May 16, 2019

We will always be romantically in love with you Switchyards

Well folks, the time has come! It’s time for us to sprout our wings and….get rid of having an office. That’s right. Despite 3 consecutive years of double digit growth at Standard Co, we’re getting all 21st century / millennial / or whatever and moving on out. Our home for the past 3 1/2 years has been Switchyards Downtown Club, the closest thing we've had to a real home in Atlanta (note: we're still doing the neighborhood club b/c it sounds righteous and we like bottomless cups of coffee)

When we moved into Switchyards back in 2016, it was with a clear purpose: we wanted to be around like minded people. ATL has a lot of amazing coworking / startup hubs but nothing really fit our....quirky personality. Ok ok. We're weird, we won't deny it. Midtown and Buckhead are fantastic places to grow a company but they weren't our style. The Westside was great too but damn y'all, the traffic over there ain't no joke. We liked Ponce and the Highlands but we weren't exactly loaded back in 2015 - 2016 (read more about our office hopscotch here). That's when Switchyards came on the scene.

The space satisfied our core needs:

  1. Enough room to grow our team and figure out what the hell we were doing. At the time we were a custom dev shop just starting to figure out our permanent home would be in global public health. We hadn't yet even launched our data platform. WE WERE BABIES (ok not really but whatever).
  2. A community full of oddballs. But the oddballs there are doing shit. Not selling you shit. The cross section of talent there, from designers to developers to video and audio and everything in between was stimulating. And interesting! We loved the vibe there.
  3. It had a righteous patio that we got to sit next to for 2 years. We even turned it into a ping pong club (more on that below)

When we went fully distributed back in February 2018, we kept an office there mostly out of nostalgia. It was a great place for our ATL team to crash and it was a handy place to store all our random stuff. We did this despite a cardinal rule of going remote: get rid of your office immediately.

At the end of this month, we'll be honoring that rule at long last. We'll be moving out. We'll officially be a fully remote team. And as we prep our gear to end up in someone's basement, we as a team pulled together our favorite moments while working at Switchyards:

Jonathan almost setting the building on fire
A few years back we got our hands on a grill and started grilling out burgers every Friday for lunch. We would grill directly under a sidewalk / overhang area that, unbeknownst to us, doubled as an air intake to the building. 5 minutes into grilling one day the basement filled with smoke setting off the fire alarm. The entire building emptied out, the fire department showed up, and we were given a nice lesson on preventing grease fires.

There's no explanation for what we're doing here

Banana Hotdog

MJ on our team has what we might call...an exotic lunch time palate. We weren't exactly Facebook so our kitchen choices looked fairly pedestrian. Bread. Meats. Cheeses. Hot dog buns. Bananas. It became a running gag as to what interesting combination MJ would come to us with for lunch. Our favorite was "banana hotdog". That's right. He put a banana on a hot dog bun.

"Hey TJ, do you know how to hotwire an electric scooter?"

Right now you're thinking "oh, these dweebs fooled around with Lime Scooters?". Nah nah nah, this was waaaay before those damn things descended like hungry locusts on the city. We came across an abandoned electric scooter at some point (I promise we didn't steal it). We got it working. And then we'd proceed to have scooter races around the basement, where our office was located at the time. In hindsight, not our brightest of ideas. But hey, it was fun!

Jarblz came to me one day and said "Hey TJ, do you know how to hotwire a scooter". If you know Jarblz, you know his Gainesville, GA accent made that question that much better.

The Switchyards Ping Pong Club

This is admittedly my baby alone and it's primarily used as a vehicle to harass Michael Tavani on Instagram. But we actually got a bitchin mural painted on the wall, added a really nice ping pong table, painted the floors green to look like Wimbledon, and held a few really fun tournaments. If you're wondering if this is some startup frat boy bullshit...well, I guess it sorta is. But I grew up playing it with my brothers and I genuinely love to play. We even got Atlas Obscura to publish a story about it (which was welcomed with....uh...confusion on twitter).

The cold didn't stop me damnit

The Jonathan Nesbitt Memorial Toilet Room and Shower Closet

Last, but certainly not least, we dedicated a bathroom to the honor of Jonathan Nesbitt. Don't worry, he's not dead. But, based on our thorough and scientific analysis (we do run a data analytics platform for the world's largest healthcare orgs you guys), Jonathan is the longest tenured resident of Switchyards. Despite not getting prior approval from management, we decided to rename a bathroom in honor of Nezbo. So next time you're at the 'Yards, head down to the basement and soak in the glory that is the Jonathan Nesbitt Memorial Toilet Room and Shower Closet.

We built a global product used to help millions

Ok, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the best thing that came out of our time at Switchyards. We built a product. A real actual product. That's used by the biggest global health organizations in the world (if you can think of them, they're using it). It's a platform used to bring better more sustainable healthcare to millions of people in over 50 countries. And I honestly think Switchyards played a role in that. Being surrounded by people who helped inspire and motivate us actually helped us focus too. I think we would have built a platform regardless of where we ended up; but I think we built a great platform because of where we were.

Don't worry folks, we won't be going far from Switchyards. We're doing the neighborhood memberships for the team (even my Seattle-living ass) because we really believe in the idea and the team behind it. So if you're wondering where to find us, Switchyards will still be the place.