On Monday I had the exciting opportunity to visit the co-working space of Juice Tank, a co-working space, consulting group and startup funding firm in Somerset, New Jersey. I spoke with Zion Kim of Juice Tank, who gave me the tour and introduced me to a few of the people. Zion connected with me via LinkedIn; he initially was looking to see if I was interested in the co-working space. At present I’m not, but I asked if I could interview him for this blog. Here are some of the questions I asked:
Questions and Answers with Zion Kim
You describe yourself as a social entrepreneur, community manager and a digital media strategist. Can you elaborate on that?
As a digital media strategist I have worked with brands and small businesses to help figure out the best ways of reaching their target audience. When I first posted about being a community manager, I was referring to my position with Dell University (the marketing campaign setup by Dell to reach college students) where I curated relevant content and engaged with our audience. Since then, I have been helping to grow two communities side by side in the entrepreneurial community, through Meetup and our coworking community at JuiceTank spaces.
You run a meetup called NJ Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups – how is that going? Can you describe some of your more successful events?
Joining the meetup community has been an amazing experience, the group has grown to almost 500 people in the last 4 and a half months. The growth of the group shows there is definitely a need here in Central Jersey! The group was originally started to bring people together with the common goal of furthering entrepreneurship in New Jersey. I believe our three events have been so successful because of the quality of the speakers and panelists and their willingness to share their experiences with our community. The time available for networking gives people so many opportunities to explore potential synergies. We already have some very interesting stories including a company finding their new CEO, and a programmer meeting a business development partner. (See http://www.meetup.com/NJ-Entrepreneurship-and-Tech-Startup/)
You originally contacted me about shared space. Here we are, in that space. What can you offer a small business person to attract the person to this office? What are the perks?
We provide subsidized office space by covering many common expenses (internet, printer, coffee, water, snacks and more!) while providing month to month leases so no one has to lock themselves in for the long term. Our members also get access to the space 24×7 with use of our conference and meeting rooms. We are consistently trying to bring in different resources for the benefit of our members. For example, on Friday’s we have Mark, a patent agent, who offered to give free advice on patent searches. One of our partners, Brio, offered to give 3 hours of free financial/accounting services and advice to those working here.
Other then the perks we offer, the real value is in the human capital, the people that are here. Many startups or small businesses usually have their one or two core competencies, but their weaknesses can be complemented by the other coworkers in the space. Our community of serial entrepreneurs, consultants, angel investors, marketers, creatives, developers and much more who all believe that by working together we can accomplish more than we could alone.
I am a firm believer that if entrepreneurs are the one’s trying to solve today’s problems, we are the ones that are trying to solve theirs. This space is able to support them to accelerate their chances of success. I think once people come down to our space they just see why they need to be here.
“I like eating and taking pictures of all kinds of food.” – what are some of your favorite foods? Do you have food photos to share?
I’m probably really bias but my favorite food is Korean food but I really like to eat anything. I just discovered a new dim sum place in Edison yesterday which I am already very fond of. I will pretty much eat anything in front of me. As for the photos, I just take pictures of food and put them on instagram, nothing too impressive. Most of the pictures I have are pictures of sushi anyways. I’m usually that guy that just gets everyone else hungry!
The Juice Tank Space
I took a few pictures of the Juice Tank co-working space (click to see the photos):
I also walked around with my iPad mini as he talked, so I could capture a few more of his comments. I learned a bit about the investment side of Juice Tank – they invest in “start-ups and small to mid-sized companies where our expertise, relationships and capital can assist in creating value and accelerated growth.” If you want to do your own blog interview, you may want to visit this post Blog Interviews – How To.
Your Turn, Please
Where do you work? What appeals to you about the space Juice Tank provides (such as dedicated seat, awesome community, free coffee and water, wifi and conference room access)? Would the meetup he describes appeal to you? Have you attended meetups in your area? Finally, if you have done a blog interview experience, what advice would you give someone?