At SocialRadar, we have been busyplatform for iOS, Google Glass and Android devices that gives you real-time information about the people around you, monster energy outlet while giving you full control over your privacy. This will fundamentally change the way you meet and interact no matter where you are.
And as with any new venture, we are building more than a mobile app. We are also building a company. For us, that revolves around three priorities: (1) assemble a smart, creative team, (2) develop a vibrant culture, (3) establish office space that inspires that team to foster that culture.
HQ in DC, take two
Considering what our mobile app does, we’re particularly attuned to the importance of location. For the first few months, the SocialRadar team was working out of my home office. It was designed for two. When we were just shy of a dozen, everyone (desperately) agreed that it was time to find some “real” office space.
As I recently wrote about in the Wall Street Journal, there was never a question that our headquarters would be in the District of Columbia. In 1997, I started Blackboard in a small brownstone just off Dupont Circle and the company stayed in the District as we expanded. When Blackboard outgrew the brownstone, we moved into another building that we would also fairly quickly outgrow. Eventually the company swelled to over 3,000 employees, of which 500+ were located in DC, facilitating yet another move to its current location occupying several floors in a corner building by the Verizon Center.
The location I chose for SocialRadar appealed to me for multiple reasons: it has access to multiple Metro stops, it’s in close proximity to multiple colleges (great recruiting for developers), and it’s smack in the center of a thriving urban environment offering a choice of restaurants and other facilities that make it a more desirable place to work.
In addition 1776 – a central spot for start-ups that needed desk space and a general hangout for the tech scene – was being established a few blocks away.
Lastly, and funnily, the SocialRadar building just so happens to be the same building Blackboard moved into when it outgrew the brownstone all those years ago. That first move worked out so while I don’t wait around for luck, I’m not one to dismiss destiny.
Building the culture into the office
The SocialRadar team moved in to a vacant space. On day one, we did not have even a desk. But what we did have was a vision.
We partnered with design and architecture firm Wingate Hughes, who had worked with Canvas Co. and Living Social. We liked their focus on culture as a key part of design. We described the type of culture we were trying to build and brainstormed ways to manifest that in the physical space.
The result: a vibrant environment that fosters teamwork and fuels innovation, emanating a laid-back West-Coast vibe in a fast-growing, fast-paced, fun-filled East Coast tech hub.
Welcoming the greater community into our community
We have desks now. And even chairs. And the app is close to launch.
So we are ready for another big move: inviting our peers, friends, and other DC influencers into an office and culture (and, of course, mobile app) we have worked so hard to create.
This Thursday November 21, over 250 community members who have RSVPed will check out our digs, meet the radar operators, enjoy drinks and apps (the food kind), get their photos taken in front of our larger-than-life logo, and hobnob with founders, investors, marketers, and other luminaries of the DC entrepreneur community.
Now in private testing, the SocialRadar app will open up for a broader beta in the weeks to come. Sign up today.
And stay tuned for our next big shindig, already in the planning stage: the official launch event in Q1 2014.