I’m in Palo Alto for two weeks, and we’ve just moved into our new offices. Feel free to stop by if you want a demo of our latest product release, or just get coffee or tea at Café Venetia, which has become our most regular hangout.
After having visited five different locations in Pudong, we have decided to setup our new Shanghai offices in the Citigroup Tower, using the services of Servcorp. This Class A office building is 5 minutes away from our hotel and 5 minutes away from an excellent shopping mall with underground supermarket. We will initially take an office for 4 to 5 people.
We decided to work with Servcorp because of the quality of their office space and the professionalism of their staff. We were especially impressed by Elly Zhang, one of their sales manager. She is extremely friendly, has an impecable English, and was very flexible in terms of pricing and deal structure.
We will start with a virtual office right away in order to facilitate the registration process of our Chinese subsidiary, then move to our physical office in early October. In the meantime, we will continue working from our hotel and might rent some meeting room on a daily basis whenever we need one, especially if we hire a first developer before the company is fully established.
Today, Ken and I visited four possible locations for our upcoming office space in Shanghai. After a few discussions, we narrowed down our options to the BEA Finance Tower managed by Regus and the Citigroup Tower managed by Servcorp.
Both are within walking distance of our hotel and provide excellent amenities. Regus has a larger base of offices around the world, but we were very impressed by Servcorp’s IT services. Prices are comparable, even though we must be careful about variable components.
We will visit a few more spaces in the next couple of days and make a final selection by the end of the week. We will initially start with a virtual office in order to get our Chinese subsidiary incorporated as soon as possible, then move into the actual office sometime in September.
Our tea collection is growing out of control. It started small, but week after week, we added new blends. Over time, more and more people started to contribute. A couple of weeks ago for example, we received these fantastic Rishi canisters from one of our board members. And last week-end, we added a few black teas to our mostly green collection. We might need some kind of an intervention. Or a second cabinet.
I think I’ll go for the second cabinet…
We’ve decided to turn our meeting room into some kind of a lounge. It will be furnished with a round table and four chairs for meetings, one or two sofas, a lounge chair, a coffee table, a small workstation, a large TV screen, and a whiteboard.
In a nutshell, it will be the place where you can go either to make noise (meeting, call), or to find silence (coding, meditation, nap), and we want the setup to be as inviting as possible, while remaining very flexible.
Since we’re on a tight budget, furniture will be sourced from IKEA again, but I’ve decided to recycle a lounge seat that was in my bedroom and wasn’t really used anymore. It’s definitely not the kind of thing that a startup could afford (genuine Eames Lounge and Ottoman), but it should get a lot more use than it did at my home.
Reduce, reuse, recycle…
We just amended our lease so that we can extend our office space with another 300sqft to be used as a meeting room. We’ll get the keys for it tomorrow and will add furniture in a week or two, immediately after our upcoming 0.2 release (the one with automated provisioning).
Following the advice of one of our advisors, we’ve decided to setup our Shanghai office in downtown Pudong (Shanghai City Centre). It will save us about an hour a day in transportation from our hotel to the office, and will help us attract even stronger talent.
Our little enterprise is less than two months old, but we already outgrew our current office space. When we moved in, we took one suite out of the two that were available on top of a dental office in downtown Palo Alto. The other suite was still vacant, and we considered getting a lease for it as soon as we could afford it. This time has come, and we made an offer for it yesterday. This morning, we learned that our offer had been accepted. As a result, we’re upgrading from 350sqft to 650sqft. The first suite will be used as coding room, while the second one will be turned into a meeting room. We will equip it with tables, chairs, and a sofa. Now, I just wish I could convince our COO to add a pinball machine as well…