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Meet John Kim of Opodz

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Kim.

John, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Opodz started four years ago with John and Ryo. The two real-estate business owners met as former co-workers, and quickly turned into good friends. With a shared interest in entrepreneurship and tech, they founded a coworking community in Little Tokyo.

Since its inception, this shared office space greeted the likes of Casetify, Work, Deutsche Bank, and other esteemed speakers and organizations. Opodz members organize an abundance of social events ranging from a bi-weekly Japanese conversation group, occasional video game night to frequent happy hours around Downtown LA.

Come any given day, you’ll meet tech professionals, laid back lawyers in board shorts, business owners, freelance creative artists, and fun folks looking for a sense of family and camaraderie in the Opodz space.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In 2013, Opodz was one out of four coworking spaces in Downtown LA. Since then, there’s been over 20 competing shared office spaces which have come and gone.

With so many other choices in the market, we’ve definitely needed to provide a service and community which couldn’t be found elsewhere. This meant finding our niche.

We pride ourselves in being what coworking is supposed to be, a community. We have relaxed environment and dress. We have members come in khaki and t-shirts sit next to their coworker in a suit and tie. We have a communal kitchen space where we gather over office lunches and chat about our families and friends. This freedom and casual setting might be distracting for people who need more structure typically found in a formal office. Luckily, our long-term members don’t seem to mind. They have been pretty productive and encourage each other to keep accountable. In fact, you’ll often see folks from different companies finding new ways to cross-collaborate.

With a no cubicle policy, and as a smaller space, Opodz isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. People looking for private offices have gravitated elsewhere. Other folks want a receptionist, which we don’t provide. Nevertheless, we let people decide for themselves if they want to join our community. We still invite everyone to Opodz, and we’re pretty happy to have found so many friends along the way.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Opodz – what should we know?
We’re a real family. It doesn’t feel like a cold business feeling, where you pay an invoice and never talk to anyone. Our members all know our cofounders, who are always in the space, and have regular chats with them. We’re also proud to support nonprofits and community organizations, who have hosted public events at Opodz.

Our Opodz members get to know our community leaders in Little Tokyo, and often engage in the neighborhood. We go out to celebrate grand openings of local businesses, greet people in our space with food and good conversation, and do our best to give back. Each year we make an effort to volunteer with the women’s shelter by packing lunches, collecting coats for our annual winter clothing drive, and host meetups for tech and civic activism.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Inclusiveness. We’re here without pretense, we get along and we’re always here for each other.

Pricing:

  • Day Pass – $20/person, M-F 9am-5pm access
  • Open Desk Membership – $299/month, 24/7 access to Opodz
  • Dedicated Desk Membership – $375/month, 24/7 access to Opodz

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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