Space: The Everyday Frontier

Mike Peña, Stanford University June 28, 2013

“Regardless of whether it’s a classroom or the offices of a billion-dollar company, space is something to think of as an instrument for innovation and collaboration,” Stanford founder David Kelley says in the foreword for make space. “Space is a valuable tool that can help you create deep and meaningful collaborations in your work and life.”

The — formally, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford — teaches design thinking to graduate students in what many would consider a maker’s paradise in the middle of campus. The book make space chronicles the’s experiences in designing its interior features, instructing readers how to replicate its unconventional furnishings and, just maybe, its extremely creative atmosphere.

We at STVP think a lot about space, too. Currently, our office is quite open, and everything in it — from the desks and chairs to the storage shelves — are movable. Over the summer, we plan to reconfigure our space in a way that will both continue to foster staff interaction and designate areas for the various activities that take place throughout the year.

We’ll share before-and-after photos later this summer on Facebook and Twitter. So be sure to follow us!

Staying Hungry and Humble

In the video clip below, Facebook’s engineering director, Jocelyn Goldfein, tells STVP Executive Director Tina Seelig about the unfinished ceilings, bare concrete floors and bold phrases — such as “Move Fast and Break Things” and “Fail Harder” — written all over the walls of the company’s headquarters.

“The entire environment is meant to keep you from feeling complacent, or comfortable, or like we’ve won,” Goldfein explained during her May 22 Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders talk. “We never want to feel like we’ve won. We always want to feel pretty hungry.”

Being Out in the Open

In this clip, Spotify Co-Founder Daniel Ek shares how he manages to lead a growing company with a workforce distributed on multiple continents. “I don’t think the physical experience can be replaced yet,” says Ek, who admits to traveling extensively and sitting out in the open to encourage conversations in his company’s offices.

Skipping Extravagance

In this conversation with entrepreneur Steve Blank, inDinero Co-Founder Jessica Mah offers a humorous story about the dangers of young startups moving into fancy office spaces. She described how one of the luxuries in hers included a hot tub — a particularly amusing admission to Blank, who invested in inDinero.

But Mah went on to say how inDinero then moved much closer to home: into an apartment down the hall from her own unit. “It’s cheaper,” she said. “Everyone’s in a small room together. So you really feel like you’re in it together.”