Monday, September 3, 2007

Musings About Office Space

I've been seriously considering getting some office (or at least desk) space lately. The problems are: (1) I'm cognizant of some folks who have bitten off more than they can chew too soon (2) I'm a bit of a cheapskate (3) I'd like to have more income coming in first.

On the other hand (1) I'm a firm believer in investing when the benefits are identifiable. There is a difference between being cheap and being prudent. (2) I've got several business venture ideas that I'd like to get more serious about (3) I'll always want a bit more income (4) There is reason to believe having dedicated space would allow for more income in and of itself.

For the last ten months or so, I've been working from of my home and a variety of local coffeehouses with wireless Internet. Until recently this has been a Good Thing. No (extra) rent, no commute, and no dress code. Since most of my work during this time period has revolved around one or more of the following this has made a fair amount of sense:

  • freelance technology consulting
  • research
  • business analysis and planning
  • investing
  • reading
  • thinking
  • drinking coffee
I've been teetering on the edge of late though. I'm coming to the realization that it may be starting to be more costly to not have a distinct working environment. Besides the clearer work/home boundary I expect I'd get the following benefits:
  • Greater focus and comfort
  • The ability to yell across the room back and forth with associates/partners
  • In-person brainstorming sessions and greater in-person serendipity
  • A white board
  • Freeing up space at and removing clutter from home
  • The ability to leave what I'm in the middle of working on spread out, on my desk, so that I can jump right back in next time I'm back at my desk
  • And, in a very real sense, a nice constructive kick in the ass to get moving forward (due to the monthly mortgage/rent payment and other obligations related to having the desk/office space)
Ultimately some other benefits will accrue:
  • I'm also nearing a point where I may be involved in several different ventures at once.
    • With others potentially involved, and some resource sharing between the businesses, it would be convenient to have all this together in a single place.
    • The ability to rapidly test out new ideas, which may require some physical space for various reasons
  • Room to build a lab environment
  • Room to have ad-hoc private uninterrupted meetings, including with outside folks
  • Our own espresso and bean roasting machines so we can insure high quality sustenance
  • Wall space to hang up useful stuff
    • reference material
    • motivational / success related quotes
    • posters of hot chicks (I meant pictures of my wife, of course) :-)
And, having entirely my own office space, would allow for some other interesting opportunities to be experimented with:
  • Hosting co-working environments
    • "Coworking is a movement to create a community of cafe-like collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents."
    • Technology and Media Geeks and other independents/freelancers; Entrepreneurs; Small one to four person start-up launch pad, etc.
    • Accelerating serendipity
    • Networking - business, personal, funding, brainstorming, clients, partners, advice, assistance, support
  • Hosting/supporting interesting social/community events
    • Movies, taco nights, demos, video viewings, book releases, art showings, customer/client parties, coding parties, design parties, etc.
    • Local non-profit and industry events (e.g. Softec)
    • Fundraising events for interesting causes (e.g., SLO Food Bank)


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