In February, Anton
joined us as our first designer, which meant our projects looked 17 times as professional. He hadn't even worked a full day when the whole company hopped on a ferry over to Pender Island for our first company retreat.
We rented a beautiful lodge and spent two days brainstorming and getting to know each other. We talked into the night about where we wanted to take the company and what we wanted to do with our lives.
came on-board as People-Match's project leader. Several weeks later, Dave
joined the AdNet team to develop our network and to build sales further.
The influx of new people also brought some unforeseen benefits. People brought fresh perspectives to the mill, and we also became less reliant on any one person. It was nice to know that everything didn't come to a halt if someone was sick or on vacation.
In March of 2003, we got serious in our search for more office space. The process was taking longer than we had hoped, because we refused to settle for anything less than The Right Space. We wanted space that actually inspired
us. Several times, we found space that might have been perfect but each time something went awry.
At one point, the engineers next door offered to build out their space to suit our needs. After some negotiation we came to a formal agreement, only to have the deal fall apart when they weren't approved for a building they wanted to buy.
We found another space where the tenant hadn't been paying their rent. The landlord agreed to cancel their lease if we signed. We met the landlord's terms but were left shaking our heads when the tenant decided to pay up instead of move out. Four people in 4500 square feet that they didn't need.
We ran across another beautiful space, down by the waterfront. It was open and inspiring, and just outside in the doorway, people slept off the night before. Nope. The whole process was incredibly frustrating. Each time, we tried not to get our hopes up, but it was hard because we were stuck in our space like sardines. We needed out, in a hurry.
And then we found it.
Our new digs were right across the alley from our old offices. They're everything we wanted, with plenty of brick and skylights. All they needed was a little work.
After three years in Bastion Square, we were moving on. When we arrived there were four of us. Now there were fifteen.
To make the new space our own, we chose five paint colours that worked in various combinations. The halls and conference room are a professional beige and light/dark blue. Inside their offices, people had complete freedom to do whatever they wanted. We ended up with all kinds of creative combinations - if you visit be sure to check out the red room and the green submarine room.
We got rid of the life-draining fluorescent lights and installed high-quality track lighting. We now have a proper kitchen area, and our own in-space washrooms which we declared unisex. We've got a full-size boardroom and smaller meeting room, both with plenty of hot whiteboard action.
And we all have doors. Doors that close.
We strung our phone and internet cables across the alley when our connections weren't installed in time. The ingenious setup, which we dubbed 'GhettoNet' stayed up for at least a month, barely clearing the garbage trucks as they lifted the big bins overhead to empty them.
Many of the improvements in the new space were under the hood. Phone cords and ethernet cables used to run along the walls in big bundles. Now they're all tucked nicely inside the walls where they belong.
In the old space, the wiring hadn't been upgraded in a long time. Our best guess is the year 1643. If we blew a fuse we had to go next door and ask to see their fusebox, because that's where our fuses lived. Both of them. Yep, we had two 15-Amp fuses, for 15 people and their computers, lights and servers. In our new space we have so many fuses we could use 'em to prop up wobbly tables.
For our servers, instead of a crawl space under the stairs, we've got a locked room with air-conditioning and a rooftop exhaust fan. We also picked up a more powerful phone system on eBay because our current system couldn't handle the call volume.
We ended up with a few perks we were hoping for; a dishwasher, shower and a dedicated lounge. Complete with beer fridge.
Check out the before and after pictures, or continue with our story.