Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau by Jaromir 

The data storm isn’t over! GDPR isn’t going anywhere and here is why it’s just beginning.

The next 30 days

After doing all the research, attending workshops, speaking to fellow professionals and being part of the GDPR webinar. I felt I had learnt a lot about data protection, haven’t we all? I’ve read so many articles, received emails from every company I’ve ever thought about and seen the global mass hysteria surround everyone. Thankfully since the deadline passed, it feels like it’s all over.

Some of the biggest companies I’ve been watching have a “mission completed” attitude to GDPR. Other more responsible organisations have maintained their focus and are actively transitioning from a preparatory mindset to an ongoing and living GDPR compliant strategy.

So, what have I learnt in the last month?Before the start of June, three lawsuits were filed against Facebook, Google and Instagram. At the same time there was a large data breach at one of the UK’s biggest electronics retailers Read Here.

One of my local bar chains overhauled their approach to personal data by deleting their entire customer database and my favourite restaurant brand changed to a new ‘Zero Inbox’ email policy. My question is, if big companies are failing, what hope do we have?


What I’ve learnt from my personal experience is;

  • Be educated — with so many alternative facts and opinions, the best way to cover yourself and your company is to get in contact with a professional. You and your teams should learn as much as you can from varying experiences perhaps both first and second hand. The majority of my GDPR fear came from conversations about people potentially going to jail for not deleting an old customer enquiry email or having a sign in book at reception.
  • Common sense rules — some of the most proactive and compliant companies are small to medium sized forward thinking organisations who took time to understand the changes. Of course there are situations where experts and lawyers should be consulted and then there are those low hanging fruits. Do you need a 10 year old email from a prospective customer? You haven’t thought about it once for a decade and it probably contains personal data you don’t want to have to explain why you still have it. All announcements, posters, files and documents should be scrutinised with a fine tooth comb. Are you due a spring clean?
  • Take caution — It’s better to be safe than sorry. If in doubt, take it out. You’re future you will thank you for it. No more business cards from 2011, old fashioned e-marketing campaigns (7 lessons for the GDPR e-marketeer) or spreadsheets and databases still on computers that aren’t necessary.
  • Create community around common problems — often it’s the challenges we share that bind us together. Many of the people in the communities I’m a part of took GDPR quite seriously. As a result of that there were others like me with reservations and ideas about how to be compliant. Many of us communicated more and even collaborated on projects to get up to speed. In doing that not only do I have detailed GDPR info, I also have a new contact to add to my network.
  • The journey isn’t over — It’s one thing to be compliant today but another to stay that way for the future. This isn’t something that is going to blow over, it’s here to stay so embrace it.

Nightmare, dream or reality?

The law isn’t there to put us all behind bars, the intention is to protect us and our connections from harmful situations. Coming to terms with the newly enforced regulations and being a trusted contact on the subject could be the transition we all need & want. Let’s all come out of the deep dark woods into an open and level playing field.

What do you think now? Has GDPR been as terrible as you thought it would be? Are there any positives to take away from this situation and what would you like to see next in our GDPR review later in the year?

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The beginning of the end – Part 1 of a GDPR story

We aren’t so different, you and I. I’ve signed up to newsletters in stores to get a discount on the spot. I’ve accepted website cookies, terms and conditions and typed in my details to book flights but what happens next? I’ve been wondering where all that information goes and apparently I’m not the only one.

I don’t mean to scare you but

Have you been getting emails from every service, app, website and social media platform you’ve ever thought about? I have and there is a reason. The law isn’t changing… It changed back in 2016. If you missed the newsflash like I did, time is running out. A number of data protection laws and rules have passed and May 25, 2018 is when businesses will be shut down, sued and in some cases people will start to go to prison.

I’ve spent the last 6 years talking about the impact and benefit of technology, diversity, a better work lifestyle and community. As someone who is determined to push these cultures forward with actions, I first became conscious about the new data laws about a month ago. During the 2018 German Coworking Conference held in Bremen, I met a few people from all over Europe, who were genuinely uncomfortable about what the law changes might mean for them.

Over the next few days, my journey of discovery turned to fear. That un-comfortability both in those people and in myself grew. All of this seemed very overwhelming. I asked via social media, ‘surely this big data stuff doesn’t apply to us. The freelancers, founders, entrepreneurs and micro or small businesses?’ The general reply was yes, it especially applies to us. We are the low hanging fruit. We are the easy target for the powers that be. This sparked many more questions;

How much time do we have to make a change?

What do we have to do and who can help us?

What happens if we aren’t fully compliant?

Is this another big cookie scare?

The last big internet shake up was the website cookies panic. A lot of people were also scared at the time but in hindsight many now see it as a storm in a teacup by comparison. They say hope isn’t a strategy and crossing our fingers dreaming the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is much like the Cookie Law, isn’t the best plan. Scary movies and bad dreams are worst experienced alone. But the GDPR is no movie. This journey of discovery is daunting however, I know I don’t have to go it alone.

Yes I’m scared about the possibility of founders, businesses and even my coworking space being shut down for having a Slack channel, newsletter or WhatsApp group. So like any damsels in distress, I’m going to scream and hope someone comes to my rescue.

Cry For Help

Who can help the thousands of people who feel lost in the maze of new guidelines, legislation and clickbait? If you have further questions or any answers about the GDPR and data security please get in touch.

To stay up to date with all things European Coworking Assembly, and to follow our GDPR journey, connect with us on Facebook & Twitter. I’d love it if you shared this blog.

Who am I when I’m not on a quest to slay the dreaded data dragon?

My name is Alex Ahom from London, England. For the last five years I’ve been building creative communities and pioneering the future of work movement. I’ve created some interesting and innovative events, became a Director at the European Coworking Assembly, started a coworking space (Shhared) and also hosted/presented a few national and international conferences. This topic has come up so much recently, I thought i’d reach out and start a conversation.

Follow me in this mini series in search of the truth and stay in touch.

#coworking #startup #online #GDPR #data #wednesdaywisdom

Reach me at LinkedIn & Twitter

This is Part 1 – Also at Medium

Part 2 – Audio interview with one of London’s top experts – SoundCloud

Part 3 – The Q&A portion of the journey is also live, at Included

Photo by Christopher Burns

Things are going to look a little different around here (European Coworking Assembly website).

We are making some changes to the webpage so bear with us. Think of it as an upgrade and an opportunity. We’d love to hear from you and get your feedback regarding the website.

  • What content should the European Coworking Assembly website have?
  • How should it feel?
  • When do you use the website and where?
  • If there would be one thing we do, what would that be?

Thanks for looking over this blogpost. Message us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your answers.

Happy coworking and keep those core values at heart!

Alex Ahom

Reach me at – LinkedIn or Facebook



During our last trip to Milan for the Coworking Europe Conference, I had the chance to talk to Tony Bacigalupo who is currently leading Open Coworking about partnering both our associations. Members of both organizations contribute to each other’s efforts to promote coworking around the world. It makes sense to formalize our mutual support.

If you don’t know about Open Coworking you may already be using some of its projects:

If you don’t  know them you should check them all out, signup as a member of the group, include your space in the wiki and the visa, and volunteer to make it even better.

If you don’t know Tony you should. He founded New Work City six years ago, he’s the author of No More Sink Full of Mugs,  and is currently organizing Cotivation, IndieCon Toronto, and The Great Coworking Community Help-A-Thon.

Support coworking by joining both organizations: Open Coworking and European Coworking Assembly.

IMG_1496Hi everyone!

I’m Stefania, the treasurer of the new European Coworking Assembly.
I‘ve been actively engaged in the coworking environment since 2012, when I moved from Napoli to Brussels to learn how to run a coworking space.

The opportunity to spend 4 months in Brussels, supporting Ramon Suarez in the management of Betacowork, became a life changing experience for me. Since then, I have been taking care of the community and event management in the coworking space, learning and experimenting new ways to foster collaboration and synergies among coworkers, and growing personally and professionally.

So life changing! I feel so lucky to live and work in this field and I am fully aware and convinced of the positive social and economic impact of the coworking movement. I had the chance to follow the discussions of the new Coworking Assembly and I proposed my candidacy as the treasurer. I thank the cofounders for welcoming me on board and I look forward to all the good things we can do together!

You can contact me via Twitter using the handle @kudrjavka, or by email at stefania at coworkingassembly dot com


Ciao! It was year 2009 when i opened my first coworking in Firenze, just in time to take part to the first CoworkingEU in Bruxelles as COWO ambassador. I haven’t missed one since then.

With time, i’ve progressively switched from owning to counceling and booting with COMBOPROJECT new coworking and makerspaces, with a strong focus on enabling local communities (FABLAB FIRENZE, LOFOIO, POLILAB HANGAR, WISIONARIA and others).

I see myself mainly as a connector, and i deeply believe that coworking is a crucial evolution that proceeds side by side with the changes of the work. That’s what i struggle to implement everyday with the projects and experiments i flank or tutor, grounding on passion and yes, on a pinch of experience as well.

That’s what led me in this amazing group as a cofounder… along with some graphics skills, actually!

Anis-Bedda-Coworking-Europe-Conference-2012Hi Fellow Coworking aficionados,

I am Anis Bedda cofounder of the European Coworking Assembly.

My first interaction with the coworking movement happened in the HUB Brussels. The Hub network is now known as Impact Hub. From a careholder, I joined the team of Hub Brussels in the beginning of 2011 as Ideas manager (Content curation, events…). When the Hub Brussels had to close down in late 2012, it was time to continue the adventure and start a new coworking space in Brussels. This ambition became a reality in 2014 with the opening of transforma bxl, a coworking & innovation space in Brussels.

I also organise the Intrapreneurship Conference, a yearly international event on how to generate innovation in corporations while tapping into the entrepreneurial potential of employees, and co-organised a couple of past editions of the Coworking Europe Conference.

Curating innovation related topics and nurturing entrepreneurial ecosystems are two of my passions. I am blessed for having them part of my day job as a coworking space manager.
See you around

Hi fellow coworking makers, I’am Eric van den Broek, cofounder of the European Coworking Assembly.

I started getting involved with coworking in 2010, when my two brothers, an long time friend and myself decided to found one of the very first coworking space in Paris : Mutinerie. We got known first through our blog posts that got lots of interests (maybe you heard about the Maslow Pyramid of Coworking) and became friends with many fellow coworking space managers.

2 years ago, I started Copass with my partner Stefano Borghi, founder of Cowo360, a coworking space in Roma, and the official photographer of coworking spaces around the world. Copass is a global federation of coworking spaces aiming at taking coworking to the next level by enabling coworkers to easily and seamlessly work from any space of our network with one single membership.

I’ve been a speaker at various events, including Coworking Europe Conferences and TED talks.