In my time at LexBlog, I’ve seen three different office buildings and worked in two.
The first LexBlog offices where my first “real” desk job began was on 95 South Jackson Street in Pioneer Square. The building was near the waterfront, and a stone’s throw away from the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Our CEO, Kevin O’Keefe (he of Real Lawyers Have Blogs), lives on Bainbridge and so LexBlog has always stuck near the ferries. The offices were nice; brick walls, open layout, corner offices with good views, but toward the end of LexBlog’s lease we were neighbors with one of the largest construction projects in Seattle’s history.
In 2014 we moved to the Dexter Horton Building on 2nd Avenue. Still next to the ferries (I think Kevin clocked it at a 6 minute run to his terminal), but in a more “grown up” space for our team. At that point, LexBlog’s headcount was nearing 30 and we were moving toward a business model that would likely require a few more brains and needed space to stretch our feet.
Dexter Horton is a fine building, but as the years wore on, and the company’s focus shifted from a hybrid agency-service model to one with a greater emphasis on technology (still with great service though – big shout-out to our Success Team!), it became clear that those offices had outlived their purpose. We were (and are) a team of just under 20 now, with two of our most senior employees working remotely and a handful of Seattle LexBloggers working from home one or two days a week. The offices on the 6th floor of Dexter Horton grew quiet and cavernous.
As we looked for a new space, our intrepid COO Garry Vander Voort seemed to grow increasingly annoyed with the state of office space in Seattle. With Amazon flexing their muscles, and the startup scene in Seattle truly just beginning, the cost of space is on the rise. This is especially true in Pioneer Square, where the hip new kids on the block are moving to in droves.
On what I assume was a particularly frustrating or existential day, Garry floated the idea of a more flexible work arrangement. Instead of signing a six year lease, laden with setup, maintenance, and general office costs, why not approach the office like we approach technology: Outsource the things that your company isn’t suited to do to a company that is.
WeWork, who just got a $4.4 billion investment from SoftBank Group, is a company that provides office space as a service to freelancers, remote workers, and small and large businesses. The service is shockingly simple: WeWork leases office space, designs the layouts, and then rents the space to its members. As a business, you can rent as many “seats” as you’d like, and group offices together (currently LexBlog has two two-person offices with one six-person office and plans to grab a few more spaces) based on your needs.
At first, the idea seemed silly. Joshua Lynch, our CTO, had tossed this idea around during our last move to Dexter Horton, but I had never taken it seriously. As we talked more, three things became clear:
- Josh was taking this seriously
- Kevin was taking this seriously
- Garry was taking this seriously
So I did as well.
After visiting the space and re-reading A Year Without Pants for the third time, I became convinced.
Today, I’m writing from a two-person office on the third floor in WeWork’s Holyoke Building in Pioneer Square, just blocks away from our old offices. I’ve been here for nearly a month, and could not be happier. The space is more vibrant and abuzz with activity, interesting companies surround us, allowing LexBloggers to see and interact with people from all walks of life and industry, and the cold brew is nice too 🙂
Our old offices are still open, but nearly empty. Here’s a look at how things look currently:
While there are parts of the Dexter Horton Building that I’ll miss, the space at WeWork is far better suited to where we are and where we’re going as a company. The opportunity to work at WeWork’s other Seattle locations is something I’ll explore as we get settled in, but for now, Holyoke is our new home and it’s feeling pretty cozy so far.
As per my promise a few months ago, this post was written using Gutenberg (an updated version!). Overall, there have been some significant improvements. Not as many odd jumps or bugs around inserting content, although the flow still leaves something to be desired. Image editing/placement is tricky, and porting over from my localhost to production is already getting tiring. Sometimes the way you insert blocks is counterintuitive. Lots of improvements to be made, but seems like the team is on the right track. Matt Mullenweg just wrote about the project over on his blog; if you use WordPress and are interested in the future of the WordPress post editor, I’d highly encourage reading it.