office hunting lessons for a small tech shop

I’ve read Joel Spolsky for years, and he never ceases to amaze me that there are really people out in the world who get it. The dot com boom may have come and gone, but there are plenty of us IT guys who would love to do something great in a worthwhile environment, but are mired in the “cheap” majority of business, just like the architects near the end of Joel’s latest article on finding new office space. And read that section carefully, it’s an excellent circular reference back to getting results from professionals by helping them out of the mundane.

There will be a reception area with a dry creek of stones and pebbles and plants that will make a great first impression on our guests. There will be a big lunchroom, because we all eat together, as well as a coffee bar, a lounge, a 180-gallon saltwater aquarium, the aforementioned shower, a library with reclining chairs for naps, two private meeting rooms, 20 private offices for programmers, 23 adjustable-height workstations for everyone else, Wi-Fi, a big screen for movies and video games, and enough glass to build the world’s largest ant farm. We will have some room to grow, finally. And in two years, if all goes well, it will be too small for us.

I’d almost become a programmer just for that!

Yeah, I know, that sounds like a plush job where people can slack off and do no work. But that’s really not true, especially for the talent Fog Creek wants to attract. Besides, you put money into employees, you don’t try to wring them dry and put as little as humanly (or inhumanly) possible. Put money in, provide a creative atmosphere, get value out. I’m sure the costs of the employee amenities is a drop in the bucket compared to the value they’ve generated in return.