First few days at a 'scale-up'​ startup residency initiative

19th Feb 2017

Christina Chun, 1Scope CEO

Table tennis, pinball, wall-sized quotes by Albert Einstein and copious amounts of chocolate are not the usual things associated with the Sydney headquarters of a major multinational company. Though initially quirky, they’ve become a welcome and familiar sight for the 1Scope team.

It’s been a month since we had the good fortune to commence working at Publicis.Sapient through their Alphabet Common initiative in Sydney and it’s been a fruitful period for 1Scope. We’ve had possibly one of the most productive starts to 2017! As the rest of Sydney ushered in the Year of the Rooster, we’ve been securing new leads and re-vamping the design of the platform. Fortunately, the 12 hour days and six day weeks have been offset by lots of good humour and company, wine and cheese on Fridays with colleagues, and table tennis. Also, this little guy:

1Scope’s team mascot, Teddy the Toy Pomeranian, is loving the pet friendly space as well!

From a founder’s perspective, it’s interesting to see how the team, who’ve had professional backgrounds have quickly adapted to a start-up space. There’s the routine, everyone has chosen their favourite spot to sit and there’s also the humorous, such as seeing Publicis.Sapient’s Executive Creative Director, Paul Taylor, doing push-ups in the middle of the day (inspiring one of our members to commit to doing 150 push-ups a day; 28 days and going strong). Members of the team have even gotten involved (@timothywalker, inspired to do 150 push-ups a day). Note to self, make upper body strength a pre-requisite in future job interviews.

It’s been particularly nice having access to first rate offices in the middle of the city. The natural light pouring through the six-foot-high windows offering a glimpse of Sydney, don’t hurt either. While start-ups have always operated lean and nimble, having a home base (that's not in my apartment) to withdraw to 24/7 has been a huge boost to team morale. My suspicion also is that a productive team is also a happy one, and the ability to sit together and share knowledge and ideas has lifted team performance, which in turn has driven a positive feedback loop. And the way the Publicis.Sapient office is set up means more informal discussions and less formal meetings – the dev team has been particularly happy as they’ve learnt the important lesson of saying no more than yes. A quick before and after shot.

My overall thoughts on the initiative are very positive. It’s been a great chance for the team to work together but also to learn from all of Publicis.Sapient’s professionals around us- from design, user experience and research, project management to data. Everyone’s very approachable and willing to share their experience listen and coach. Peter Pan (yes, that’s his name), our 17-year old designer mentioned, “it’s like tutoring on steroids, but on useful and practical things that matter that I can apply straight away”. Start-ups are, in their very nature unstructured, but it is surprising how much structure and gentle support is required to create a free flowing and open work environment. In turn, a healthy physical environment encourages greater work culture.

When we graduate from the residency (which is fortunately still a while away), we suspect that we may ‘borrow’ some of the ideas. Though we may take a poll and drop the daily push ups.