11: Adam Glaser

adam glaser

Adam mentions loving cities way before Richard Florida. To clarify, Florida is a Urban Studies theorist focusing on social and economic theory. He is the author of the well known book, the Rise of the Creative Class (2002).


  • Adam Glaser is the Chief Design Officer for Benjamin’s Desk

  • Benjamin’s Desk is merging with 1776 (another coworking space originally based in DC)

  • Adam received his Bachelor’s Degree from Rice University and his Master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Design

    • Graduate degree is in Architecture and Urban Design

  • Adam does a lot of work in the “innovation space” in which corporations or universities, who want to attract younger talent, redesign and rethink their use of space

  • He did some research on Cambridge ( a coworking space) which is coming to Philly next year!

  • Adam was the Design Principle for a Washington based company when he first heard about coworking spaces (about 3 years ago)

    • He was commuting from DC every day and decided to start coworking at Benjamin’s Desk

    • He got to know the founders, Jen and Anthony Maher very well

    • Adam put together a presentation about the coworking model and was invited on board

  • Adam likes the coworking model because it allows him to continually innovate and interact with spaces — whereas most architects design a space and never interact with it again

  • In those three years, Benjamin’s Desk has gone from ~ 3,000 sqft to over 125,000 sqft

  • He loves being able to adjust the space and flip things around based on community needs

    • He also enjoys watching how people interact with the space and learning what their needs are

  • Benjamin’s Desk consults with some local universities and corporations about how they can innovate their space

    • These are institutions that aren’t going to rent from Benjamin’s Desk, but have their own space to play around with

  • Adam sees lots of entrepreneurs and startups getting ahead of themselves in terms of their business model — thinking they know more than they do

  • What sets Benjamin’s Desk apart from other coworking spaces is that they embrace a partnership model and help hook up their tenants with resources

  • Adam is originally from a small town in Kentucky, not far from Nashville

    • He went to school in Texas, but came up to the northeast in the 80s

    • He has lived in Philadelphia on and off since then

  • Adam is attracted to Philly because it’s a “real city.” It’s not about money or transaction — it’s authentic (a word Adam says is overused)

  • Benjamin’s Desk and 1776 want to form a northeast coworking corridor

    • They call it the “hub and spoke” model

    • The hubs are the cities — the “showrooms for innovation”

    • Their intention is to build spaces between major hubs

    • It will allow companies to decentralize their workforce

    • This will include more people these businesses — at the heart of it, it will increase connectivity between people

  • One of Adam’s most striking comments is [regarding coworking spaces, Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, etc] is that it allows people to pay for access / use instead of paying for space.

  • Adam believes Philadelphia needs to increase its connectivity outside the core of the city — the Manayunk’s, Roxborough’s, Conshohocken’s, etc

  • A quip Adam makes is that if you care about work-life balance, working from home is oxymoronic

  • One major benefit of the centralized employment model is the ability to economically uplift people and areas without having to completely gentrify and change the fabric

  • Benjamin’s Desk also has access to funding streams and more — not your average coworking space



  • Union Software — Software platform comparable to Linkedin, where entrepreneurs can find resources, etc  [currently being built out