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Podcast episode 5: Life's a beach. Co-working to co-living.

iMG. Co-Founders David Coghlan and Richard Johnson are joined by self-declared flexible working enthusiast and business owner Joanne Smalley live from Mallorca.

Transcription Episode 5: Life's a beach: Co-working to co-living

We use AI to record and transcribe our podcasts, so while we give it a whizz through to make sure there's nothing shockingly wrong, the below is our verbatim conversation so it might get a little odd to read in places...


David Coghlan, Richard Johnson, Joanne Smalley

David Coghlan 00:03

Hi, everybody, welcome to the Inspired Marketing Group podcast. My name is David Coghlan. I'm the co founder and I'm joined by Richard.

Richard Johnson 00:13


David Coghlan 00:15

Richard is the other co-founder here. And we are very excited today to be joined by good friend and excellent marketer, Joanne Smalley.

Joanne Smalley 00:25


David Coghlan 00:27

And so, yeah, so you probably heard on the first podcast you have Richard tell you a story about Wembley, I still have a dream to be a professional DJ one day. But you're a professional athlete or international athlete Joanne

Joanne Smalley 00:44

International? Well, yeah, professional stroke International. I did make my debut for England, playing squash at the grand old age of over 35. Or as I like to call it old lady squash. So yeah, it was always my dream to don the England shirt and play for England. And I managed to achieve that about four or five years ago, after a number of years of hard training. But yeah, it was it was a great experience.

David Coghlan 01:13

Amazing. Awesome. I was I was just looking through some of the results. And I noticed that you gave the Welsh girls a battering, which is obviously very sad for me but...

Joanne Smalley 01:23

Yeah. they weren't the strongest the Welsh unfortunately. To be fair Sotland gave us our hardest battle. But yeah,

Richard Johnson 01:30

Can I ask a question? Have you two actually played each other?

Joanne Smalley 01:34

I think we've only ever played once. And I think it was at Weymouth Squash festival. And we were both massively hung over and I possibly had a chest infection at the same time.

Richard Johnson 01:45

Who won?

Joanne Smalley 01:47

Oh, Dave, obviously, but

David Coghlan 01:52

Not so obviously. I wondered if you were gonna mention Weymouth, I was gonna say, Let's not talk about Weymouth! Uni days.

Joanne Smalley 02:01

I think we've only ever played seriously was at Weymouth.

David Coghlan 02:04

Yeah, I think we've played at Nottingham a few times I think haven't we. I couldn't remember. I'm pretty sure you've beat me in my career. I have very variable. Very, very variable form, so I was hoping you wouldn't bring that up as well Richard.

David Coghlan 02:23

Super. So. Yeah. So Joanne so tell us about you, about your career, where you started, what you've done, and how you've ended up where you are now.

Joanne Smalley 02:32

Yeah, so I'm currently running my own business, my own marketing business called Cardain Communications. I have been working remotely in Majorca for the last three years, which is a story in itself. I've been working in marketing for a very long time, probably nearly 20 years, 15 of which have been spent pretty much in the energy and technology space. So I started my career working with Richard at Eon a long, long time ago. Moved into head up comms at Elexon doing balancing and settlements. So that was a very broad brush, very technical role, went from there to look after new nuclear and the Olympics at EDF energy, which was quite a diverse spectrum of topics to be covering.

David Coghlan 03:23

Nuclear and the Olympics?

Joanne Smalley 03:25


David Coghlan 03:26

How does that work?

Joanne Smalley 03:27

Well, it didn't. So, at the time, I was at EDF, I was the deputy head of media relations. They had a shortage in their team, they didn't have a customer comms lead, basically. So I was doing that position and the deputy role as well. And at the time, we were lobbying for Hinkley Point C, which is now under construction and all the stuff around contracts for difference and all the regulatory stuff that approached was going on with that, at the same time as EDF was sponsoring the London Olympics in 2012. So one day, I would be in a meeting with senior government officials talking about very technical detail around how new nuclear might be funded. And the next day I would be on the London Eye with James Cracknell taking photography for 2012. So it was one of the more extreme experiences of my life but certainly gave me a very broad experience in comms.

Richard Johnson 04:27

Which one did you prefer? Nuclear or James Cracknell?

Joanne Smalley 04:30

I have to say nothing could beat James Cracknell in a pod on the London eye at 7 o'clock in the morning.

Richard Johnson 04:38

He can't get away.


Exactly. Yeah, there was some amazing experiences there. I supported a press visit for David Cameron to the EDF headquarters in Paris, which was just an amazing day sorting out all that work, you know, getting the first Eurostar out of London, heading to the EDF headquarters on the Champs-Elysees which are incredible. And then getting David Cameron and his team come in, supporting the whole project. And then drinking lots of wine with my then boss on the Eurostar when it was all over. It was incredible, an amazing buzz.

Joanne Smalley 05:23

I went from EDF to British Gas business where Richard and I crossed paths again, he can't get away from me! And headed up BG business PR which was a really interesting role, it was my first interim and sort of showed me that actually going in and doing a short term project, although it turned out to be 18 months in the end, trying to you know, kind of solve problems and fix issues. It can be pretty exciting. Did that for 18 months, I took on a bit of maternity cover there while I was there looking after digital PR and visual comms as well, which was really interesting. And I learned a lot about all that kind of stuff. Contract came to an end and it was during a really, really horrendous period in media and interest in energy retailers. We had The Sun bus driving into our car park and I was running across the carpark trying to get them to shut the gates to stop The Sun journalists taking pictures of the bus in front of the building. And we had journalists doorstepping our head of customer service at his home and things like that. It was really intense and it didn't stop for about six months. So we were all knackered. You know, it was it was really extreme. So I took a break from energy and went into IT and technology and did a marketing lead role there. Got bored with that after 12 months because, hey, it wasn't that exciting, and got headhunted in to head up the comms team at our PR practice, a niche PR practice in London. And there I got to work with global clients. And that was really exciting. So I was traveling across Europe all the time, working with clients with you know, doing everything from EVs to solar to at the time, oil and gas to everything, it was a really diverse role. And I had a team of seven PR professionals who it was great mentoring and I really enjoyed the experience. But it did get to the point that I realized that people were paying for my expertise in terms of "I want Joanne in the room". And then I went well, why aren't they paying me for my expertise, you know?

Joanne Smalley 07:32

So it was after commuting and traveling and doing all that for two years, I went, I could do this for myself. And part of that drive was a drive to say actually, I don't want to be commuting into central London every day. It was a two hour trip in it was a two hour trip out. I wasn't able to play squash, I wasn't able to do all the things I love doing in my life. And we wanted, me and my partner wanted to travel, there was much more we wanted to experience. So we decided, I set up my own business. And within a year, we realized that it would give us the flexibility to move outside the UK. And in December 2017, we left the UK and went to the French Alps, and spent five months at the top of the mountain while my other half ran a hotel. And I worked from there. And it was kind of our test and learn experience. It was like if Joanne can do her job with really bad Wi Fi at the top of the mountain, then we can we can continue to do this. And as it happened, I had my biggest ever billing month, in the middle of a snowstorm at the top of the mountain. So we went "Well, that's kind of Okay then!" and we decided then we would complete the move to Majorca and we've been based here in on the island ever since.

Richard Johnson 08:52

It's really interesting. I wrote them down as soon as you said that in terms of commuting and traveling. I mean I had that realization, you know, probably a lot longer after you. But it is kind of debilitating. I don't think you end up showing up at your best, going, you know, two hours commuting let's say, I used to travel from Sheffield to Sunderland, and I used to get up at four in the morning and get there for seven. And it's just, you know, COVID has really I think made a lot of people realize, that year of working from home. We were talking to somebody the other day, just a casual conversation on LinkedIn. And they were just like, "If I'm forced to go back to the office, I'll probably resign." And I think the reality is coming through now. And it is interesting that you spotted it in what 2017?


Yeah, and I well, I was working remotely before that because I wasn't going into London for client work every day before that. So it was kind of 2015/2016 I sort of said I'm not doing this anymore. What i've been saying to people For the last 10 months is the world's catching up with me. I've been banging this drum for, you know, my LinkedIn profile, it says I'm a remote work enthusiast, I've been banging this drum for years now. I don't think people need to be in the office, if they want to be that's a different story. But, and there are, you know, people at certain stages in their career who will want that and I totally get that. And I'm not saying that it's the wrong thing forever. You know, that nobody should be in an office. But I really feel that remote work is the future and it opens up so much for other businesses, so you can access talent, you know, say you're in Nottingham, you've got a very limited pool of resource if you want.

David Coghlan 10:41

Thanks, Joe.

Joanne Smalley 10:42


David Coghlan 10:45

It's just me.


It's just you and you can't work for everybody. Right?

Joanne Smalley 10:50

So if you're in places outside London, I left Nottingham, so I was in Nottingham for 10 years, when I left Eon, I had to leave Nottingham because the only places I could really go to progress my career, were boots or Capital One

Richard Johnson 11:07

They call it the Nottingham triangle don't they.


Um, you know, there was nowhere else for me to go really. So I had to go to London, because that was the progression in my career. And I think we're really limiting people, and making people make life choices they don't necessarily want to make about where they have to live. And about their careers and work. And I think, you know, people can work wherever. And for me, you know, not being in the same place every day is not conducive to my creativity. I work best when I'm able to go, I've got really meaty problem, I'm sat here at my desk, I've got big piece of writing I need to do. I know, I'll go into a cafe by the beach and have a coffee. And then things will start moving. So and I think that's really important as well to draw that working from home in a pandemic is not remote work. They're very different things.

Richard Johnson 12:07

Yeah. And it's interesting, you mentioned that about, you just sort of said, it limits yourself, I think it limits businesses. So basically, I've been through that situation, both as a hirer and on a personal perspective, where you're almost like I've got a really good candidate, but they live in Coventry. We'll try and get them to move. And that's always the default. And actually, you're right, the default is everyone in office. We're not saying that everyone should be remote working. But what we're saying is, it should now be a choice. And I think, why wouldn't you, as a business owner, want the best person in your business, rather than somebody who's constrained by budget or constrained by location?

Richard Johnson 12:52

Tonight I'm on a call with New Zealand at seven o'clock tonight, because the clients in New Zealand. They want the best people working on their business. Why be constrained? COVID has just smashed that door open, I think, yeah.


And you know what, if you're working from home, and you can get up a bit later in the morning, I mean, I know you have kids, so that's like...

Joanne Smalley 13:13

But if you can get up a bit later and be at your desk in 30 seconds, rather than a big long commute, you don't mind having a call at nine o'clock in the evening, because it's actually not that disruptive to your life. But if you have a call at nine o'clock in the evening, and then you'd have to get up and commute for an hour and a half into central London to start your day at nine, then it is disruptive to life. But I think remote working just gives you the flexibility to say actually, you know, Friday afternoons are no good for me really, you know, I'm not concentrating. I don't work best at that time. But I'm quite happy to do three hours on a Sunday evening to catch up. It's about remote work and flexible work, that works around, especially as you've talked about David in the knowledge economy. You can't make somebody have creative ideas and do their best work in a nine to five. It doesn't happen like that.

Richard Johnson 13:14

Ha ha yea half past 5

Richard Johnson 13:36

But that happened anyway, doesn't it. I'm going to get a bit personal now, but some of my best ideas come in the shower!

David Coghlan 14:15

Ha ha

Richard Johnson 14:17

You do though. You don't just sit down at your desk and go, right, let's get creative. It just doesn't work. You don't stand at a board and go right. Here's the inspiration board. Yeah, I'm completely with you.

Joanne Smalley 14:33

And you know, most office buildings are pretty horrendous, right? That horrible carpet, carpet tile and white walls and mess everywhere and stuff. Going and sitting at a desk in that environment and going right, write a brilliant piece of content or, you know, create a brilliant infographic in that scenario. You're like, No! it's not gonna happen. To perform at your best you need to understand the things that are going to get your creativty flowing.


I'd really like to hear, what your clients thought in the early days. So when was it? So when you first started and you were based down south you weren't even at that stage commuting to London or whatever, you probably go to client meetings etc. but most of the time you're remote right?


Yeah, so actually, it's really interesting because one of my first clients was the Data Communications Company, which is the DCC, who are responsible for the rollout of smart metering across the UK, the technical implementation of rollout. And I was doing a role helping them reformat their stakeholder communications and marketing comms team. And at the time, it was very much like, okay, and we want you in the office three days a week. And I was like, no. I mean, they were paying me a ridiculously high day rate as well, it was great. But from day one, I was like, "If you want me in the office three days a week, then I'm the wrong person for the job."

Joanne Smalley 16:06

And what was really interesting is I'd go, I said I'll come in one day a week, and I'll work two days from home. And I'd go in the office one day a week, and I'd sit there twiddling my thumbs, because I'd be like, I could do this from home. I'd maybe have one or two meetings, which I could have just come in for, why am I here? What is the purpose? So you can see me? No, sorry, it doesn't work like that. So I was all I always went into new contracts with, I don't come in, I'm not office based. If you want me in the office, I'm the wrong person for you. Sorry. And I don't think I had anybody say no.

David Coghlan 16:40

I was just about to say, did you lose anyone, did anybody say well clear off then.


I don't think so, I think maybe there was in the discovery phase, it was decided that we were, it was the wrong set up. But I don't feel, I don't have any recollection of losing out on anything, or anything extreme at that level. I have one client I worked with for two and a half years that decided they wanted an in house marketing manager and got one and that was fine. To be fair, the business had transitioned beyond a freelancer they needed somebody full time. And I always said, I can prepare the business for that. And they said, Would you like to do it, but you'd need to be in the office? And I went No. So that was fine. But actually now they they've gone to an almost fully remote model subsequently, they're like, well, this is quite good, isn't it? So yeah, I don't feel like any anybody's ever turned around and said 'no'.


But it's inate behavior isn't it. Businesses have been run that way for years, ever since the office was first developed. So it's a natural thought process of 'yea we've got to get people in the office.' We keep going back to the current situation. We tell a story about what happened, where we used to work and it was like, "Oh, yeah, well, you know, you boys from marketing can work from home, you know, probably one day a week, because you've got laptops. But we've got a call center, they can't work from home!"

Joanne Smalley 18:09

Oh, yeah.

Richard Johnson 18:10

Your call center in the UK is now working from home. And those businesses survived. So it's almost forced that behavior change now. And actually, there's big financial gains to be made out of it. You know, we were talking to somebody the other day, and they were like, yeah, you know, my.... was it business tax? They pay on their premises, 60 grand a year for a building

David Coghlan 18:34

Yea business rates.


Not even the electricity, the gas, the water to run that. All of those sunk costs, you know, your zero, if you're in an office is already a million. And it's crazy.


Yeah, I mean, there's some really interesting stats floating around about how much a desk costs in different locations, per headcount. And suddenly, you're seeing people, so KPMG have now said, we're not in any rush to get people back. You know, a load of the big tech companies have said, Actually, you guys can stay at home. And I think there will always be a future for people, a place for people to come together. And I totally miss that, you know, in a normal world, I'd be flying back to the UK every three or four weeks to have client meetings and do that face to face stuff. And I think that does play a role and it's pretty important. But I don't think people need that permanent deskspace. I mean, to your point about call centres, if you're recruiting people you don't trust to work from home or you need them in an office so you can watch them then you're recruiting the wrong people.

David Coghlan 19:41


Richard Johnson 19:42

We had that conversation, if you don't trust them, then why do we employ them in the first place?


Yeah, I mean, I worked for a small IT services company that was awful for this. And I said, as marketing manager, and I only lived five minutes up the road it's one of the reasons I chose the job. And I said The office was so noisy. I said, I can't do any writing here. I've got to work, you know, I'm going to work from home on a Friday. And they're like, Oh, okay, fine. And you know, initially, my boss would call me a couple of times during the day. I was like, That's ridiculous.

Joanne Smalley 20:13

But then if you suggested to him that the call center guys could work from home, there would be no way. Oh, my God, if you don't trust them, then why are they here? You know, you're you've recruited completely the wrong people. Yeah,

Richard Johnson 20:35

It's right, that certain roles probably are more suited to Office based activity. Again, we're not advocating every role becomes remote. But actually, a lot of it probably, like you say goes down to choice as well. There's some people do want it, you know. We're quite fortunate, we've got our own kind of office environment here.

Joanne Smalley 20:54


Richard Johnson 20:54

So it's not a burden being at home but if you're in a flat share, you probably don't have that. But I think what you're saying and it rings true with us is that being in an office shouldn't be the default. Actually, why can't it be what you do now where your default is at home. But if you're needed in the office one day for a meeting, important meeting, whatever it is, you can do that. And it really resonates for us and obviously that's what got us to where we are with our business.


And I think like to say I think it'll be a mix, last point this because I want to ask Jo a question. I've got a friend who lives in London, central London, and he worked in retail, he works in the head office of a national fashion chain. And they had something like a 75 seat office, and they were literally bursting at the seams. And they were kind of right, you know, when the lease is up, we've got to move, we've got to get a bigger place, then COVID happened, everybody went remote. And actually what they're gonna do is they're gonna just downsize, they're gonna have a 50 person office, which will be hot desks, people will be in and out for meetings. And, you know, the mindset is completely switched. So I think that, having a central hub, is still gonna be important, but it's about giving people choice.

David Coghlan 22:12

You said something earlier about career stage. So I'd just like to talk to you about, because I think that's an interesting debate. Obviously, you know, we've been around the block all of us on this call for years. And people might watch this or listen to this thing and say 'Yeah, you know, it's alright for you guys, you've forged your career, you've worked in corporate land, you've done that. You've done your time at the coalface. So it's all very well, you sit there and preach how easy it is to work remotely.' But for people who are just starting out or trying to get into marketing, in our example, but any industry, where do you think the sort of office you know, that experience sits?


I think it's a really difficult one, I think early stage careers are the other critical ones, this is going to affect the most. So to Richards point, a lot of those people, you know, a lot of young people straight out uni, will be in flat shares. I've seen pictures on social media of guys, I know I've worked with, you know, there's three of them at the kitchen table. I don't know how they do calls, I really don't, because that must be horrendous, you know, and if you don't have any space, and you're in your bedroom the whole time. That's got to be horrendous. And we need to find a way around for those people. And maybe that's giving them access to co-working spaces, or similar. And I'll come on to co-working later because I think that's a different sub sort of branch of this conversation.

David Coghlan 23:43


Joanne Smalley 23:45

I think also and, Richard, I don't know if you remember, but those early years at Eon when we were all at the start of our careers, I made some amazing friends for life there. You know, we had a great social environment, we had a great time. And for people straight out of uni, or moving to new locations, their workplace is often really important for those social connections as well. And I don't know the answer. But I think there is a place for people to choose to go to an office location if they want to. And I think you'll find people at that stage in their career, you'll probably find offices full of younger people who want to be in cities, God, nobody could pay me money to live in London right now. But, you know, if I was 25, it might be a different story. So young people will still congregate to offices, to cities and want to be offices and I think we need to give them that ability. And people like us who are, you know, their managers and their leaders will have to be able to facilitate that and give them the mentoring and the support and the development they need. But I think there needs to be an opportunity to say, "Okay, guys, for me, remote work isn't just working from home, as I've said, you know, you want work from Sardinia for two months. That's okay. As long as you're online when I need you, and you do the job. And I trust you to do it. I don't really care where you are."


That's exactly the model we're preaching, is the fact that there's a number of things which are important to us. That's quality of output. Deadlines being adhereed to and met.

Joanne Smalley 25:26


Richard Johnson 25:27

In reality, if you do that, eight hours in the middle of the night, you deliver it for the nine o'clock deadline, and it's quality and it's delivered on time. I don't really care.

Joanne Smalley 25:38


Richard Johnson 25:39

I don't really care if he did that, in Australia. That's what's important to people. I actually wanted to pick up on this, and I was just doing some notes about the future of work. And I wonder whether it's, you know, offices were seen as almost like a badge of honor, you get a big corporate office, put a big logo above it and that's success. We've got a 600 seater office. And I wonder now whether you almost have new world internet cafes, where you have those big offices, but it's just a completely shared space where you say you rent desks, mini floors, quarter of a floor, so you still get that office environment but you're interacting, you still get that interaction, but it's just a place to park rather than a holy grail of where you go and visit.


Yeah, and I think a lot of the big tech companies and the big accountancy type firms were sort of moving to that model anyway, because they couldn't, you know, accomodate all of their people. If you ever visited Microsoft at Reading, at their campus at Reading, it was basically set up like that there would be teams who would have desks throughout the office, but most of their people were out on the road or based elsewhere, so they just had places where you could be within that space. It wasn't owned.

Joanne Smalley 27:00

Rich, back at Eon, I spent half my time hotdesking, I didn't have a desk for the first year I worked there, because there was no desk within the team space. So I was like, if anybody wasn't in I was just grabbing their desk. So you know that the formal construct of an office structure where you have a desk with your name on it, I think is increasingly irrelevant and not good for business. Because how do you flex quickly when you're tied into a 20 year lease?


Yep. Yeah, Dave's got a big sort of VC background where, you know, you pivot you pivot, you pivot, you pivot, you pivot, and you like you say, you can't that on a 20 year lease. I think, as humans, we're quite territorial aren't we in the fact that this is my desk, and it is just about, just changing that culture. And actually, naturally, things will just evolve, I think. In the fact that an 18 year old joining a business today expects an iPhone at a MacBook maybe or when they get presented with their Samsung and their Dell or whatever, they'll be like what the hell is this? Over time, things will just evolve. And yeah, I'm excited about where it goes to, in terms of the future work because it is an interesting place now.


I've been banging this drum for ages. I'm really excited about what happens next.


So what does a remote work enthusiastic actually look like? Obviously it looks like that. But what is it?


Um, I think, I mean, for me, it's a bit of a passion project. So I'm quite connected with lots of different people who are looking at the future of work and what remote what work is and will be in the future. So co-living is an example. There's a lot of really exciting co-living projects. There's quite a few on the island, a couple on Majorca, The Canaries are massive in co-living, so you go into a space, you have a room and this is not some grotty digs kind of accommodation, this is good quality, luxury villa type accommodation, with fantastic Wi Fi, your food is prepared for you or you co-cook and you form and this is the social interaction point that's missing from a lot of people. And there are people traveling around the world and spending three, two months here and three months there and two months there. But they're working very seriously from those locations. So co-living is a really interesting concept, not for everybody, don't get me wrong. But it's something that a lot of people are now starting to do. co-working is another one and I'm really really fascinated by co-working and what that means. It was always a passion project of mine when I was in the UK and loved co-working spaces I used to visit as many as I could and hang out, because I just loved the vibe. I really wanted to open my own co-working space in the UK but that never happened, but I've actually done that here. So I have a co-working space just 50 meters from the beach. In Playa del Cudia, which I share with a partner, she's been out here for five years, she runs her own IT consultancy. We want to get between two and six other people in the space and make it available for people to come on a sort of week by week basis. We've got Kayaks there and stand up paddle boards, there's a shower. So if you want to go for a swim before work, or at lunchtime, go and sit on the beach, you know, there's all the facilities you need. But it's got 600 megabit download Wi Fi, we've got a Conference Suite, it's just a really good place to do business. So I think co-working is going to be very much an option for the future. And I'm excited to see what happens with that. Because it's about people making choices about where they want to work. So sometimes I want to be in my office at home. And doing that. And sometimes I want to be in an office with other people. Sometimes I want to be in cafe, having a coffee.


Absolutely. I mean, Nottingham's been really good to me, but working 50 metres from the beach sounds much more up my street. But like you say, having the option there i think what's really interesting, one of our clients, and he's got a place to Spain, his workforce he's got people that work remotely one's in Spain, ones in South Africa. And it's almost happened by accident, but it's just as his businesses involved, he hasn't even employed people, but he's needed those skills. And he's just got people that he knows and trusts and they just happen to live in Spain and South Africa. And it's almost been a kind of a slow migration towards that which has been enabled by technology, but it's becoming now it's almost like it's opened up my eyes to think well, I can jump on a plane out of East Mids, go and fly to Majorca I can go and catch up and my mate Jo, I can go and work on the beach, kids could come. It's that sort of school holidays, where you're normally just panicking because you got to be in the office, how do I get childcare? Actually, you just pack everybody off on holiday, we'll go and spend a couple of weeks in the sun, I could spend, you know, three, four hours a day working, keeping my clients happy. And the rest of the time I'm on the beach with the kids.


That's exactly it. And a lot of families are starting to go actually this it doesn't mean, how many families have left Dad at home or Mum, to work while the family has gone on holiday. And they fly out for the weekend or come out for the last week or something. Actually, you've got an option where all of a sudden, you can you can all go on holidays together. And like you say you can do your job in the evenings or the mornings and the kids can be in the pool, and you're all on holiday together. And I think that's the point, let's not get caught up in remote work in a pandemic, which is us all sat in our rooms in our houses, in the same four walls. Let's think about the art of the possible and what it can do for families what it can do for people. Young people paying what 1500 quid a month rent in central London for a room, all of a sudden can go and be in and be paying 750 for a room in a luxury villa in Parma, with brilliant Wi Fi and their own office and all that kind of stuff. So


I've got two questions. So two observations and one final question for myself. So the bit about you say about families and that, completely get that and actually even as short as a year ago, if somebody would have said 'I'm going to Cornwall with the family, but I'm going to work.'

Joanne Smalley 33:49


Richard Johnson 33:49

The stigmatism would have been 'Aah he just gonna, he's gonna toss it off! Do you know what I mean? He's just going to mess around!' Actually COVID has blown that apart because people could have done that for the last year. So I think it's forcing that stigmatism change. To answer a question myself, which you answered for me and bring the point of what Dave just said, I actually didn't know that the accountant we were dealing with was actually in Spain until she told me and I've been on four calls with her. And the quality of service didn't actually, I don't know how she mentioned it. But I think it was on about how sunny it was or something like that. And I'm like, where are you? She said 'Oh I'm in Spain.' So that to me, proves the model works as well. And probably one final question for me. So you set up this co-working space. Is that new in Spain? Is it not? How is this remote working? sort of model resonating in Spain?

Joanne Smalley 34:51

So I think Majorca is slightly different to mainland Spain in a lot of ways. We always say Mejorca, in a good way, is like the UK was 30 years ago. It's a very interesting microcosm of culture, because it's so small. I think probably co-working has been around in Spain for a little bit longer than it probably has in Mejorca. Although Mejorca is certainly growing as a co-working location, and there are quite a few spaces in central Palma now that have opened up some big spaces, there are a lot of business people that come here, there are a lot of entrepreneurs, it's a great lifestyle for that. So I think that, you know, it's probably three, four or five years old maximum, I mean, probably not five, probably three.

Joanne Smalley 35:40

In terms of how it's developing, there's very little co-working in the north of the island where I live, which is what led us to open up the space. We've had some interest in it, we're not actively proactively marketing it yet, because of the situation. We're ready to receive visitors When they can come basically. And I think a lot of people have said, 'Oh, wow, that's a really good opportunity.' And I think this has all very much opened up people's eyes to what's the art of the possible, really. The joy of Majorca we've got amazing Wi Fi here. So I have 400 mega bits that to my house, fiber, which was installed 18 months ago. Like a man came and drilled the fiber into my house. And they're rolling out fiber across the whole Island. So I have better Wi Fi connection here than my parents do in London. And most of the UK does and the island, even most of the remote parts of the island, I mean, I've got friends in a Finca, which is a farm in the middle of the countryside about three kilometers away, outside the village, and they get satellite Wi Fi, that's better quality than my parents fibre to the box. You know Islands like Majorca can capitalize on that boom, just by dint of having fantastic Wi Fi.


That kind of becomes the, it's like the barrier, right? Or it's the table stakes. You've got to have amazing Wi Fi I mean, I've got 100 meg and my kids when they fire up Netflix, God knows why they're streaming Paw Patrol in ultra high def, but you know, it kicks me off. You know, my emails go down, my calls stop. I'm looking at it and I'm going right I need 500 Meg's down. I mean, you just shouldn't need it. But it's kind of the demands. And then I was looking around my house, just everything's connected to the Wi Fi, my speakers, my TV and everything's connected. So it's kind of great in principle, but it's fundamental like you say, if you've got that connection,

Joanne Smalley 37:55


Richard Johnson 37:56

Anyone who's listening from a new business point of view, Dave's calls don't go down, his emails are still there.

David Coghlan 38:04

Only for certain for clients and when i'm having a conversation with you Rich.


Yeah, it was really funny during first lockdown. So obviously, we went into hard lockdown here in Spain. My other half is a teacher, teaching upstairs. So he was on zoom calls all day, every day. I was on zoom calls with people in the UK downstairs, our TV runs off the Wi Fi. You know, like you say, it's amazing what runs off the Wi Fi, we never had any issues through the whole of the summer. And I was talking with clients in the UK, and they never had their camera on. And you know, they'd be dropping in and out because the kids were on classes or downloading Paw Patrol in high definition or Peppa Pig or whatever. And I was like you really got The UK really needs to sort it's wifi out.

David Coghlan 38:52

Yeah, yeah.


But yeah, it's the art of the possible Wi Fi is up there. Definitely.


Super. That's been really, really interesting. Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. And yeah, hope you've enjoyed listening, guys. We've got more coming soon. Lots of excellent guests. But for now we're going to wrap it up. Thanks very much, Jo. Appreciate your time.


No problem, Thank you. Nice to speak to you guys.

David Coghlan 39:18

Take care. See you soon.


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