Big exciting changes for us
For nearly 8 years, Bill and I (and our consultants) have worked in a "virtual" office. We've worked at client sites and in our home offices, and made extensive use of Skype and IM. We've used space in coffee shops and at the Ann Arbor ITZone to meet one another and to meet with clients (or just to work in between meetings). But, that is all coming to an end very soon. We've leased space in downtown Ann Arbor, enough room for all of us to work.
We have actually been working on this project for a few months, since the ITZone/SPARK merger and new direction was announced (around May). SPARK's focus is more on startups and venture funded companies. That leaves small businesses who have a steady growth plan (and no interest in any sort of outside investment) sort of without a home. It also left the area user groups looking for a new place to meet. We had also been talking about more face-to-face time and searching for a way to make that happen, for a while meeting at the ITZone.
In a very cool convergence of minds, Bill and I realized simultaneously that we thought an office would be a good idea. In the past, we have dismissed this idea. Would either of us REALLY want to go to the office every day? We're both pretty comfortable in our home offices. But yes, we decided that we DID want that. We do want to spend time with other developers. We want that interaction and benefit that being able to bounce ideas off of one another can bring.
For years, we had hoped that the ITZone would offer this sort of workplace for small companies like ours. We talked about how the space at the ITZone could be used as a "Developer Center", a way for people to come and work, maintain focus, pair program, and share insights and ideas. We talked about how this might help us to become "unstuck" when programming problems are vexing.
So, our motivation in getting office space was toward this goal of having this sort of interaction. We're thrilled with the caliber of people we have working with us. These are people we learn from as well as them learning from us. Providing a space where that interaction can occur naturally and more frequently is really compelling.
And, of course, we strongly support the local user groups. We wanted a space that would provide a place that they could use for meeting space as well. We didn't tour available office space that didn't include a large, open area that could be used for this purpose as well as for our own public events.
Our new location at 206 S. Fifth, Suite 200 (that's just above the Linux Box, for Ann Arbor folks) met all of our needs. We signed the lease yesterday and we hope to move in sometime over the next month or so. We'll let you know how our plans develop and we look forward to seeing you there!