We see a pattern here, and we are curious
The e27 team has covered several startup HQs and co-working spaces for our ‘In photos’ feature. From a warehouse where products are shipped from to a funky office where employees choose to sleep in on Friday nights, we have seen it all.
(Well, our secret ambition is to have a look at what is going on at the Theranos laboratory or SpaceX’s workshop, but those are different stories for different time. Or for a different publication since we cover Asian startups)
In our visits, we noticed that there are items that seem to exist in almost every company. Here is a list of those things, and what we think about them.
1. Superhero action figures
Superhero action figures are such a staple in startup HQs that Deliveree even gives each employee a Funko Pop! toy on their first day at work. But why, though?
Perhaps to maintain the inner child in every startup founder, so that they can continue to remain creative. But it is also possible that these founders just happen to fulfill the tired stereotype of superhero fans.
They are also likely to cry out to the action figures for help during times of trouble.
2. Bean bags
We suspect that sales for bean bags skyrocketed with the Internet boom in the late 1990s. But let us be brutally honest: They are not exactly the most comfortable to sit on.
If you are working on your laptop, you are going to need something to lean your back on but the bag changes shape whenever you move. If you are using them to sleep on, then most of your body will be on the floor, which is only okay if the floor is carpeted or is made of wood. You can try to curl up on it, but then it would be awkward.
3. Instant food
Pizzas and potato chips are always abundant, but here in Asia we love our instant noodles. In fact, Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have always graced the top spots in the Ramen Rater Top Ten list.
Some like it spicy, some like it with soy sauce. Some people even eat theirs with cheese! Whatever your style is, instant noodles will always be there for you in a way your partner won’t.
4. Motivational quotes
To remind you why you are here. To pick you up when you are down. To post on Instagram. To impress visitors. To justify whatever mad idea you are developing.
5. Glass that you can write on in lieu of whiteboards or blackboards
The blackboards are reserved for motivational quotes in colourful chalk.
6. Someone in a hoodie
A hoodie is most suitable in an air-conditioned office room. One can also pull up the hoodie when in ‘do not disturb’ mode. Hey, it can even cover up the fact that you have been wearing the same shirt since last week!
How many can you spot here?
7. Skateboards, bicycles, scooters or hoverboards for those past Series A
Whether it is owned by an employee or bought by the company, they are there to help people move faster. Or simply because they are fun to use.
8. That unfinished look
You look up at the ceiling to find pipes and cables exposed. Or the bare wall beside you is made of bricks.
Something is aesthetically pleasing about the whole thing, but it might be a different story if the look is not intentional.
What’s the philosophy behind it? Continuous improvement?
9. Foosball and other games
Because one cannot afford to have a real football field at the office. Besides, having to call those boys back to work once they get engaged in a tough game is just impossible.
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