“You have to attend CU Asia. You must.”
Before I go ahead and give you full context, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a fresh mass communication graduate who joined the Scoopoint team late December with a pair of fresh eyes.
And by fresh eyes, I mean, knowing absolutely nothing about the coworking community.
You can only imagine the amount of wonderment I was thrown into the second my colleagues mentioned CU Asia. In fact, I remember the first time hearing about the conference during a meeting my team and I were having – the usual ‘catching up on what’s needed to be done’ but the only thing that struck out to me by the end of it was CU Asia 2018.
So what’s CU Asia, you might ask? To simply put it, CU Asia is a five-day event; bringing together the “movers and the shakers” of the Asian coworking/innovation scene from all over the region. It allows participants to meet fellow coworking space operators and enthusiasts, tech companies, investors, real-estate partners, and others who are interested in the evolving workplace.
What makes it more exciting, to my team and I’s luck, this year, CU Asia was held in Penang; giving us a chance to co-host and for us to brag how beautiful our home is.
After reading numerous experiences though past blog posts about the five days conference, I was granted the opportunity to experience it first-hand. The two things I extracted out from it were the people and the tight-knit community, and lets not forget the insightful workshops.
The People and the Community
There were over 300 participants from 35 countries present at CU Asia this year. These participants traveled from across the world; from Kuwait to Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius to Mongolia, Sweden to Sri Lanka and everywhere in between.
As intimidating as that number sound, you’d be surprised at how well you’d fit right in! You could tell from the warm welcoming and the willingness to engage that the participants weren’t just here for the workshops. They’re eager to build a community and to learn from each other based on personal experiences.
The Workshops, Panels and Unconferences
Personally, besides meeting and engaging with new people, the workshops, panels and unconferences were by far my favourite thing about CU Asia. They were implemented in a way that wasn’t too formal; it allowed participants space to breathe, be comfortable and a chance to open up if they had enquiries, concerns or struggles they’re facing being in the same industry or community.
Among the few unconference sessions I attended, my most memorable one would have to be “How to be a Host by Creating a Sense of Belonging in the Community.” Discussions on being a host overall and the difficulties in creating a community for our members were brought to surface and dissected to find solutions. I raised a few of my struggles I’ve been facing as a host and how being too accommodating could possibly dent out procedures, and it was comforting to be advised by fellow co-working hosts who shared the same problem.
Being a Host at CU Asia 2018
As the conference was held in Penang, Scoopoint had the honor to co-host the networking night. Though it was a delight to see everyone gather together on the first night, the fun in co-hosting our guests didn’t stop there. We wanted to make sure our guests were well fed and had the most fun out of Penang, and of course, we introduced them the night life of it. My team and I are always seeking for new adventures anyway, so there were a lot of last minute “hidden-bars” hopping cued the second the sun goes down.
What I’ve Learnt from CU Asia
Well, for starters, I’m not as lost as I was when I first joined Scoopoint. I’ve learned more about what the co-working community is all about; how it’s more than just their space and their events; and that it’s more of the people that shapes the community. It’s about gathering people, inspiring one another and building something that’s more than just average.
It’s definitely exciting to see the co-working community and industry gradually picking up in Malaysia. Though it was astonishing to learn about the different cultures, it was also a pleasure to meet other Malaysian co-working spaces, and hopefully, with CU Asia putting Penang on the map, we’d be able to expect more opportunities and perhaps offer digital nomads a chance to explore our small (but growing!) city and culture.
I plan, with this experience, to hopefully connect with more people in the next CU Asia to come. Next year, CU Asia 2019 will be held in the beautiful Goa, India. I’ve always been in love with the Indian culture and the vibrant colours, and it’s been a long time since I last visited the country so I can’t wait for new adventures and hopefully, new friends!
A big shout out to the team behind Hubud and Paper and Toast for organizing this grand experience and for making all this happen. Till next year!