Tonight we started packing up the studio. It felt good, at first and then a little sad. It was supposed to be a place we could make ours, grow in and a place that provided more than a desk to sit at. It was supposed to be our home.
But then there was the thing about asbestos that made us look, think and feel differently about our studio. When we decided that we were going to move out, that was it. It became temporary and turned from something we felt vested in to make ours, into a “it’s just for a few more weeks”.
Yesterday I read a post by Joel from Buffer about their open experimentation culture and how it changes somewhat when you grow. In it he talks about trying things that you reckon will be a great idea and then realising that maybe it wasn’t so great after all, but how it’s a vital part of experimenting and learning what works and what doesn’t. To some extent it was a little like that with the studio for us. It was a great space that, with some paint and additional furniture pieces, would have been lovely. Lots of light and great big windows. And lots of walls for post its, mocks ups and planning.
What wasn’t great was that the building doesn’t have a common area for everyone to meet in. It’s something we missed and which, if we look back at our time at WeWork, was incredibly valuable to have. I personally missed it a lot and more so as time passed by. I thrive on being around people, to see a variety of things and to get input from different sources. If the office, the restrooms and the staircases are the only place we can go, then it makes it s bit stale. No matter how lovely we’d made the studio, little by little I reckon it would have worn me down and had a negative impact on my creativity, productivity and motivation.
But it wasn’t just about me. It was increasingly about the team and what they would benefit from. I want our team to be around other people who they can get to know, be inspired by and learn from as well as chat to and laugh with on a day to day basis. I want them to have random conversations with people they don’t yet know when they go and make a cup of tea or coffee. To make their own connections outside of Glimt and maybe even friendships. When you’ve worked in a great place where you have a strong sense of belonging, like Dare where I used to work, then the bar really can’t be any lower than that. Nothing can ever replace the golden days at Dare, but growing the Glimt team into something that has the same feel as Dare had on the Margaret Street days, that is what I aim for, but it’ll take some time until our team is big enough to offer the benefits of a big team.
There’s usually something positive with every less positive thing that happens and the asbestos situation made us realise what we’d actually learnt and miss. One day an office of our own will be great, but for now a place where we can meet other people who are also working on startups, or their own projects, is what will benefit and suit us best. Preferably also a place without asbestos.