Office Crashers: DriverSide, Will Fishbowls and Nintendo Attract Engineers?

By Kym McNicholas , written on March 28, 2012

From The News Desk

At a cafe in the Mission on Monday afternoon, my video editor and I tried to post a five-minute video to YouTube. But a slow connection meant it would take five hours to upload the piece to the site.

Five hours.


So we packed up and moved to 780 Valencia, just down the street. We heard it's a hot spot for startups to eat, drink, and code. We weren't disappointed. Computer screens were everywhere, which probably explains why, once again, the connection was slow, and time to upload exceeded three hours.

You might wonder why we wouldn't just go to our own office to upload the video. Well, we don't have one. This is not a surprise, as we're a media startup. Most of the time, we're on the road visiting companies anyway, so it's not worth it. For those few days when we do need office space, Sarah and I came up with an idea: To launch a video series called "Office Crashers," where we'll visit a different office each week and experience what it's like to work there.

"Office Crashers" is timely, because startups throughout Silicon Valley are battling for top talent. We're going to visit those companies to find out why someone would want to work there. While passion for the product and service, salary, and benefits are important to worker bees these days, another big selling point is culture. That includes special perks, which vary based on the company and space. In many cases it's the deciding factor, especially for in-demand engineers.

Our first stop was DriverSide, which just upgraded to a 10MB X 10MB line (a big attraction for us!). DriverSide is a website that helps its more than 4.5 million active users maintain their car. The company is hiring two developers and one QA engineer.

Next, we're visiting Founders Den, the year-old shared office space for serial entrepreneurs, including California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

To nominate your office to be profiled on "Office Crashers," email me at [email protected]