Don’t Code Where You Cook: Tips For Startups To Thrive Without Office Space
Parallel to the old office adage, “Don’t dip your pen in the company’s inkwell,” is the startup version: Don’t code where you cook.
Today, there is an unfortunate imbalance in the office space market. Corporations continue to layoff employees, and leave their glass-walled offices half-vacant, occupied by the “lucky survivors” with overworked stares and underwhelming enthusiasm.
Office space is gold for startups. Many young companies have a hard time finding good, affordable space in a desirable location and this can become an obstacle as entrepreneurs look to build their business from the ground up.
Melissa Thompson, CEO of Talk Session, a and a female pioneer driving innovation in the startup world, offers tips for young companies to overcome the lack of office space and keep their company thriving.
1) Appeal to your local government representative: This startup conundrum is a huge opportunity for local governments. Cities want the infrastructure, intellectual capital, reputation, and youthful vibe brought by startups. Simple aggregation and donation of excess space would increase a district’s popularity and reach into the Web 2.0 economy.
2) Avoid Purgatory: Despite the desk dearth, it is necessary to get exposure beyond the “home/office incubator.” My co-founder and I self-incubated for the first three months of our business, and after three days we referred to it as the purgatory. Get creative and find outside space, you will be more productive!
3) Find Alternative Space Recommendations:
- a. Boutique Hotels: generally all have kind staff and offer free WiFi. Downside? One becomes a bit of a high-tech gypsy.
- b. Ask friend’s with jobs in “fancy offices,” if they know any companies in the building with excess capacity. We have been lucky taking this route.
- c. Loosecubes: great service to find a desk-for-a-day
- d. Planes, trains and buses: for any out town meetings take advantage of the WiFi and uninterrupted silence for hours of roundtrip relaxation.
4) Use Online Collaboration Tools: If you can’t be together with your team every day due to space or geographical constraints, there are some great online collaboration tools that can ensure accountability. Top tools include:
- a. Asana: Great design is simple design. Asana is easy to use and frictionless between developers and non-developers.
- b. Dropbox: I am not sure how I lived without it.
- c. Trello: Great UX, hot with programmers.
About Melissa Thompson: Melissa Thompson left a burgeoning Wall Street career as a trader with Goldman Sachs to become a female pioneer in the world of technology. She is currently the CEO and co-founder of TalkSession, Inc., an online counseling platform in beta mode, that will connect users with highly credible professionals for on-demand, mobile therapy and counseling sessions using proprietary algorithm matching and artificial intelligence. With this cutting-edge technology, TalkSession, Inc. will not only fix inefficiencies in the healthcare system and help de-stigmatize therapy, but help people and inspire them to take risks.
Melissa’s yen for entrepreneurship and social impact was hard felt after exiting the largely male dominated world of finance, where she traded emerging market and commodity derivatives for Goldman Sachs for nearly four years. Her technology career began when Melissa assumed the position of director of business development for Intercast Network, a rich-media interactive platform with a patent-pending technology that allows brands to deliver live content and utilize real-time analytics to increase brand and consumer engagement. She was then named Technology Editor of SCENE magazine, the recently announced publication of The New York Observer. Melissa has helped numerous companies in their digital media and technology innovation campaigns including the United Nations, Chanel, Forbes Magazine, Jetsetter, Publicis, the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, and the New York Stock Exchange.
For TalkSession, Melissa has cultivated a highly impressive Advisory Board, including top mental health physicians at Columbia University and Harvard Medical School, and an award-winning epidemiologist and design expert.
Melissa holds a BA from Barnard College in Economics and studied Chinese and global business strategy at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. She earned her MBA from Columbia Business School, with a focus on new media, management, and social entrepreneurship.