02/13/2017Mike Romo

Bringing the Geek to Silicon Beach

It is fitting, somehow, to write this piece on Six Foot office culture while in-between them — in this case 30,000 feet in the air, flying from Houston back home to Los Angeles, where I live, and where I work in our office in Marina del Rey. My team and I have spent the past few months thinking a lot about spaces, real and virtual, and how we feel when we visit them — so this seems like a good time to sit down and write about our office culture!

Our Six Foot offices each reflect not only the kinds of efforts and work we support, but the cities in which they reside. Six Foot LA drives work that involves a lot of listening, writing, collaborating, strategizing, planning…and, well, more planning. To that end, our space is centered around one big open space — the middle of the office is basically configured like a living room, which itself is surrounded by one and two person offices. So our team regularly meets “at the couches” to brainstorm or evaluate work and then we can go back to our individual offices and get moving on the next project (usually with the doors open!). Of course, most of our offices, and our conference room, include pretty sizable whiteboards and TVs, which are useful to sketch out ideas, evaluate and share proposals, or view video content.

The TVs are also helpful because we work closely with several teams in our Houston and Berlin offices, so much of our time is spent in video conference sessions on Skype or HipChat. Recently, we reconfigured our conference room, and I gotta say, we’re really proud of it. Our favorite piece, by far, is the super cool conference room table made from recycled steel, which pays a bit of homage to the industrial touches in our building, with its cement floors, exposed wooden planks in the ceilings, and the pervasive aluminum air ducts. Instead of rolling office chairs, we added six padded chairs that make the room less “office-y” and, well, pretty homey. (Don’t tell the couches but we’ve seen a lot more of our meetings migrate into the conference room.)

Throughout the space we have a lot of artwork, prints, and movie posters (it is LA after all!) that inspire us and each of our offices are basically mini museums of fandom, ranging from Batman to Buffy, Star Trek to The Muppets, and, of course, Star Wars— there’s a fairly heavy emphasis on Star Wars throughout the office.

(Between you and me I’ll admit it—basically all the stuff that my wife used to “tolerate” now has a home in my office. And I don’t think I’m alone.)

Indeed, whenever we have people come into the office for meetings, we tend to start a bit late because our guests usually want to play with our toys or really check out one of our collections!

2017 brings a lot of opportunities with it, but one of the projects I am most excited for is the branding and interior design work we’re doing with our new Houston space. We’re looking at various materials and graphics elements that reflect the work and energy that Six Foot is known for, and we’re making sure that the LA and Berlin offices leverage some of the brand touches to added a quiet consistency across our spaces. We want to make sure that all of our offices feel like Six Foot, while very much reflecting the city in

which it resides. So, we’re looking at different wall graphics, updated primary and secondary colors on our walls and columns, and other elements that make every visiting Six Footer consider our space as their second (third?) home. To that end, we’ve also made sure to keep a few offices “standing by” for our colleagues to use when they visit clients and partners in California. And, of course, we have several game systems for visiting press and clients to check out Grey Box games, and a full VR system to use to test projects and see how that technology continues to evolve.

Of course, one has to go outside once in awhile! Our office is in a rapidly developing part of Marina del Rey, which is only about 15 minutes (depending, of course, on traffic) from LAX. We’ve got a great hotel just a few blocks away, which is perfect for the aforementioned visitors. We’re surrounded by restaurants, grocery stores and even a hip gym, so once we get to work, we don’t usually need to drive—we’ve got everything we need in walking distance, which can be pretty unusual for Los Angeles! We get lunch together regularly, often walking to the restaurants nearby, and a couple of us suffer together through a few classes at the gym after work. We also strive to keep track of the various happy hours featured in the neighborhood (a part-time job in and of itself) and have made friends with more than a few bartenders in the area, including our favorite, The Corner Door, where we often bring visiting thirsty Six Footers.

All in all, we’re really proud of our home-away-from-home. I’ve worked in lots of different kinds of environments, from tragically hip SoHo spaces in New York City to soul-sucking beige pens in Cupertino, and I have to admit, my office is one of my favorites (okay, it’s my actual favorite). While nothing is ever “finished” (I’m still waiting on estimates for new paint and some modifications to a wall), I think our office does its “job” well: to support open collaboration, quiet thought, and the ability connect with our friends in Houston and Berlin.

Now, if only we could find a wall for that other Star Wars poster…

“Six Foot LA drives work that involves a lot of listening, writing, collaborating, strategizing, planning…and, well, more planning.”