I came across pictures from years ago of the very first office Aaron and I setup when we came back to Kansas City from New Jersey. It brought back fond memories. Other than problems with the temperature (the office was always too warm for my taste), it was a great space.
Of course, being an investor, all I remember is how much capital I associate with everything. For example, looking at these pictures I immediately think:
- It cost us only $8,400 per year to lease, which was a great bargain because the landlord covered all of the utilities, taxes, etc.
- The company spent between $5,000 and $10,000 putting in new carpets, blinds and other upgrades, mostly because of my habit of sprawling out on the floor to read
- The company spent $13,000 to $15,000 on furniture and other items to make it enjoyable and comfortable
- The company spent $30,000 on software and computer systems, going entirely Mac. We worked with a business representative at the Country Club Plaza store in Kansas City, who got us a discount on the purchase and bundled everything together so it arrived smoothly without any glitched. I was apprehensive about the switch at first but it turned out to be one of the best things we ever did. (Sorry Bill Gates – I still admire you tremendously.)
- Unlike almost all other Internet start-ups at the time, our company paid for it all out of profits, not raising capital. That made us very, very proud.
The problem is, I only found pictures for the main room, not the other areas. I’ll have to try and find them. But this at least gives you somewhat of an idea how I spent my first years home from college as we built our company.
Of course, I much prefer our current office but, still … seeing these made me nostalgic because it was a time when we had just started to have some real success with the businesses, we were buying our first stocks through the company brokerage accounts, and taking a crash course in everything from merchant banks to search engine optimization. This was the year we got Aaron a new, black Lexus as a bonus. There is perhaps no greater joy that starting a venture and watching it prosper and expand.
I hope I come across more of these; they were just in a random folder on one of the Mac Pro systems. They were taken with a high resolution digital camera that we used for product images, which is why they still look so clear today.