Everyone’s heard of startups being “run out of a garage” — from Apple’s original home to Facebook’s early residence in Palo Alto, working out of a house has been point of pride for tech entrepreneurs.
It’s not often that we get to take a look inside one of these startups while they’re still at this point. Usually, office walkthroughs only happen once a company has moved into a slick HQ that comes complete with a gym and game room.
That’s why we were thrilled when Los Angeles-based Enplug, a one-year-old startup that makes interactive displays for bars and restaurants in Southern California, decided to give us an inside look at the home that serves as the main office and residence for the company’s team of coders and designers.
By removing the difference between home and office, developers are free to work at any time of day or night. This setup seems equal parts “cultish” (in Enplug CEO and co-founder Nanxi Liu’s words) and fun — there’s less pressure to work all day when things can be done at night, but it also makes it harder to define when “down time” really is.
Employees I’ve spoken to have told me that the setup makes working feel like spending time with family. In fact, some of the employees are family: two of the company’s developers got married before moving in with Enplug. For their part, they say the free food and rent is worth “the lack of privacy.”
The garage serves as a quiet place to work (when laundry isn't being done) and also a place to store displays that aren't in use yet.
Like many coders, the Enplug team has a few coffee snobs (I'm half-kidding). Here they are making espresso.
They can't put the car in the garage since it's filled with displays, but they make up for it by making car washes a team activity.
The Enplug living room tends to look more like a Best Buy showroom than a place where people reside.
The kitchen is always kept stocked with food and beverages, so coders can focus on work and not getting their next meal.
Enplug's displays have to be configured to be readable and eye-catching in a variety of restaurant and bar settings, from well-lit scenarios...
One can imagine how easy this was to get used to for the team. 'You want me to relax on the couch all day and code? Yeah, I can do that.'
Here's an example of how an Enplug display might be used - a general ad for the location with social media info, a few relevant tweets, and a preset image. Also, let it be noted that Enplug is not above using cats for self-promotion.
Oh look, more displays (it's unfortunate that they take precedence for couch space over team members).
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