“Unfinished Business” Week, Part 4

Square Footage, Part 3

(This is a continuation of the story covered in Square Footage, parts one and two.)

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I referred to four places as “the office” in 2001. The best of these offices was 81 Langton, in San Francisco’s SOMA area.

The company for whom I used to work leased half of the thrid floor of a warehouse in the grungy area near 16th and Potrero. Aside from the expense of paying for a space large enough to hold two simultaneous basketball games and still have enough room for the four of us to work in, the building had other downsides. First, the company off whom we were subletting the space refused to let us share their network closet; their webmaster said that it was a security risk. We ended up spending thousands of dollars building our own network closet because some idiot dot-com was too greedy to share. We also had problems that came up because of the construction that was being done to bring the building up to San Francisco’s earthquake code. There was continuous drilling and jackhammering noise, as well as great clouds of dust. We had to leave the office unlocked to allow the construction workers to enter the office; this resulted in someone sneaking in one night and helping themselves to a couple of new laptop computers. When the landlord announced that they were going to install a brand new set of stairs for the building, we decided that it was time to leave; we didn’t want to have to put up with another six months of construction.

Michelle. our tireless general manager, found a new office in very short order. Two weeks after moving to San Francisco and getting settled into the new office, my stuff was packed and I was getting settled in a newer, nicer office. Check out these photos:

This is a view from the loft, which acted as our meeting room. Below, you can see my desk near the left, Cory’s desk near the window, Michelle’s desk to the right, and the gas heater disguised as a wood-burning stove between Cory’s and Michelle’s desks.

Another view from the loft, showing the staircase, meeting room area and front door.

The work area as seen from office manager Amy’s desk. That’s my desk peeking out from the left, Cory’s semi-deflated Mickey Mouse chair by the pillar, Cory’s desk by the window and Michelle’s deskt to the right.

Ahhh, the kitchen. Stainless steel appliances, glazed concrete counters, and stocked by Webvan. That’s a gas stove, too! Nigella would’ve been impressed.

My desk and Leap chair. I later covered up the wall behind me with posters, photos and postcards in a giant collage. The window offered a view right into the downstairs neighbour’s shower.

This was a much better office than the warehouse; in fact, it was the best office I’d ever worked in. It was a mere 15-minute bike ride from home, close to a couple of good places to eat and a bright sunny place in which to work. I was having a blast working there and tore into my work, a good chunk of which was getting ready to represent the company at the O’Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference in February of that year.

I remember settling into my chair and saying “Yup, I’m really going to like it here.”

Four months later, I was relocated back to Toronto.

Next: San Francisco, you and I have some unfinished business.

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