Why I Cowork In Los Angeles

 Why I Cowork in Los Angeles

Guest blog post by James Green

I work a lot! It seems that if I’m not eating, sleeping, or doing homework with my kids, I’m working. I don’t say that as though it’s some badge of honor. The truth is most adults spend more time at work with people they aren’t related to than they do with the people they love most. It’s not a bad thing, just a fact of life. But if we’re going to spend the majority of our time at an office away from our loved ones, we should love what we do and where we do it.

Since I quit my job as CMO of PuppySpot.com, I have been working at various places all over Los Angeles. Some days I go back to my old offices and borrow a desk for the day, other days I go to the office of one of the investors for my new business, but most days I go to a space specifically designated for coworking. There are a handful of reasons I prefer working in a coworking space over working from home or going to a traditional office.

  • Community and Connection

Growing up, I moved a lot and as a result, changed schools frequently. I went to 8 schools between third grade and high-school graduation, which taught me how to make friends quickly. Most people are longing for a sense of belonging and want meaningful relationships. When you cowork, you look across the room and have a sense that all of the people here are striving to make their dreams come true. Co-Entrepreneurs. Co-Dreamers. Co-Workers. Co-Friends.

  • Environment and Inspiration

Having worked out of a few coworking spaces, it’s easy to see how hard this is to create but wow, my current coworking space at Toolbox LA has this down. It’s a new coworking space, but the space has energy, emotion, and beauty. The exposed ceilings show the grit of a building that has been reborn. While some of the art is a bit weird, it has a creativity and rawness that reflects back on the people who are equally weird, creative, and beautiful.

  • Flexibility and Variability

The part of my entrepreneurial soul that drives me to create a better service for transaction coordinators also seems to breed a restlessness that makes sitting at the same desk every day challenging. Coworking makes it easy to try a new desk every day or even multiple times during the day. I can move next to the window to remind myself what the outdoors look like (I told you I work a lot) or go to a secluded area to knock out 40-50 emails in an hour. However I’m feeling, I’m not limited to an assigned desk nor am I limited to only working next to my small but growing team.

I love coworking, but if I can continue to build my business and my team (knock on wood), we’ll likely need to move into a space of our own. Hopefully, when that time comes, we will be able to take a few of things we love about coworking and build those same elements into our own space, to build our own community.

Written By

James Green is an entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the online dating, pet, and real estate industries. In addition to being Founder and CEO of a transaction coordinator business and a startup helping home buyers and sellers find a real estate agent, he also has extensive experience in marketing and business management. Previously, James served on the Board of the Google Client Advisory Council while working as General Manager and Head of Marketing for Christian Mingle. He is a member of Toolbox LA  in Los Angeles.













The Future of Work Event Recap

Producing events is one of the many exciting parts of my role as Community Director at Toolbox LA. One of my core values is innovation; I truly believe that all people and companies should be innovating on a daily basis. A progressive mindset with forward-thinking ideals creates the lens in how I formulate ideas for events, hence the topic “The Future of Work” for one of the first of many events.

When you search the hashtag #thefutureofwork on Twitter, the results that return are quite fascinating. Various people from around the globe are sparking conversations with a plethora of opinions, perspectives, and cold hard facts on how the workplace is evolving.

My intention for creating a panel discussion on the future of work was to inspire our community to see the future in a positive light and to reflect on how their projects are contributing and keeping up. I decided to bring in speakers with expertise in hardware, blockchain, coworking, and innovation as the starting point. Once the idea was born, now it was time to execute.

The first step was to create a mission statement that described the event. Then, a visual component that would embody the essence of what I was aspiring to create. I am by no means a graphic designer, but my propensity for aesthetically pleasing media was enough to find resources and means to create a flyer. I searched for an abstract concept, “connection”, on a license-free, stock image website and downloaded a graphic that represented the concept visually. Then I used the platform Canva to create the flyer and made sure it conveyed the spirit of innovation, progress, and technology. Once that was assembled I started reaching out to secure speakers. I knew this aspect would be key to a successful event.

Fortunately, I was able to source excellent speakers to present and participate in a panel discussion. I am truly grateful to the following people for their contribution to making this a success:

  • Eric Gradman, CTO of Two Bit Circus

  • Mike Hexter, Founder of HexLab MakerSpace

  • Evelin Weber, founder of Narra Life

  • Thom Pulliam, Creative Strategist for clients such as Google, Amazon and MetLife
  • Kristoffer Newsom, Research and Development, Alexandria.io 

  • Kurt Braget, Co-Founder of White Rabbit ICOs

  • Mitchell Englander, Los Angeles City Councilmember
L-R Kurt Braget, Mitchell Englander, Kristoff Newsom, Eric Gradman, Thom Pulliam, Mike Hexter

There were many moving parts to the event and overall it was a favorable outcome. The opening hour of networking was a bit lighter than I expected and that is an area to improve upon. However, from what I’ve heard from other event organizers, the networking part can often be sparse unless there’s some compelling feature such as an open bar or gourmet food. We provided free tacos but looking back, I realize I did not publicize enough. Something to consider for next time.

The panel discussion was superb; it was a hot debate with differing opinions, something you definitely want to happen. When the speakers all have the same opinions and simply agree with one another, it’s not as exciting to watch. They were respectful, thoughtful, and spoke from experience. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Considering this was my first time moderating a panel, I have to say it was a top-notch experience and set the bar high for our next event.

Thank you to all who attended and participated. We are continuing the conversation on Twitter with #thefutureofwork and will be hosting a series of events around the topic here at Toolbox LA. Stay up to date with what’s happening by checking our event list on the website and following our Facebook Events Feed.

Blog Post By:

Raychel Espiritu


Artist-in-Residence Interview: Anna Karakalou

Artist’s Name

Anna Karakalou

What is your job title?

Artist in Residence

Where can we find your work?


Where did you grow up?

Between Chicago and Athens, Greece

What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

An artist or a writer

What did you study in college and what was your first job?

I have a BA in Fine Arts and English Lit, and I have an MA in Media Arts. My first job was a Radio Presenter in Cyprus.

How did you get connected to Toolbox LA and why were you interested in enhancing the space?

Through my friend and neighbor Luther Gerlach. When he showed me the space my mind exploded with ideas; it was all just a big, beautifully enticing blank canvas.

When did you discover you had an artistic talent?

My parents gave me a pencil when I was 2. I started drawing little tiny creatures like Richard Scary (not at 2, but soon thereafter). We moved back and forth between Athens and the US quite a bit when I was young, so drawing was the one thing that could always keep me company.

What piece of work are you most proud of? 

I've worked on a lot of cool projects as a scenic artist, but none of them were "my own". Recently I put on a solo show of work I've done in the past two years since losing my father, who was a world-class stained glass artist. I wanted to put together a book for the show that could show the work and be a tribute to my dad. It ended up being a 56-page coloring book of all of the art, done in the style of my dad's stained glass; with millions of tiny pieces that don't make sense until you pull the color together as a whole. It has, quite unexpectedly, been a very fulfilling project, which has inspired more projects in that vein (and is even a watercolor calendar put out in Portland by Print & Grain). My father always wanted me to make children's books, I feel like I'm meeting him halfway.

What will you conquer next in your artistic journey? What do you want to learn or try or accomplish?

I am all about trying to make the most beautiful piece I can make. I am interested in creating worlds where projection and soundscapes interact with my painting in a way that feels new and nostalgic at the same time. I have put up shows that are like this on a short-term basis, but I would love to create a permanent, sculptural surface, where analog and digital art meet, possibly in a way that invites the viewer to participate or adapt the images for themselves, either through an app or with a connected tablet.

Sneak Peek: Anna is currently working on this awesome project at ToolBox LA

When you aren’t  working on your art, how do you spend your time?

I travel a lot. I take a lot of classes. I go to Artist's Residencies to meet other like-minded people and to discover new facets of my own creativity. I also go to a lot of stand up comedy shows. I spend the rest of the time doting on my favorite people, my niece and nephew, Maya (1) and Yiannaki (4).

Best place(s) you've ever traveled to?

Nothing compares to Greece, but everyone has its own magic. I think the most unique experience I've had was going to Zanzibar on my own (my husband doesn't crave travel the way I do so I always wind up in these weird places by myself and realize too late, hey, this probably isn't super safe). I also really love the forests of Finland. Two completely opposite landscapes.

How would your mother describe your personality?

My mom was a model/make up artist and I always felt like she wasn't really into having such a tomboy for a daughter when I was little. Right now I would be embarrassed to write all the gushy things she says about me. She mostly says that I'm generous and sensitive with a heart of gold and that's all I'm willing to say...

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

It used to be "I'll sleep when I'm dead" but now I'm a sleep addict after all those years I denied myself so I just say "I'm Tetrising" when I'm getting things done.

Artist-in-Residence Interview: Joseph Palmoutsos

Meet Our Latest Artist-In-Residence

Artist’s Name

Joseph Palmoutsos

What is your job title?

Retired Control Operator

Where can we find your work?

Facebook: Cup of Joe Art Studio

Where did you grow up?

I traveled on ships for the first 4 years of my life, then I lived in Europe, South America, New York, and now California.

What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

A Cartoonist

What did you study in college?

I studied Fine Arts

How did you get connected to ToolBox LA and why were you interested in enhancing the space?

Luther Gerlach was impressed with some Sculptures of mine, in an art exhibit.

Josephs current ToolBox LA project in the works

When did you discover you had an artistic talent?

I started the first 5 years of my life on Greek Merchant Ships

What piece of work are you most proud of? 

My World Traveler piece is a 3-dimensional Portrait of my father. The head is a globe, and he is smoking a cigarette(Lucky Strikes) He is wearing a vest and a beret.

World Traveler, 3-dimensional Portrait of Joseph's father

What will you conquer next in your artistic journey? What do you want to learn or try or accomplish?

I am working on a 3D Grizzly Bear, he will be made using entirely recycled material, like many of my sculptures. Next, I would like to perfect mold making and casting.

When you aren’t  working on your art, how do you spend your time?

I like playing in a drumming circle, and I'm writing a movie, but mostly like teaching my Grandchildren Art.

Best place(s) you've ever traveled to?

Greece, Puerto Vallarta, Brazil, Jamaica, Hawaii

How would your mother describe your personality?

A loving Caring Father

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.


Toolbox LA Partners With Cal State Los Angeles

Toolbox LA Partners With Cal State Los Angeles To Offer Tech Startup Opportunities

For those who went to university, the fall season is synonymous with new possibilities. A new semester also means new courses, classmates, and professors. The energy is usually buzzing with excitement on campus with the thought of what will unfold over the next few months. This past fall was the perfect opportunity for Toolbox LA to partner with Cal State, Los Angeles for an internship with an undergraduate student.

Toolbox LA is an innovation hub in the San Fernando Valley that offers unique training grounds for students. It’s a space with resources such as the hardware accelerator program, Make in LA, the makerspace, Hexlab, and the biotech lab, Lab Launch. It’s a doorway with an exciting peak into the burgeoning Southern California startup landscape for those students curious enough to ask.

The Launchforce Internship

Launchforce, a program offered by Cal State University Los Angeles, helps match students to startups needing their skills through a 10-week program with $3,000 in paid hours. This opportunity was made possible thanks to a sponsorship by AT&T that offered hands-on, real-world experience to the right undergrad looking for a new challenge.

Sandybel Rojas, a freshman studying business management, joined our team as a sales intern for Toolbox LA. Her tasks included researching target demographics which in turn provided a framework for learning sales techniques and processes.

Sandy came on board with a great attitude and ready to take on the challenge. Although she was the youngest candidate we interviewed, she had the best interview due to her confident nature, the discussion around the alignment of her goals to be a future entrepreneur and non-profit organizer, and her strong commitment to community development.

As someone who had grown up on the south side of LA, Sandy was committed to building the kind of community she herself had experienced at a young age through a nonprofit called A Place Called Home. Through organizations such as this, she had become an active volunteer in programs like Teens Taking Action and Girl Power.

Before officially starting, Sandy worked with the community director to create personal and professional goals she wanted to reach during her time at Toolbox LA which included relationship building, understanding the sales process, and becoming a better presenter.


While coworking spaces were a new concept to Sandy, she took the time to research this innovative new way of working together through shared spaces and even visited other coworking spaces. Never before had she seen entrepreneurs collectively working in such a capacity, and especially doing yoga together. This changed her view of how people work together and gave her ideas for how Toolbox LA could use similar resources within the coworking space.

While working with the community director, she also learned how to create customer segments, develop a baseline script to speak with customers, send out emails, and make phone calls to potential clients. Through this process of outreach, Sandy was able to gain confidence and start making connections. Using various social media platforms, she was able to share the vision about the space and connect with new people.

Through this process of research and outreach, Sandy was able to connect with influential business leaders. These newfound skills allowed her to bring them into the space, make a connection, and book them to speak for future events.

As a follow-up action item that would support her process of improving her understanding of business professionalism, she was encouraged to join a business association on campus. She decided to join the Hispanic Business Association and was able to meet their board, giving Sandy a great inside look at what it takes to be a leader. Attending her first networking event with the organization allowed her to apply this knowledge to the real world and gain first-hand experience.

Her last project involved understanding a sales funnel and strategy by assisting with a report.

Sandybel’s internship concluded with a presentation at the university where she spoke about her experience and the skills she had improved upon such as research, outreach, and professional communication. Despite her nerves, Sandy gave a wonderful presentation. As a naturally gifted speaker, she had the audience smiling, laughing at her jokes, and taking the journey with her.

Not only was Sandy able to conquer her apprehension with outreach and networking, she also became a skilled presenter and public speaker.

Sandybel said, “It was a great experience, something that opened my eyes up to a whole new world of possibilities.”

We were very happy to have Sandy be a part of our team during her time at Toolbox LA. We’re always looking for great students interested in learning more about our work and mission. To learn more about opportunities to get involved, please contact us at raychel@toolbox.la.

Read more about Make in LA and Toolbox here:

MakeinLA.com  &  Toolbox.LA

medium.com/@makeinla  &  medium.com/@toolboxla


Artist-in-Residence program launches at Toolbox LA

On December 2nd artists, curators, and prominent members of the LA arts community convened at the newly opened Toolbox LA innovation hub for an immersive night of artistic appreciation, entertainment, and expression. Featured artist David Oliver unveiled his mixed media installation, Cycles, a 3D exploration of the confluence of old and new technologies designed and built in collaboration with Hexlab Makerspace.

Many attendees were new to Make in LA’s programs in hardware entrepreneurship and Toolbox LA’s coworking and event space and were thrilled to tour the facilities, check out the brand-new meeting rooms, and see the state-of-the-art machinery at Hexlab Makerspace. Back in the event space, guests enjoyed tacos and beers as the performers prepared to take the stage.

The first performance was Was Ist Das?, a group of absurdist cabaret singers, musicians, dancers and comedians set in the raucous days of Berlin 1924, with whom artist David Oliver performs with regularly around LA. After that, Oliver performed his solo act Red Grass, a performative set incorporating his work as sculptor, craftsman, musician, and spoken word performer. The night ended with an open jam session with friends and family of the artist joining him on stage and playing until the lights came up. 

David Oliver is a performance and 3D artist based in Ventura, and a leading member of integral grassroots arts communities in Ventura, including Working Artists Ventura, Art City Studios, and Ventura Artists Union. Artist Incubator is an artist-in-residence program dedicated to connecting artists with the resources, technology, and community they need to create. We are proud to provide our artists with generous living and materials stipends, access to cutting-edge technologies, and a supportive creative community.