Making it up as we go along

In the start-up life, there is no infrastructure, and your opinion on everything matters.

Think of all the things that are provided for you in a big company.  There are standard offices, someone buys furniture, internet connectivity is provided, the telephones just work.   From the perspective of most employees, all of this just happens.

But at a start-up, nothing just happens.  We have to figure out all of this stuff, and everyone can offer an opinion.

Take internet connectivity as an example.  Back at AOL, the internet just worked.  I don’t know who set it up – as long as the socket in my wall worked, I was happy.  But here, we have no MIS department, so Michael is in the corner arranging DSL or a T1 or some other connection with providers.  And if I have an opinion (which in this case I don’t, as long as our connection is fast enough), it will be carefully considered before making any decision.

Or a matter on which I do have an opinion: office space.  We haven’t actually got offices yet – we’re squatting in a conference room in our lawyer’s office.  So we all get to go visit some possible spaces.  What’s more important – avoiding a bad intersection, or the nice sports club down the hall from one suite?  Being walking distance from a number of good lunch spots, or a slightly lower rent?  We all get to have our say.

Once we pick out a space, we all decide how to lay it out.  Go for a windowless private office, or have a nice big bullpen for development?   Have a nice desk, or perhaps a big overstuffed chair?  (Yeah, I’m considering not having a desk at all.  I work in a recliner when at home – I’m in one right now.  I like the working-in-a-den style, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t do it here.)

Plus, one lovely coincidence.  Our current leading candidate office space is at 8260 Greensboro Drive.  That probably does not mean much to you, but it was the location of my office in my first job out of college.  Julie and I even belonged to that sports club I mentioned, way back when Julie was doing water aerobics working around her first pregnancy.

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