Alex Putici

ScaleUp YEG Followup

Dear community:

This week was ScaleUP YEG and parts of the event were scheduled to take place at Work Nicer. I wrote a blog post about it. This blog post has caused a lot of problems, has unfairly called into question Paul’s reputation, and I’d like to follow up with a few things.

I recognize I made mistakes in how I handled this situation and I need to make some apologies. We all had a part to play in this, I’d like to apologize for mine.

I want to provide some context that I should have included previously.

Paul Singh was part of an expert panel along with Carey Houston and Kristina Milke. Amir Reshef from dealcloser was a participant in the event. At the end of the session, we received feedback from Amir that he felt he was treated unfairly in terms of the approach that was used to provide feedback on his presentation. We also heard from members of the dealcloser team, the organizers of ScaleUp YEG, and other attendees who reaffirmed this sentiment.

Paul, sorry for prematurely pulling the trigger on this. I wrote my blog post based on the above information. There are two sides to a story; I didn’t take the time to hear your side and I apologize. I reacted too quickly and made assumptions without your side of the story that led to making decisions that have unfairly impacted your reputation.

I also want to apologize to Sandra Spencer. Sandra, I am sorry I put you in a position that caused you significant problems. We respect ScaleUp, the work you do to support entrepreneurs, and the amount of effort you put into ScaleUp. I under-appreciated my influence in this situation.

In my original post I said that actions have consequences and I recognize that my actions have contributed to consequences. I want to thank Paul for maintaining an open and honest dialogue with me throughout this whole situation.

I appreciate Mack Male’s insight on this. He said “I believe they all genuinely want to see Edmonton’s startup community succeed.” At the end of the day this was the intent and my approach was haste. Again, I apologize for my part in this.


Right vs. Easy

Before you get to the original post, I’d like to add an update:

To Paul: Thank you for our one-on-one discussions and your willingness to have conversation . This all happened really fast and I should have taken greater steps to talk to you first or not mentioned your name specifically in my post without talking to you and I apologize. My role is to uphold the guiding principles of the Work Nicer community and this is where the decision came from. 


Dear community:

Alex here. I’m the Founder of Work Nicer Coworking.

This week ScaleUP YEG is running in Edmonton. As soon as Work Nicer heard about it, we jumped on board to support it. ScaleUp YEG is a fantastic initiative and we are excited to welcome ScaleUpYEG and love what it’s all about.

At yesterday’s ScaleUp event, there were some actions from one of the speakers, Paul Singh, that does not align with what the Work Nicer community stands for. As such, we have requested that if the event continues at Work Nicer, that Paul is not a participant in the event.

I hope this encourages conversation. This conversation should not be around what specifically was said, but about how individuals and the community were made to feel.

A community member was participating in a pitch event and was thereafter “roasted” and “humiliated”. Tough truths, direct feedback, and criticism is important. But it must be delivered respectfully while helping the individual and encouraging the community around them. This balance can be tricky, but it’s culture setting.

Paul’s resume and experience are impressive and there’s so much that can be learned from him. A person’s one-time actions should not define them, but actions should be owned, apologized for, and have consequences.

Work Nicer was looking forward to hosting the ScaleUp YEG events today but unfortunately, ScaleUpYEG has decided to keep this speaker and change the venue last minute. ScaleUP YEG will instead be hosted at Startup Edmonton.

Work Nicer Guiding Principle #3: Do what’s hard because growth comes from struggle.

Work Nicer Guiding Principle #4: Do what’s right because character is all we really have.

This isn’t a question of “Right vs Wrong” but “Right vs Easy”. There are several other decisions that could be made surrounding a situation like this that aren’t “wrong” but that simply doesn’t make them right — it makes them easy. It’s the little decisions, made consistently, that truly impact culture.

At the end of the day, the Work Nicer community is built on the foundation of empowering people, welcoming people, and creating a safe place for people to struggle, win, change, and learn. To grow, succeed and empower each other – we won’t tolerate anything but positively impacting each other.

To the Work Nicer community: We’ve always got your back.

To the extended community: We’re excited to continue to support your events, passions, initiatives, and welcome you to Work Nicer. We’ve got your back too.

No one succeeds alone,


Three Years Of Work Nicer [4 min]

Today marks exactly the third year since the doors opened at Work Nicer. It seems like it was far less than a year ago when I wrote this post about turning two. Alas, here we are, another year.

In the post from last year I reminisced about the very first Work Nicer home and now it seems like a truly distant memory, despite only being three years ago. I’m thinking about how making decisions and solving problems at the time seemed so big, hard, and full of risk but now in hindsight seem like no-brainers. Even though today at Work Nicer the decisions being made and problems being solved are bigger, tougher, and seemingly riskier – it makes me think about what I’ll be saying next year or in the years after that. Ultimately, decisions, problems, and risks don’t go away as you grow – they just get bigger and grow along with you.

Last year I wrote about how Work Nicer had grown from around 100 members to 190 members in the second year. Today Work Nicer has nearly doubled and is closing in on 380 members. The team has been working tirelessly over the last year on two new outposts (Beaver House in Edmonton and Red Mile in Calgary). It’s been a year full of extremely hard work, lessons, tough calls, and a lot of wins. Earlier this year I talked about my The Process in this blog post and in this video. As a team, we’re constantly working on something new, pushing our own limits, and working hard to deliver on Work Nicer’s guiding principles. We’ve added a whole pile of new perks and benefits while also realigning Work Nicer’s membership offering as announced at the most recent Town Hall (also something new that was launched this year).

Within the next two months there will be two additional outposts for the Work Nicer community to rally together. To work through the struggles and to celebrate the wins.

This couldn’t be done without a rockstar team that’s believes so deeply in what Work Nicer truly. I’m so thankful for Phoebe, Arielle, Jenn, and Bob who are growing this amazing place every day. After all, no one succeeds alone. I’m also so thankful for the amazing members who undoubtedly direct the efforts of both the Work Nicer team and the community as a whole. Every year, we put out at annual survey to members to tell us how on track or off base we are and where we should go next. Members – watch for that soon.

It’s been so nice to reflect about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. The problems will surely be harder and the risks will seem bigger, but so will the wins.

Love you all,


PS: Please celebrate our third birthday and whatever you’re celebrating this year too on December 16 at the second annual Coworking Christmas.

Letter To Work Nicer Members About Roxbury [3 min]

Hey Members!

As always, thank you so much for your support of Work Nicer. I’m energized by our community every single day.

Today is a very exciting day. This may look long, but it’ll only take 3 minutes. Let’s avoid burying the lede and get right to it.

Work Nicer is opening a second location!! 🙂


Work Nicer’s mission has always been to add value to members. Growing our community provides more opportunities for dramatic impact. More friendships, partnerships, and ideas will form. More struggles will be overcome and more victories will be achieved.

Opening this location can add immense value to your membership. Secondary to the personal and creative impact, you’ll have access to another large board room with workshop style tables, another private meeting room, two more phone & meeting booths, another no-cost event venue, and more beer taps.

Rest assured, there are absolutely no changes to membership rates. Other coworking spaces with multiple locations mandate that members select a “home or primary” location and then require them to pay extra on a monthly or per use basis to access other locations. We aren’t doing that. We’ve never been about dollars first.

Community, preposterous value, and dramatic impact are Work Nicer guiding principles. I believe if we required you to select a “home” location that we’d be asking you to “pick a side”. This growth is essentially like our current location simply being 5,400 square feet larger – resulting in more collaborative spaces, meeting places, resources, and community members.

So where is it and how does it work?

It’s close. Only an 800m (10 min) stroll into the Beltline. If 800m is too far to walk, simply take the Work Nicer bikes back and forth — you’ll have bike storage there too. Do you take the train? It’s 650m (8 min) from the nearest C-Train station.

Originally built in 1900, the Roxbury building (yes, that’s actually what it’s called) is located at 1006 11th Ave SW – #200 and the aim is to open March 1st — wish us luck 🙂

Your key fob will work at each location, you’ll connect to WiFi automatically, and your time passes are valid at both. You can use both addresses for your mail and parcels, regardless of which spot you spend most of your time.

We’d love to give you a tour — just let us know when works for you. Roxbury is still under construction (teaser photo above). We’d love your input to make the space comfortable and useful. To ensure that community exists when Roxbury opens, we’ll be providing bonus time passes to all members who spend time at Roxbury in the early days. You’ve built this community and we’re excited to continue to build it with you.

We’ll announce Roxbury publicly sometime next week. Before that, early office access opportunities are available to current members. Please let us know if you are interested in a dedicated office and we can talk details.

Last thing. — I’m excited to introduce our Community Builder Program. For the month of February, we are providing any new member referred by you a 15% discount for the first three months (plus an extra 10% discount if it’s pre-paid). When you refer a new member who starts by March 1 you will also receive 15% off your membership for three months. Our hope is you’ll each spend some time at Roxbury to get things rolling.

Work Nicer is what it is because of you and I am so thankful to be a part of it. We’ll keep you posted on what’s next 🙂

Chat soon


You Can’t Always Be The Bread Winner [2 min]

In November after several months of coordinating,  I was finally able to sync up with German from Modern Manhood in Edmonton to record a podcast. German runs an awesome podcast that concentrates on the lives and viewpoints of many different male voices talking about their own masculinity.

We talk a lot about vulnerability and transparency. These are topics that I believe deeply in talking about and unfortunately they are often viewed as weakness in business and in life. The more we talk about this, the better.

I personally don’t love my voice or recorded speaking style but apparently people like this episode so I should probably just get over it. We discuss (amongst many other things) my previous experience (before Work Nicer) in the hyper-competitive and perception-based security industry, what it’s like building a communities, the difficulties in starting a business, leaving this world better than the way we found it, and what it’s like to sometimes feel like you’re not doing your part to contribute to your household while being open and honest going through it all.

Even though Work Nicer exists to support our members while they’re building their stories people often forget that we are building and scaling the business ourselves. We are going through the same journey as many of you and have a lot to share about where we’ve come and where we’re going.

I really enjoyed my time with German and I’m honoured to have spent some time with such an awesome human being. Seriously you should go check out his work.

You can listen to the podcast right here.

Modern Manhood is part of the Alberta Podcast Network, powered by ATB. I love everything about ATB and this is another way they are making this province even better. Check out some awesome podcasts from amazing people right here in Alberta.

Two Years Of Work Nicer [4 min]

Exactly two years ago today three things happened.

My younger brother, Mackenzie, turned 26 years oldBritney Spears turned 34 years oldWork Nicer was born

It’s absolutely crazy to me that that it’s already been two years since opening the doors. Ten of my friends that believed in the idea of Work Nicer agreed to move in on day one – December 2, 2015. My dear friend and Co-Founder, Dario, was there no matter what I asked – even though I don’t think he fully believed it would work at the beginning :-). We’d spend many late nights dragging furniture around trying to make it just right. Not a lot of people know this, but we were in a different space then.

No, like, physically, we were actually in a different location (our team calls it 1.0 – that’s why on our all our accounting stuff you’ll see “2.0” listed before the membership types). 1.0 was half the size of our current location (and felt even smaller). It had one meeting room, used furniture I bought for cheap from the oil & gas company that was in the space before, and was much more traditional office style. The boardroom only had a TV in it…funny story… I had to buy a second TV because the first one was stolen out of my garage the night I bought it – along with a dry cleaning bag full of my favourite clothes and a mini-fridge. The extent of our membership perks were that we had WiFi, furniture, and a Nespresso machine. The beer tap wasn’t even a dream yet, everyone understood that the real value was in the community we were building – the space didn’t seem to much matter.

Six months later, after several months of negotiations between our existing landlord, our existing sub-landlord, our new sub-landlord, our existing members, and our new members (what I’m trying to say is that it was really hard, and really scary), we moved into 2.0. We told Phoebe, our first addition to the team and community manager, that we were moving after working for us for only one week. Immediately, her job description changed quite significantly – and has changed even more since then. Work Nicer would be hooped without her.

One year ago, I realized there were really only two goals I had set for Work Nicer. The first was to get to break-even on a monthly cash-flow basis and we did that within the first 6 months (don’t let that fool you into thinking I take home a big paycheque, constant improvement to keep our members happy is expensive). The second was to have 100 members as a part of our community but looking back I didn’t know how that was supposed to be possible since 1.0 could only hold around 30 people. We ended up pulling it off in 13 months.

Fast forward to today, we’ve almost doubled to around 190 members making Work Nicer the largest coworking community in Alberta. Our team grew to 4 in February when our next team addition and self-proclaimed “most engaging community manager”, Jermaine, joined our team. The list of membership perks have exploded and we’re left trying to figure out how to facilitate future growth. But it goes without saying it’s our members that truly make Work Nicer special.

Shoulders have been cried on all the while hugs and high-fives have been rampant. Lives have been changed because of our members. I’m not kidding. Today, as I look back, I know the course of life looks very different for hundreds of people than it did before they came together as Work Nicer. They have built friendships, companies, partnerships and families. You know, I know, that we have all impacted each other.

I’m honoured to be a part of this inspiring community. It has absolutely changed my life. Guys…I even got a tattoo!! I anticipate an incredible 2018 (and beyond) for Work Nicer, our team, and myself. We are working on some ambitious ideas and can’t wait to have a beer at Drink Nicer and share with you all that’s in store.

So now, two years later:

My brother is 28Britney is 36Work Nicer is 2

With much love and gratitude,


Unthankfulness Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing [2 min]

I’m a very grateful person. I have plenty to be thankful for.

Currently, I’m on a holiday in Montana, a trip I didn’t have to ask permission from anyone to go on. I’m with my family, including my brother who I see maybe once a year if I’m lucky. I received more gifts for Christmas than most people around the world will receive in their lifetime. Ultimately, I want for nothing. I’m extremely fortunate.

During this time of year, we are all told, and expected, to think about all the things that we are thankful for. For many, simply being born in Canada is enough – we’ve basically hit the life lottery, and it’s something we should never forget.

Recently, I went to see the movie ‘Joy’, which is the reason I write this post today. Without spoiling the film itself, it’s basically a rags to riches theme’.

I realized that in this movie, and many other stories like it, Joy didn’t have much to be truly thankful for. Yes, she had a roof over her head, but only barely. Yes, she had family around her, but they generally dysfunctional and mostly “takers”. Yes, she had food on the table, presumably – we never really saw, but she didn’t really have much to be truly thankful for.

The kind of thankfulness that puts you over the moon when you actually take a step back and think about it. Like the kind of thankfulness I feel when I look around myself right now. Or even a fraction of it.

<< Spoiler Alert >>

Though Joy becomes wildly successful, there was a lot of work to get there. However my observation is that Joys unthankfulness, or maybe, lack thereof is what set things in motion for her to have the ultimate success she did.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be thankful, I am saying however, that motivation often comes from pain and negativity. There are already stories I’ve heard in Calgary about those who have lost their jobs that are going after “what they really have always wanted”.

It’s in times like these, when life seems toughest, that we often are pushed to do our best and greatest work.

Release Your Inner Entrepreneur [2 min]

I never really actually defined myself as an Entrepreneur. My friends and acquaintances have kind of just started doing that on their own so eventually I figured I should start using it myself. But I have always loved business. My folks have owned several small businesses. I made my first business card when I was barely old enough to navigate Microsoft Word. I started my first “company” (using that word extremely loosely) in grade 9 or 10 with a couple of friends selling and installing car audio & video equipment (It was called 12v Ground, in case you’re interested). I incorporated my first company when I was 18 years old. Since then I have started three more companies and numerous side projects.

This drives my wife nuts. But I love it.

There was a period of 3-4 years where I was purely focused on “only” one company. It was a tough go and for a while. During part of that journey I was kind of down in the dumps, but I didn’t really know why. I only recently figured out that it was, at least partially, because I was getting kind of bored. The company is still around and strong – I absolutely love what we do for people but something just wasn’t right for me internally. It turns out that I just needed to reignite my inner flame and keep creating.

There is no better feeling than having an idea in your head and then turning that idea into not only something tangible, but something that people give you money for! People have plenty of places to spend their money and if they choose to give it to you for something that you, for lack of a better word, birthed, from nothing – well, what could be more satisfying than that?


Not every morning is a spring-out-of-bed-with-a-boatload-of-energy-and-rush-to-work kind of morning, but there are more up days than down days and that is something that I don’t believe a lot of people really have. If you have an idea bouncing around in your head, hop to it. Tell people about it. Get excited. Don’t worry about anyone stealing that idea – they won’t. Release your inner-entrepreneur.

Calgary Needs Coworking Now More Than Ever [3 Min]

I’m not talking about the vast amount of open spaces that companies are renting out to try and pay some of their rent. I’m not talking about someone who could use a desk moving into “Johnson’s” old office in a corporate space that lacks optimism.

Brought To You By The Letter “E”

I’m talking about the dedicated coworking spaces that will perpetuate the coworking movement. What I am talking about is the coworking spaces that represent a critical infrastructure for a new and growing workforce of people who have their own dreams and passions that have been either sandbagged or sidelined. I’m talking about the estimated 40% of people by 2020 that will work where, when, why and how they want. These spaces are exciting, energetic, enthusiastic, and surely at least one more positive word that starts with “e”.

Loyalty Isn’t Rewarded

We’ve seen in Calgary that company loyalty is not rewarded or a safety net. I know several people that have worked for companies for 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years that have been laid off due to the slump in oil. As much as this is a sad and uncomfortable thing, it presents such an amazing opportunity for Calgary.

Rallying Together

Look at the 2013 floods in Calgary. We rarely talk about the amount of money that was lost, the damage that occurred, or any other negative. We instead choose to focus on how our city rallied together around a commonality of building our ourselves back up. What’s exciting is that there are thousands of people that share this mentality all around us and will encourage you to build your own dream.

Tony Bacigalupo, “Mayor” of New Work City (A coworking space in New York) probably said it best:

“It is a window into a fundamentally new way of thinking about our relationship with our work. It is made possible by the latest technology but it is rooted in our most fundamental and timeless human nature. It exists because of our innate need to share, help, and socialize with one another.

And it is playing a critical role in helping shape a world in which anyone can pursue work they believe in on their terms, and find others with whom to share their pursuit.

The world needs Coworking. The world needs it to be bigger, more diverse, more helpful, and more beautiful.

Coworking is yours to share, remix, and experiment with. So get cracking!”