06 March 2011 by Published in: business No comments yet

So I’ve been doing some thinking about where we should move.  I’m leaning towards Austin, which seems to be the hacker capital of this part of the world.  No, it’s no SF, and there’s no FIOS :-( but the rent is reasonable and it looks like a good value.  Plus I lived there during an internship a few years ago so I’m familiar with the area.

Originally, I planned to do the home office thing.  Just get a largish townhome-style apartment and dedicate one floor to office space with some desks and chairs.  It’s cheap, it’s easy, we can run cat5 everywhere and set up things however we want.  It has the private space / shared space problem, but for me I think it’s workable.  If we have a client over or something we can always rent a conference room if we need to downtown.

However, holing up in an apartment is a really good way to avoid talking to customers and clients, which I’ve discovered is the #1 important thing.  So I’m revisiting this decision in light of getting out of the building.

The problem is that renting three desks approaches the cost of a hire.  Even the coworking rate is approaching $250-300/head in Austin.  That’s an easy pill to swallow for a one-person company but a harder one to swallow for two or three people, which is where I want to go.  Is it worth $900/month for three desks?  I could rent a second apartment for that.  So I’m enumerating the possibilities:

  1. Split up the workforce.  This seems like a dumb idea and I’m not good enough of a manager to make it work, at least every day.
  2. Try and do 1-2 days a week coworking or otherwise out of the building.  Problem here is you incur all the costs of maintaining a home office, plus some of the costs of coworking, which seems stupid to me
  3. Do the home office thing but work occasional halfdays out of a coffee-shop or library.  See #2.
  4. Go all-coworking or “real” office and get very small apartment somewhere downtown.  Severely limits where I can live and still be within walking/biking distance, and also seems pretty expensive

I think part of the problem is I’m just not sure how the real, actual mechanics of networking for clients and talking to customers work.  For basic usability testing, we can probably just walk around the UT campus and grab people.  But I’m a lot sketchier about the methodology for “real life” b2b sales and contracting.  To what extent does having an office grease the wheels?

I’m heading down to Austin to look at some apartments and coworking spaces Thursday-Sun (Mar 17-Mar 20), so if you’re in the neighborhood for SXSW and want to meet up, hit me.

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