What is required for a fully operational office of a tech startup? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Stan Hanks, CTO of Columbia Ventures Corp, on Quora:
Most "tech startups" involve people sitting around writing code or designing hardware or something similar. There's a lot of casual and not-so-casual collaboration. So a mix of team and individual contributor. You're going to need, at minimum:
- Internet, and a way to get that to everyone (probably WiFi). As fast as you can get. A good firewall too.
- Desks or tables (I'm a big fan of cheap folding tables, I often use two).
- Whiteboards. You can NOT underestimate the importance of whiteboards. Get as many as you have space for. Seriously.
- Chairs. Chairs are much, much more important than you think. Because you spend so much of your time sitting, this is the one place to really, really spend money. The Herman Miller chairs are totally worth it, when all you do is sit and code for twelve hours straight. Anyone who disagrees has simply not done that kind of comparison.
- Computers. I'm a big proponent of running Macbook Pro's, whether you're using Windows or macOS. I'm also a huge fan of the docking stations and multiple monitors. Developers running two monitors typically have 30-40% more productivity due to not flipping back and forth between tabs to find stuff. So my setup would be MBP 15, Henge Dock, two 1080p monitors, keyboard, mouse, plus a go-bag for laptop and extra power supplies so I don't have to un-cable to go. I can see going to MBP 13, but that's a matter of preference.
- Phones. Everyone has a cell phone, and for starting out, you don't need desk phones. In the main, you don't need desk phones at all. Except when you do. I always go with one of the VOIP providers once I get to the point that where I'm giving out phone numbers to the business. If I want people to call me, I just give them my number, but if I want them to call the business, and talk to whoever the right person is, that's when it's time to get a phone number. But the days of everyone having their own company desk phone, that's pretty much dead.
- Slack. You can start free, but once you're in a few months, you'll want to go to the pro version. It's not much, and the ability to have all of the chat, forever, searchable, is seriously invaluable.
- Software tools. I don't know the specifics of what you're doing, but if you need anything more than Xcode/Visual Studio/Eclipse/emacs, buy it. Don't try to find a free solution if the paid solution works better for your needs. This is not a place to try and save money because you don't save that much money, and it's critical to your success.
And that's about it, until you have customers and revenue.
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