wasn’t clear…


Your leads are not one click away from booking your space. You must filter them first and then chase them!

It took me some time running Startup Embassy to understand that what I had thought was a booking process was, in fact, a sale process. The first challenge you will face when opening your coliving, will, of course, be filling it up with the right people.

You will immediately think about which channels to promote your business on, and you might make the mistake of thinking that listing your space on Airbnb, Booking.com, or other OTAs is a great idea.

An Ideal Coliving Situation

The problem with these sites is that there’s no way to do specific niche targeting. Even worse, they assume that…


You’re Selling Community — Not Isolation!

Coliving is a new industry taking shape, and as such, an ecosystem is still in early development. There are operators, each with their own model and value proposition (and most of them, in my opinion, very shallow in their value proposition).

There are designers, consultants, lawyers — you name it; all specialized, they say, in coliving.

This is fine and part of any new ecosystem’s natural development. The fact that this is happening is good news for the industry; it means that, at last, it’s been taken seriously because people are now grasping its potential for society and the economy.


Are these your colivers?

7 Clear Signs That Your Coliving is Actually a Cult

My friend Damiano Ramazzotti and I frequently have long discussions about how, if you are not careful, your coliving might turn into a cult — even when you have the best of intentions.

I’ve seen some communities like the Startup Castle I advised go bonkers. I have also experienced as a coliver not fitting into the community and feeling like I was in a cult.

The difference between what makes a coliving healthy, or a Goddamned cult, forced me to spend countless hours researching where the fine line is and if there’s a defined framework that lets us measure how…


Can You Remember Any of These Happening to You?

If you are genuinely wondering, here’s mama Carlos to tell you some stories. I’ve already written about the infamous Startup Castle in Silicon Valley, how my first House Manager almost screwed my business, and even about that time I had rats in my coliving.

These stories are part of a “Horror Stories in Coliving” series, and I like to share them so others can avoid these situations. Some of them, I’ve found out, are completely unavoidable.

Today’s article is a series of short stories that’ll redefine what you thought was scary.

The Corpse of Hacker Fortress

This started circa 2012 in Silicon Valley. A guy…


One Embarrassing Secret I Will Share With You

We all know how it goes in interviews with successful entrepreneurs. The questions focus on their success and how they achieved it. But most often, they spend little to no time remembering those “struggling” periods. When they do, it goes like, “… and then we suffered for some time, but then X happened, and things started to improve.”

But hey, wait, stop there. Tell me more about that! Stop at your struggles, and tell me all about it! Because I’m getting started, and I really want to understand what I should be prepared for!

Sometimes, it’s just that they forgot…


Who is Your First Line of Defense?

In this second part of coliving communities and cycles, we’ll learn how to deal with events that will either disrupt your space’s energy, your community DNA, or both. Read the first part here if you haven’t already.

The best weapon against these disruptions is the House Manager (HM). Call them the Community Manager, or whatever title you give them, but it’s the person from your team that is in direct and constant contact with your community. They must live on the premises and should not be one of your colivers whom you offered rent-reduction in exchange for HM services. …


Thx John! Happy to help with your Code of Conduct, of course! Messaged you in Linkedin


Coliving Foundations — Recognizing Destructive Cycles

Your community is alive, and it will be in constant change. Learn what events trigger a change in the energy of your community and what consequences you might face.​

Let’s start at the foundation — there’s consensus that community is at the heart of colivings; therefore, there’s no coliving if there’s no community. However, most managers’ major obstacle is the complexity involved with community design and the grunt work to keep it healthy, not for the faint of heart.

The subject is so broad that many books have been written about it, people are pursuing their PhDs on the matter…


Maximize Your Community With a Coliver/Asset Strategy

I hope that at this stage, there is a consensus that a healthy community is the cornerstone of your coliving. Either because you genuinely believe it or because it has already become common knowledge, and you’d look stupid by denying it.

If you are the second type, your lack of understanding might come from spending most of your career with traditional Real Estate, where most consider a building in terms of revenue per square foot. Thus, thinking about a community as a lucrative property “asset” seems like a worthless, abstract idea.

Hopefully, you are open-minded and willing to educate yourself…

Carlos De La Lama-Noriega

Carlos is the CEO and founder of Startup Embassy, a coliving space in Silicon Valley with a global community of more than 2000 entrepreneurs in 90 countries

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