One of the things I regularly do is listen to this amazing podcast by a networking group I belong to and a few weeks ago, the founder gave a great speech about the butterfly effect and how you can see it work in networking. This got me thinking about the coworking movement and I wondered how the butterfly effect impacts how we work and the success of our businesses and projects. Interestingly, it is similar.
First let's start with defining the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect in simple terms states that the wings of a butterfly flapping in Brazil can change the weather patterns in other parts of the world. This is a very simple version of the definition so let's break it down a little bit more. Let's look at the butterfly flapping its wings. The butterfly is in the air in a state. The state of air is sensitive to the small changes that happen inside its state. The butterfly flapping its wings is a small change and there for changes the state of the air resulting in larger changes in the larger state of the field the butterfly and the air are in. At first it might seem like the butterfly flapping its wings makes no noticeable impact but over time the impacts show noticeable difference. This is called Chaos Theory.
So let's look at this with coworking. In a coworking space there are desks and people, let's say Sally decides to use a coworking space on Monday and she meets Matt. As Sally and Matt start talking they realize that they have a lot in common. Sally shares that she has been having problems with code for a new application she is building. Matt loves working with code and offers to take a look. Matt notices a simple mistake Sally makes and points it out. Sally is thankful and they go on their way. Six months later Sally has successfully launched her app and she has just reached over one million in sales. Venture capital investors are looking to partner with her to grow her business. One year later, Sally's company decides to hold a technology conference that is geared toward the users of her app. She is looking for people to speak at her conference and thinks of Matt. Matt agrees to speak at her conference. After speaking at the conference Matt is approached by a big name technology company and offered a leadership role. This is one of the biggest opportunities he has ever received in his career.
What would have happened if Sally didn't go to the coworking space on Monday? Sally would have continued to struggle with her code. Two years later she would have eventually figured it out, but the success of her app wasn't as grand as other companies had already took over the market place. Matt continued to work with his current business.
Now this is an extreme example, but you never know who you are going to meet or who is going to inspire you to step into your next big thing. The opportunities to do great things exist in greater supply when you are around other people.
If you'd like to learn more about the butterfly effect I recommend watching this video: