When Citysquares first launched as an idea I was still running Atomic Enterprises. We had an office in downtown Boston, near the Orpheum Theatre and across from the Park Street T station. It was a great location. The office left a lot to be desired though – there were break-ins, fires, junkies lingering outside, criminal activity in front of our door, and lots of shadiness.
Back in September of ’06 we (Citysquares) moved out and went virtual. Getting an office wasn’t a priority for a while, as it was saving us good money and we were still productive. But it didn’t take long for morale to take a dive. That was tough, really tough at time. Bob lives in Groton, about an hour away, and Chris, at the time, lived down the street from me. He’d come to my house and work in the basement with me – awkward, yes, but necessary for us to maintain sanity. Bob continued to work from home, in Groton.
Over time, morale took a big dive and we were losing productivity – starting to get frustrated with the situation. An office was immediately necessary but we really couldn’t afford anything, – then came the funding.
We were in the market for an office. Having had an office in the past I knew the operational headaches that come with a regular office – a lease, utilities, Internet service, phone service, parking, security, cleaning/maintenance, and all of the other bullshit that comes with it. Then, you end up spending 10-15% of your time dealing with all that – paying those bills, dealing with outages, changes, etc etc. Argh! No thank you! I need to be productive. We, as a company, need to be productive. A shared office space would be ideal.
We looked at HQ, Regus – no thanks. Too corporate, stodgy. If we were a law firm or a brokerage of some sort, sure why not. They were also pretty darn pricey. Then we checked out Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Let’s just say we weren’t treated too well so that didn’t work out. We fell in love with TechSpace in the South End, but we weren’t too thrilled with the location and needed a little added incentive.
We dealt with Paul McBride, the site manager at TechSpace. Paul was very assertive at winning our business. We put up a bit of a fight and weren’t totally convinced that TechSpace would suit our needs. We had very specific and technical requirements, especially pertaining telecommunications. Paul bent over backwards for us and proved to us that we’d be a valued tenant here at TechSpace. Eventually he had to let go and leave us to make the decision, which we did after a ridiculous amount of internal discussion.
We moved into TechSpace in one day, about a month ago. We’re extremely pleased! Paul has proven to be a fantastic resource for us here, and the admin staff, Myrna and Grace, are top-notch. There’s a cafeteria-like set-up here run by a classy old-school Southie guy named Mike. He does a great job of serving up breakfast and lunch every day here.
The atmosphere at TechSpace Boston is creative, funky, fun, communal, casual, techie, dot-commy. It’s a great place. We’ve got these giant windows at our desks that open up – thrilling! We’ve got access to 4 bonded T-1s, chilling! Four conference rooms, a parking lot, our own private suite, a full IT infrastructure, good people in the neighboring suites and in the hallways, and most importantly – we’ve been super-productive since the day we moved in here.
TechSpace is a great space. If you’re in startup mode, or if you’re a small, innovative and creative company, check out TechSpace at 580 Harrison Ave, 4th floor, in the South End of Boston. Call Paul McBride at (617) 275-7000. He’ll treat you well if you tell him Ben sent you!
2007-05-31: Quick update to this. I just learned that one of the bigger tenants here is moving out in June. Lots of new space available. We may have to relocate down the hall. But also, I just learned that yet another dot-com is moving in here. This is really turning into a nice spot for Boston dot-coms!