10. April 2013–
In the first of a regular guest column on entrepreneurshipismness, the inventor of microchips and the browser refresh button shares his (or her) thoughts on the perfect startup office decor. It's all about the beanbags, yo...
Many wonder how I became so successful. Although inventing the browser refresh button played a part, I owe most of it to my apt choice of office decor.
It's a key ingredient for an illusion of success; what I lacked in business acumen I more than made up for in glittery office equipment.
Here's what your startup needs to go from fool to cool in a hot second...
The pinnacle of professionalism, every startup office should employ at least 56 beanbags to lie in strategic "chillout" zones. Be sure to pick yours up from Ikea, and the more grotesque in colour they are the better. General comfort is not the objective. They're perfect for seating startup friends and other visitors, and they really ring true to the whole "remote working" philosophy that your startup should live by.
Extra cool points if you say: "Let's breakout to the beanbag area"
#2 A ping pong table
Of all the high-intensity sports you could integrate into your company culture, waving one arm about whilst standing still is clearly the top choice. Ping pong tables are an essential piece of the startup office landscape, and considering many developers have strong, flexible wrists, you'll find the playing time rather enjoyable and challenging.
Extra cool points if you say: "It's my serve, isn't it?"
#3 Startup Vitamins Posters
Forget handing out pay rises, shares and high fives for good work, what your employees need for motivation is a Startup Vitamins poster or two. They have to scream "startup" so loudly that Stevie Wonder would know he's at your place. Be creative with where you put them, but be sure to put them *everywhere*. "Get shit done" is apt enough to be stuck in the bathroom for example...
Extra cool points: If you say "That poster is gnarly, man!"
#4 A complex coffee machine
Not just any old coffee machine, but a complex one. So complex, in fact, that no-one really knows how to use it. Your team will try to figure out what all the buttons do, but the ultimate goal here is for it to sit pretty in your kitchen – something others will come to love and understand as they try and fight back illness, caffeine headaches and general disappointment.
Extra cool points if you say: "How'd you like it? Strong or watery?"
#5 A whiteboard
An absolute necessity when you're working digitally, the whiteboard has long been a staple for managers who would feel at home organising the weather. A good starting point is to call a meeting about how you deal with meetings. Be sure to scribble as many gratuitous graphs and tables on it as possible – it'll make for a great photo when the press comes knocking.
Extra cool points if you say: "Can someone write that down, Instagram it and email it to the team?"
#5 A flatscreen TV
Shedding a cool thousand on a 50-inch plasma is another no-brainer. But in the interests of appearing like a functional business, shy away from using it for anything like moving pictures. Hook it up to Geckoboard and display your KPIs in a static, grey, kill-me-forever kind of way. Having the slow death of your business etched onto a wall is great for team morale.
Extra cool points if you say: "Everything's green today"
#6 A dog with a bandana on
What better way to make your office feel warm and welcoming than having visitors confronted with a large, drooling dog. But just any old dog won't do… we have to think big here. You better up your startup game and throw a bandana on it. Bandanas have been found to contain more than 95 per cent disruption.
Extra cool points if you say: "Her name's Zuckerberg"
#7 Empty bottles
Nothing screams "cool" like your flaunting of hydration apparatus. Beer bottles and randomly scattered Club-Mate tops are a must at any startup office. They poetically symbolise your dedication to changing the world and denting the milky way; a reasonable story for any visitor intent on asking why you've ignored the basics of hygiene.
Extra cool points if you say: "There's so many because I stay late"
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