“The house you were born in.” It’s a romantic sentiment that equates to an eternal fondness for the place where one takes his or her first breath of life. One visits the place later in life, perhaps during one’s mid-life crisis, and the memories of where one learned to walk, talk and chew with his or her mouth closed put everything in perspective.
Like most, I was born in a hospital, and my Mom’s occupation (military) forced us to move every couple of years during my childhood. So, I suppose there are many places I was “born in.” Places where I had my “firsts,” and learned life’s lessons. Speak Social’s now-vacant first office on West Anderson Lane was one of those places.
We packed up our last box and, like the series finale of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” turned off the lights to an empty room once filled with Nerf guns, typography books, glass-top desks, and the aroma of gourmet coffee. As we left, I remembered my first visit to the office, an interview I was so nervous for that I sat in my car for 10 minutes prior to entering the office, and leaving thinking what an amazing, open, and creative vibe the place had. After my visit, I desperately wanted the job. I wanted to work with those people in that office.
Despite its many shortcomings, the office served its purpose. The not-so-private conference room, where conversations and brainstorm sessions could be heard throughout the office, was a creative factory where ideas took shape and campaigns came to life. Adorned with dry-erase boards and markers, pictures, catchphrases, graphs, webs of words, and bullet points written in every primary and secondary color one can think of resulted in a mix of Matisse and Renoir. Truly a work of art.
The refrigerator, often filled with the strangest mix of single food items from every Speak Social employee, had a tendency to fluctuate in temperature, never deciding whether it wanted to be a freezer or just a box. But, it worked well enough to keep our lunches cold for a few hours, at least. The microwave, on the other hand, served two purposes: heating our food and killing the internet.
The office’s token fake plant served as our Christmas tree, and our resident cardboard cut-out of Yoda served as, well, he was a general stand-in for a lot of things.
Like every office, people came and went. Friends, partners, clients, employees and interns stayed, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few years, and each one had a lasting impact on the office and the people in it.
There are a lot of things I will miss about the office, but much of this is sure to continue elsewhere at our new office. The Nerf gun wars, silly pranks on Scott, and complaints about the internet are sure to return. We are in the midst of securing a new home for Speak Social and will keep everyone abreast of our future plans.
But for now, we bid the birthplace of Speak Social the warmest, most tender adieu one can imagine. We are definitely gonna miss you, West Anderson.