Twenty Four Hour Office

Your business success will depend on the extent to which programmers essentially live at your office. For this to be a common choice, your office had better be nicer than the average programmer’s home.
– Philip Greenspun

Although the idea of working more hours is currently on the wane this remains one of my favourite quotes, it nicely summarises my start up experiences. One of the weird things about my current job is that it’s the first technology company I’ve ever worked that actually closes its offices. All of my previous ones were happy to have people sat on site through the night and on weekends.

Not every one stayed around to work on actual work, some people would be learning some new tech without other distractions, some would be prototyping new ideas, tidying up existing work (we’ve all got that little list of ‘on a quiet day I will do…’) or trying to get ahead so they can skive on the next Friday. It also had the sneaky benefit of having some sys admins and developers on site if things went wrong. When the technology (and the idea behind it is new) nothing beats having the guy who wrote it sitting a couple of desks away. To be honest, I miss both the chance to catch up on my technology interests in a quiet environment with big desks (I live in London - home desk space isn’t cheap ;)) and working with people that care enough to give up their Tuesday night to get that next task done.