Bootstrapping

IMG_8382 I just set up my work space. It's a chair from an old job, where when the company dissolved they let us keep our chairs. An iMac from a previous job that had gotten smashed in a move that I'd fixed (since IT wanted to decommission it after it was damaged, they let me keep it). My late grandfather's desk.

It's a great place to work. It's a combination of high-tech, and something that feels very familial and historic to me, it's comfortable, and most importantly at this stage, cost us nothing. (I lust after a 2nd monitor, but that can wait until we've got a reason for it other than vanity.)

My philosophy about gear has always been that when you're hiring people, if you're going to spend money on gear, the two things you should absolutely not skimp on are the chair & the computer (for game dev, obviously - different stuff for different jobs). Later, that got modified to something more flexible - spend whatever you need to do to create a comfortable environment for folks. Saving $100 on a chair that is noticeably less comfortable than the more expensive option just isn't worth it. Saving $500 on a computer that's noticeably slower will cost you significantly more money in the long run. These things seem like savings, but they're not.

 

That said, when you're starting out, you make do with whatever you have on hand. We used to stack IKEA objects together to make standing desks when we needed them for people. They weren't pretty, but they were better for folks who needed a standing option than nothing, and they were orders of magnitude cheaper. We'd spend money on the computer & the chair, and then try to find creative solutions for everything else.

Once you have resources, though, then it's not about creative solutions, it's about accommodating as wide a variety of desires as possible. At bigger companies, you have to "justify" things like standing desks. You need a prescription from a doctor. Why? Because the company thinks that people will abuse the system? If someone's going to abuse a system to get a peculiar work environment, then a.) that's a dumb system to abuse, and b.) if you think people are going to abuse stuff like *that*, then why on Earth did you hire them in the first place?

If someone takes the time to ask you for something, they're doing so because they've thought it through. Your job isn't to say "no," it's to find a way to say, "yes." You might ask "why" here and there, to ensure that the solution they're proposing is the best one *in context*, since you're likely to have some information they may not - but again, the goal isn't to find a way to say "no". The goal is to make things work. It's really weird to say that, because of how staggeringly obvious it seems. But at the same time, at every large company I've worked at, the default answer for everything is "no" and it's always a fight to get a "yes" out of someone. It's stupid. It's counterproductive. It *is* an environment of mistrust, where you are not allowed to exert your own judgment. It may seem like a small thing, but it's not.

 

Anyway. Yeah. Finally set up in a consistent place. Good times.