The Office, A Love Letter
I didn’t go to 315 Park at 7AM daily because it was fun. The executive team at adap.tv liked it, and working beside them got me ahead. It worked. I took control of revenue forecasting for the CFO because I did what everyone else said was impossible – produce daily forecasts in 2013. The company was happily acquired, but when the desk phones were changed out to read “you’ve got mail” by AOL I knew the fun was over. Joanna, 6 feet on my left, would go on to be the CRO at the largest AdTech marketplace in the world at the time. For some reason, I thought parking cars was a better idea.
All that happened in an office.
The office is a pretty amazing place to be. Tight rows of pods in the middle, conference rooms on the sides, whiteboards, and snacks for everybody – I’m talking the works. Limited private space makes public collaboration the standard. Ideas spread fast, news is shared openly, and losses are shared together. In San Francisco, we had 75 people running fleet operations from the basement of a converted factory 2 blocks from AT&T Park. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served 5 days a week, and we all looked forward to it. The office created our culture and gave us security.
Yes, the office can become a pressure cooker as well. Arguments are had in the open, teams battle for proximity, not to mention that forcing work formats or locations is as antiquated as daylight savings time. But let’s get real: the metaverse is not going to be replacing the progress made through in-person conversations anytime soon. The truth is that getting really close to each other has stood the test of time for teams that innovate. Even more so when building new products or solving fresh problems. That whole “we built this thing in a garage” nostalgia is real.
Our offices deserve a renewed mental investment. We get an asymmetrical advantage when using them to display our values and reinforce our leadership’s resolve. My co-founder and CTO Audrius have instilled this fire in all of us. Perhaps most of all me. We go to an office every day. We make fun of each other’s offices. And he wins because he has 60 people in his and mine only has 6 on a good day. But the principles live on. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you go into a building every day or if it’s your home office and a Google Teams meeting. The office is a space we create; it’s collaboration and connection that allows us to advance our edge.