Tahoe Mountain Lab is now Cowork Tahoe

Why the departure from Tahoe Mountain Lab? Well, there are several reasons, but I will focus on those that are most important.

Let me tell you a story about “the Lab” (our main Midtown location will always be known as such): when we opened in South Lake Tahoe, coworking was completely new to the region. Coworking is a very young industry overall, but was still really only a fixture in the world of startups and in major cities in 2014. So, a very reasonable assumption for a new Lab opening up, was that we were a new medical facility.

Our first location on Ski Run Blvd had an open door policy during business hours, mainly because we didn’t have the means to build out an expensive access control system on a building we didn’t own and for a business we didn’t know would survive past its first year. One day, a well intentioned young man walked in the door, looking around briefly for the reception desk (there wasn’t one, still isn’t). He caught the eye of one of our members working at a desk a straight shot from the front door. Assuming that must be who he needed to talk to, he walked up to him, greeted him politely, then handed off a sample cup...of urine...for drug testing. Our poor member was so struck by this strange interaction he didn’t even have time to correct the young man before he walked right back out the door, our member holding the sample. Our current location now has a 24-hour locked door policy, partly because of situations like that. Yuck.

The current home of the Lab in Midtown has also had its share of mistaken identity. We’ve had doctors refer their very elderly patients to our doors, had tear-filled phone calls asking for blood testing to prove a mold case against a landlord, requests for lab equipment, research project proposals, and so on. Nothing quite so extreme as an actual sample drop-off thankfully, but I believe that’s more a factor of our locked doors than anything. Trust me, no one wants me to draw their blood for them, least of all me.

Needless to say, using “lab” in our name in a community unfamiliar with coworking has been an interesting adventure. It doesn’t help that I am a scientist by training, so people knowing me naturally assumed I was still conducting crazy physics experiments. Some additional clarity is not a bad idea.

But didn’t we love the name? Of course, we still do. However, in discussing the change with our members, something awesome happened. We found out that the name doesn’t matter, only the community does. Our members helped remind us about the single most important piece of our business - the community we have helped bring together to make their work life, and sometimes their personal life, better.

Branding is a funny thing. It feels so important. We can easily get caught up in the optics of t-shirts, brand recognition, and media coverage. But the reason our brand has power is because of what we have done with it. Our team, myself, David, Bernard, & Cristi, and all of our amazing members, make the brand. We have gotten amazing coverage in the media, from the SFChronicle to the New York Times, from our own Tribune to Powder Magazine. Was it our name that got us into those publications? Absolutely not. We did that. And here is our promise: we will continue to work hard so that Cowork Tahoe is just as newsworthy as Tahoe Mountain Lab. That means focusing on our community, on Tahoe, on you.

But of course, we’ll have awesome Cowork Tahoe gear soon.