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New FC office

Gotta say Joel, it looks gorgeous.  Congratulations on having the balls to do something like this.  You say the landlord paid the tab to build it out - would you mind giving us a ballpark figure on what that was?  How long is your lease for?

The big test will be to see if the strategy of building a super-primo office environment actually pays off - you hire better people, make better products, and (ultimately) make more money.  That is the theory, it will be interesting to see if it works.  NYC must be one of the world's most expensive cities in which to do business.

In any event, good luck.  Time for a "lease-breaker" level of office party I think!

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

My coworker is not too hot on the windows. I mean 95% of the time you are in an office it's business, but how do you close that window if you are having sex?

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Could we see some larger pictures?

The at-angle alcove layout is quite brilliant!

Could we see a single room from different angles? I'm having trouble picturing the 2-side light principle and the layout of an office..thanks!

Rahul Dave
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Great, except for that hideous green. And I'd have to see the translucent stuff in action to know whether or not I'm a believer. I've seen some really awful uses of similar materials in really expensive lofts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

> mean 95% of the time you are in an office it's business,
> but how do you close that window if you are having sex?

You spend 5% of your office time having sex??? ;-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Joel's essay reminds me of an alleged quote from Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman:  "It's not that I'm smart -- it's that everyone else is incredibly stupid."  (Warning: he may not have actually said it.)

Joel's design decisions -- most of them, anyway -- just seem like common sense.  So why don't more people understand this?

J. D. Trollinger
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Leaving alone the $700/month (move to North Dakota already!)...

Who the heck is using the old tangerine iBook?

;^)  Maybe that move to REALbasic is coming sooner than we thought.  Let me know when you're hiring.

R. Bailey
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Ow, those colors make me cross-eyed just on the pictures!Hope you don't have any graphic designers that need to get work done, unless you are reviving Wired circa 1999 ; ).

Robin Debreuil
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

What's your (anyone's) opinion about the hardwood floors?  I've only worked in one office with hardwood floors, and the whole office was terribly loud, at least in part because of the floors.  (This particular office was terrible for all sorts of other reasons, too, so maybe it's not a good example.)

Do they contribute noticeably to the general noise level?  Why did you choose them instead of standard boring office carpet?

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

> You spend 5% of your office time having sex??? ;-)

He never said there were 2 people involved :)

I want to work there.  Too bad I'm about as far away as can be from New York (California, the Recall State).


Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Ummm a slight geographical note, you can be considerably further from New York than California. 

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I hate hardwood floors.

If I had them in my office, I'd bring in either a chuck of carpet or a decent rug (depending on my mood/bank account).

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Great design can be translated from software to anything else.

Good work FC!

BTW: Is it ok to drop by if I am in the neighborhood?

Prakash S
Wednesday, September 24, 2003


2nd comment: The Mac is probably used "to read Joel on Software when your main computer is rebooting to install today's Windows Update"...


Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I love the chartreuse and not just because I have 1/4 my house interior painted that exact shade of pure chartreuse.

Beautiful design, wonderful light -- really something to be proud of. Congrats. Any good developer would be happy to work there.

X. J. Scott
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Those aren't 'desks', they're tables. And there is a decided lack of storage for all my 'stuff' not to mention a lack of drawers, extra flat surfaces, white boards, etc. Nice start but it will take a little more 'livin-in' to get real.

And those hardwood floors, pretty, but try to keep those swank Aeron chairs in one spot while you cross one leg under the other thigh for the 50th time in a day. Weee. Nothing more annoying than an office chair on a frictionless surface.

What about window blinds. Windows are great, unless there is glare, then they suck no less than whole office intercoms.

And the ceilings, how are those setup. Do the walls run all the way up (looks like they might, good). And do the inter-office windows have glass (can't tell)?

And remind me, why do I want translucent walls again. I like to control the light completely in my 'private' office. And I don't think 'plasticized' cardboard offers much sound protection...

david glenn
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Talk about overhead!  Well you get what you pay for.

Its straight out of the .COM , Californeeya-eh scene.  Hip, bright, business with pleasure, and an iMac to boot!

I'd love to work in an environment like that.  I'm just not really sure how much work I'd get done.

But it fulfills Joel's criteria on attracting the best talent.  Now lets see if the theory works.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

It can be quite interesting to read about some of the architects of the 20th century.  Architects like Albert Kahn who designed factories, office buildings and university buildings, Christopher Alexander who wrote about design patterns, and McCue who designed the Santa Teresa labs all were concerned with how the building fit the work of the people who occupied it.  Office architecture has evolved to today's pack as many people into ever smaller cubicles office plans ("veal-fattening pens").

It is wonderful to hear about an office planned with the occupants in mind.  If Joel is inclined to make some comments to this thread, I would really like to hear what his architect, Roy Leone, thinks about this project and the whole concept of work space designed with the workers in mind.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The offices look awesome Joel. I, for one, love the colors and textures. The translucent walls with the bright colors look awesome.

I'd love to see some more pictures as well, to get a ful mental picture of the space.

How do the colors work out, are they the same in every office?

Looks like a kick-ass office space. Congrat's.


Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Effects of hardwood floors:
1) they *always* look dirty (dust bunnies blowing around). The new guy is gonna have to have the task of running a swifter around every evening.
2) No sound absorbtion. This alone makes me shocked Joel chose hardwood.
3) Temperature control may be an issue in the winter, I'm not sure.

Anyone else notice that Joel decries CEO's who design their offices with no input from the managers or employees, then goes and designs his offices as the CEO and we see no mention of manager or employee input? ;-)


Wednesday, September 24, 2003

How do you change the height or position of the table/desk if you don't like it/it's ergonomically not a fit?

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

This reminds me.  Back in 1996 when I was in college I interviewed at Macromedia in the Soma district of San Francisco.  That had to be about the strangest work environment I've ever seen.  There was a slide going down to was like a pit where the programmers worked.  Anyone else been there?  It was a requirement that all developers have green hair I believe as well. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I'm fascinated by the use of angled walls and the cut through window to add an extra source of light.  We're considering leasing an old building with eight foot on center four foot wide windows, but that would make for large boxes of offices with only one window, hardly ideal and quite strange.

Adding the translucent wall is a trick that's not too uncommon to let light filter through from exterior offices, but the cut through is really quite something. 

As to hardwood floors, Joel did note that he was on a budget for the design (that explains the non-ergonomic desks as well).  Carpeting , even industrial grade carpeting with little padding, is still a bit expensive for a large space.  One can cut down on noise in the future by using sound panels and area rugs (and large pieces of soft furniture like couches).  These same tricks work in large houses.

I was curious to see how Joel would end up wiring the offices.  When I wired my workshop i put outlets + strips at the height of the workbenches, which works out nicely since things are constanly being changed, but offices are different with most connections being permanent or longer termed, the hidden trough makes a lot of sense.  And the UPC wired outlets is ingenious, I had not considered that for our use ( I was coming to the conclusion that I would end up with a UPC in each office, yuck).

I'm impressed Joel, you've managed to make an excellent start for the new office on a very small budget.  For those wondering, most landlord paid buildouts are approximately $30/sq ft (depending on location, lease length, rent, etc).  Of course the usually deduct heat, installed fixtures, lights, and other smaller items to get it down to 20 - 24/sq ft.  And then there's the whole "What's a square foot" issue.

I think we would all appreciate a few more pictures and/or blueprint/layout schematic of the offices Joel, this is something else and clearly something that you've put a lot of time into.  Best of luck with the new office.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I know that most of you avoid slashdot like the plague, but every once in awile, a good quote will make it.

Try this... (sic)

Re:My desk is in a *hallway*... (Score:3, Funny)
A friend of mine had her desk in a closet. Just the desk. If you saw her at the office and didn't know what was going on, you'd think that they put her against the wall as a timeout. Being openly Lesbian, this led to incessant jokes about being in and out of the closet. Not that she minded (I wouldn't be surprised if she actualy initiated it) .. In fact, in the telling of it, I'd say that she seemed downright proud of it.

Too funny...

Ok, back to work...


Wednesday, September 24, 2003

"As to hardwood floors, Joel did note that he was on a budget for the design (that explains the non-ergonomic desks as well).  Carpeting , even industrial grade carpeting with little padding, is still a bit expensive for a large space."

You have *got* to tell me where you shop that hardwood is cheaper than carpeting (even industrial!)


Thursday, September 25, 2003

I presumed that the hardwood floors were already present, making them a no-cost item. 

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Ah, sorry - yes, that's true. I was coming from the perspective of "install carpet" vs. "install hardwood"

You're probably right.


Thursday, September 25, 2003

I also noticed the non-adjustable tables. I don't think it's wise to sacrifice ergonomics for, e.g., wired UPS outlets. Note also that on Joel's photos, the computer screens are placed right on the table. As most people are quite tall nowadays, a screen (even a large one) should be placed a bit higher, so that a person's eyes are the same height as the upper border of the screen when sitting upright. Otherwise you tend to "crawl into" the screen with your backbone bent to unhealthy shapes.

Sorry for this criticism; the remaining ideas for the office are just great.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The flat desks (tables really) reminded me of an office I worked at which outfitted themselves with AnthroCarts.  They were wonderfully built -- you could have stood a hippo on one -- but they ended up frustratingly covered in crap, because there was no built-in storage, and nowhere to put anything without having to get up and/or wheel the chair over to some detached storage cabinet.

No big deal, you might think, but after a while I would have killed to just have a simple, sturdy under-desk pencil drawer and file drawer that I could open without moving from the keyboard. In the end, the clean aesthetic was somewhat spoiled by piles of paper and office supplies that grew into festering piles on everyone's desk.

So much thought went into the technical practicality; the wiring, the lighing, etc. But I just wonder: where does everyone keep their pencil sharpener / spare staples / health insurance info? :)

Friday, September 26, 2003

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