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landlocked

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Have any companies been formed around a decentralized office model and succeeded as a businesses? What I mean is having people use email/IM primarily for contact and video conferencing and such and maybe even renting a conference room at a building for those times when teams should physically meet. Yes, I'm trying to be cheap and avoid as many building costs as possible. But, being a tech guy myself as is common for our sort I figured technology could fill in those gaps. I know I'm not the first to think of this. I'm just asking if anyone has seen it work when it's the modus operandi of the entire business.

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I'm sure people have done it with success, though that's not the norm.

In my opinion there's really no replacing being physically in the same location when working together.

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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307644320' post='4821422']
I'm trying to be cheap... I'm just asking if anyone has seen it work when it's the modus operandi of the entire business.[/quote]
I'll second what Brain said. There may be some success stories within this model, but they would be the exception, not the rule.

These days the most popular work model is the common shared work area. (Have you seen The Social Network?) To reduce the communication and the feeling of being on a shared endeavor, put tall cubicle walls between the people. To reduce it even further, build solid walls and give them each a door. To reduce it even further, spread them out so that they have to walk or shout or call or IM to contact one another. To reduce it even further, put them in separate buildings.
There's a reason why the most popular model now is the common shared work area.

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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1307651104' post='4821469']
[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307644320' post='4821422']
I'm trying to be cheap... I'm just asking if anyone has seen it work when it's the modus operandi of the entire business.[/quote]
I'll second what Brain said. There may be some success stories within this model, but they would be the exception, not the rule.

These days the most popular work model is the common shared work area. (Have you seen The Social Network?) To reduce the communication and the feeling of being on a shared endeavor, put tall cubicle walls between the people. To reduce it even further, build solid walls and give them each a door. To reduce it even further, spread them out so that they have to walk or shout or call or IM to contact one another. To reduce it even further, put them in separate buildings.
There's a reason why the most popular model now is the common shared work area.
[/quote]
Nope, haven't seen it. And "pit" style, as I've come to know it, is the way I'm used to working but was just considering this. I'm facing the chicken/egg conundrum. "If I could get funding I could start my business the "right" way" but "in order to get funding I need have a business" sort of deal. So, I was wondering if initially I could work like this to get things going minimally then eventually move into an office once this production was of sufficient size.

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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307651881' post='4821474']
I'm facing the chicken/egg conundrum... I was wondering if initially I could work like this to get things going minimally then eventually move into an office once this production was of sufficient size.
[/quote]
That's been done. The shorter you can make it, the better. And you need to have frequent meetings, so as not to have anybody feel out in the cold.

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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1307658793' post='4821506']
[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307651881' post='4821474']
I'm facing the chicken/egg conundrum... I was wondering if initially I could work like this to get things going minimally then eventually move into an office once this production was of sufficient size.
[/quote]
That's been done. The shorter you can make it, the better. And you need to have frequent meetings, so as not to have anybody feel out in the cold.
[/quote]
Thanks for the tip. I'll keep that in mind. I work in an Agile-ish environment so weekly meetings are something of a fact of life to me so that should be second nature.

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I know a few businesses in the simplistic 2-D game genre that have lasted quite a while (and are still going) off of that model, so it's definitely not impossible by any means.

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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307662878' post='4821527']I work in an Agile-ish environment so weekly meetings are something of a fact of life[/quote]
Sometimes, twice in one week might not be out of line, depending on what's going on in the project and how team morale is holding up.
Speaking of which, although the meetings can be a tool for keeping morale up, some members may resent meetings as an interruption of work. That can be a tricky one to solve.

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I work for a company with over 400 employees. We are globally distributed and the vast majority of us telecommute and work from home. The company does have a few bricks-and-mortar offices but the basic MO for day-to-day work is IRC, email, VOIP and webapps. From time to time we gather in appropriate numbers for face-to-face meetings.

It is an excellent way to run a company. A lot of organizations are not run this way because most managers are stuck in the 18th century at the start of the industrial revolution and need their employee-widgets to be strictly overseen.

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