- What is your favourite word? awesome
- What’s your least favourite word? no
- What’s your favourite colour? blue
- What colour or material would be suitable to describe you as a person? Purple cashmere
- What turns you on creatively spiritually emotionally? Creatively: new ideas, spiritually: I’m not spiritual. I’m an atheist, I think, but spiritually I believe in people that believe in themselves and the planet. Emotionally: love. True love, I think gets me going emotionally, when you get that right partner you know it’s right. And things around them, everything becomes really easy knowing that someone’s got your back.
- What turns you off? Bad people, when I was in the military whether you call them terrorists or enemy, just bad people. People who don’t care for other people.
- What is your favourite curse word? It’s not a curse word but I say “Don’t be such a twat.”
- What sound or noise do you love? The noises of the jungle, or the ocean. Something to do with nature.
- What sound or noise do you hate? Traffic noise — yeah!
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I am really interested in global cyber security, because that’s really important to the future. I started listening to one of Tim Ferris podcasts who is head of the FBI and I want to get into technology when it’s getting into cyber security.
- What profession would you not like to do? There isn’t a profession that I would not attempt or not like to do. I’ve cleaned the bins out of London when there was a strike and the army had to go in and do it. That was fine, doing that service. I can’t think from working on a farm to being on trawlers on the ocean there is nothing I wouldn’t do. There’s nothing that really stands out that I wouldn’t do. I’d clean the streets if I had to.
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Considering I’m not believing in God, I believe in universal energy, so if there was something that said, you know what Tony if I can give you one wish, what would it be, and it’s a very 60s statement, but it would really be to create more love on the planet more harmony without going too far down the hippie road, by taking loads of psychedelic drugs I think it would be a case of people realizing that everyone is just different. Some sort of glue that brings everyone together under a big pink umbrella of love.
We have featured Tony Margiotta over the entire month of February. It has been a pleasure to hear his stories and experience his passion for other people and their projects and dreams. If you’d like to meet him in person walk into the open work space Central Working between Whitechapel and Stepney Green on Mile End Road above Foxcroft & Ginger.
Where and how will you be living in 20 years from now?
I’ll be an old man in 20 years from now. I’m an old man now. I think my best friend who is from the UK he has been living in Vancouver for over five years and has a very successful business in advertisement, but he also does very outward bound stuff. He had a crazy experience last year, which I won’t go into, but it changed his life to make him more thoughtful and have more empathy. He married his girlfriend they had two kids in a year and a half – or the time it takes to have two kids. And now he’s built a beautiful home in the mountains there. I think in 15, 20 years time from now I will be living in some sort of mountain region. Potentially if it’s not in somewhere like Scotland or Whales then it would be out in Vancouver, where my mate lives, because it’s “beauty” out there and it’s sports all year round not knowing if with 70 or 80 I’d be able to do so, but I’m sure I will. Somewhere healthy, living with nature.
What is a miracle you have encountered recently?
A miracle? Well that’s a good one. I am not experienced in miracles. I have experienced feelings that make me think something is truly amazing about life. That was for a couple of occasions, but my main one was when I was in Brunei jungle. I was in Brunei jungle for six months doing jungle warfare and survival training. I was very fortunate to be doing that with the British Special Forces. And there were times when we had time off to just hang out in the jungle. You never left the jungle during that time. And I remember I sat there one day in the thick of the jungle and it was really quiet, it was about 6 AM in the morning. And I remember seeing a troupe of black and white monkeys, moving from A to B across my vision above my head and they just stopped and they all looked at me and I looked at them. And I don’t know why but the whole jungle just sort of started making noises and with all of my senses I could smell, I could see the jungle. I felt quite lonely on my own. And I just had what they call “a moment”. I’ve had that before when I was mountain climbing where you just feel at one with the planet. And I just thought freaking hell this is awesome. What are we about, why are we on this planet? However we are on the planet to live amongst other living things and the smells and nature. That to me was kind of an eternal miracle and funny enough that feeling, I always remember. It’s one of those things that always comes back. It has been a guide to me through life, in how I approach things now. I only very rarely get stressed because I just think of things and think you know what, remember that time I was in that jungle, on that mountain, this is a special place. And we are only here for a small amount of time. Miracles happen to me every day, small miracles happen to me every day. When I do really small things. Sorry that was a bit longwinded – I could talk all day about miracles or potential feelings I have experienced. I am very fortunate.
The painting was inspired by Tony Margiotta’s encounter in the jungle.
Is there a need that should be tackled politically in your community and how would you go about solving it?
Ok, so I’m all about community and getting people together. Whether it is here at work bringing the community of entrepreneurs together or whether it’s out in my social groups. I enjoy bringing people together.
In society and in London so fundamental, without going off tangent, London being such a diverse city with 350 languages spoken, there are so many people doing different things but what we need in a community based observation is more areas for children and teenagers to gather together and do sports, fitness, healthy stuff.Because at the moment, from my background, when I was a kid, there was always something to do. Yes I know now we got computers and games and everyone sits at home, but even when I walk around my community in Southwest London or in East London where this club is now, there aren’t ideal places for people to play sports. You know we need more fibre side soccer pitches, maintained basketball courts. I see lots of basketball courts around and they just seem disrepair. Local counsellors are running around saying hey I wanna help you with this and your taxes, but let’s get the core stuff done, let’s get our environment better, more natural, more trees. I live in Clapham Common it’s beautiful but when you go in the ghettos if you wanna call them so in London, there is nothing there.So people hang out on the streets on their phones. No wonder we have an obesity problem in London. They just need to get out and do more exercising, man.
Tony Margiotta was in the Marines for years to serve his country. After having lived in Santa Monica he returned to work as General Manager for Central Working in Whitechapel, a very diverse part of London with a large Pakistani and Bangladeshi community.
Do you feel more English, British, European or a citizen of the world?
This is a great question! If I went back ten years I would say I was full on a 100% English. Having spent twenty odd years in the military serving my own country, which I was very proud of doing, I really enjoyed it. Then as I left the military and re-integrated into society I was very fortunate to start working at LOCOG, which is the organization that created the Olympics in London. I spent two years with them. And oh my God I sat in my office surrounded by multicultural people, with that main effort to put the Olympics together for London. And that just made me feel firstly British and then thirdly a member of this planet. It was just amazing. So I would class myself currently as British, secondly as European, thirdly as a global citizen. In that order.
We met Tony Margiotta at Central Working in Whitechapel.
Britain and the EU to stay or to go?
Tony Margiotta has served Britain as a marine for many years. He also was involved in the organisation of the London Olympics and loves diversity.
What do you dislike about London?
That’s interesting. I could say the obvious one, which is the transport system.The tube is crazy. It’s really cool for what it does, it moves people around, but if you try moving thousands of people around at 7 o’clock in the morning when they are commuting to work it’s just not viable.
I’ve decided to change from travelling by tube to cycling. Which has been a complete revelation. So I dislike the tube to a point.The cyclist ist not Tony Margiotta, GM of Central Working ;) – he has just bought a really cool bicycle himself though.
What do you love about London?
Diversity, again. I’ve got friends who are Polish, Australian, German, Czechoslovakian, you name them and they all come together and create this wonderful environment that we have. The music scene. I love jazz. And I go to really cool jazz clubs when I can and it’s just amazing we got some of the most amazing global artists playing the saxophone or people in a band and the hip hop here… So it’s the diversity I love.
Tony Margiotta is GM of Central Working – a special kind of workspace in different parts of London. He loves connecting and motivating people to pursue their dreams.
What do you regard as art?
I always like the word diversity. I enjoy art.
I don’t follow art, although I have recently got involved because a club member here is called Vastari, that is an art app.
And they were telling me about what they do, which is connecting people with great art work with some of the best galleries on the planet, and they have a database of great art. And they act as the curators, but they don’t charge as much as some curators. So they introduced me to some really interesting art.
And equally I am really into landscape, city pictures of the globe, different art. We got someone here around the club which comes from a really cool gallery in Bloomsbury, called Gallery Different.
I like Banksy’s style interesting stuff. I wouldn’t say I have amazing pieces of art at home I do follow it when I can.
Tony Margiotta is GM of Central Working, a special workspace with support and accelerator programs. We met him when having a coffee at Foxcroft&Ginger at Mile End.
Who or what inspires you to do what you do?
I’m inspired by many things. Inspired by people who do crazy, cool, out of the box stuff. I’m inspired by top sportsmen, climbers and cyclists. I’ve become more inspired since working here at Central Working by people’s determination to make their dreams happen.
And I see all different kinds of journeys. I see people who’ve got a great idea and they gallop off like a racehorse, but forget really crucial things and I see them crash and then we come in and help. And I see people who start nice and slow where you think, maybe they are not gonna get anywhere and then three or four months later they are in the newspaper because they’ve created an amazing product. So I’m inspired by their diligence, their determination, their passion. That really inspires me.
Tony, is there a gap you fill with Central Working in the landscape of co-working spaces?
Yes I think there is definitely a gap that I believe we filled or are filling, ‘cause it’s evolving with time. When we started out with our first club in Bloomsbury near Oxford Street, which is a very cool small boutique club, we noticed straight away that there is a need for really cool places for people to come and work. Not necessarily cool because the place looks great, but there is a community feel in that place.
And you know we are just happy, approachable and taking interest. As opposed to some places around the world where you pay your membership fee, get your Wi-Fi code and then you’re left to work, which is fine, but it’s not what we do here. Yes we let people work, but we nudge them every five minutes. “Hey John, have you met Jenny? – She’s really interesting you should talk to her…” So it’s about connecting people. Over time we experienced, that what we do is actually to fill a niche with that little personal touch.
We call it love. We call it high-fives. Sometimes we call it cuddles. Whatever you want, but we really are taking interest in every one of our members to a point where we know what makes them tick, what they need to be able to grow.
What is the story behind Central Working?
It’s quite an interesting story, because I’ve got quite a varied background. I lived in Santa Monica in California for a number of years to do life coaching and style up a couple of non-profit companies. And then I missed London so much that I decided to come back.
And when I came to London I started a small social group and one of my friends on the social group called Michel said “You need to meet my buddy, he runs a company called Central Working. It’s all about helping people grow at speed and pace and they’re looking for people with interesting backgrounds, who like people, enjoy people’s company, but also are good at connecting.” So I came and met James, who’s the CEO, who’s a good friend of mine now and magic happened. I loved his presence, I loved his ideas and he told me about Central Working. And I said hey ok let me come on board and give you a hand. And it’s been now three and a half years.
What do you call your neighbourhood in London, Tony?
I’d say my neighbourhood is where I was born and bred, it’s a place called Clapham Common, which is in Southwest London. It’s a cool place near Battersea.
Do you remember the famous album cover by Pink Floyd with the iconic Power Station on it? Many things are changing around Battersea. The chimneys are being dismantled and rebuilt, which will take approximately two years. Then apartment buildings designed by Foster & Partners and Gehry & Partners are built around the station. The power station, will then be converted into a commerce and fitness area. For more information on the development visit this link of the Battersea Power Station.
So my name is Tony Margiotta
Who are you?
I am currently, and have been for the past three years, the area GM for Central Working, which is a hospitality brand, but more importantly we create the ideal environment. We believe in our clubs to help small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and realise their dreams.
Our first days in London were determined by diverse impression, good food and a great thing called ‘flat white’. One of the best is to be found at FoxCroft&Ginger, a café located on Mile End Road. Colorful lines on the bare concrete floor which lead up the stairs caught our attention. Out of curiosity we followed them up to the first floor, entering a colorful space. We entered the door and were introduced to the project that is Central Working by a man that was just prior to our arrival still munching away on his sandwich. He jumped to his feet and allowed us to fetch a glimpse of what it means to be a connector. It is rare in today’s world, especially in a fast paced city like London, to meet someone who truly wants to let others shine. To bring about dreams and ideas imagined by others. To inspire and love on people to see them blossom. To have that special ability to see something in others that even the people themselves cannot see at the time. May we introduce to you Tony Margiotta. Ex-marine, personal coach, people-lover and citizen of the world. Get to know a little part of his diverse views on life and follow the-minks in February on this journey.