Microsoft Accelerator – Week Nine

IMG_7562Working from your spare room at home can be a lonely existence and having conversations with colleagues on Skype really is no substitute. It also can be a pretty sedentary life as the distance from my bed to the office is probably less than 20 paces. The distance to the kitchen where the biscuits live is slightly more but not so far as to be a distraction. So all in all home working is not good for your health and fitness.

On the other hand being in an office means you get to see great street art such as that shown here. It also means that hitting my daily steps target is a breeze and the biscuits are not so close at hand. Options for lunch are much more than what I might have remembered to get in the shopping. Add to this the benefits to working with other people around you and the raise in productivity this brings you would think that office working is a no brainer. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer certainly seems to think so.

One thing that the accelerator programme has shown me is that there are advantages to both home and office working. The big plus of being at home is that I can save myself 3 -4 hours of travelling which is time I can much more usefully use to the benefit of the business. Given that my journey involves a walk, bus, train and tube it doesn’t really make for a productive and uninterrupted working environment.

However, being in the same place as my colleagues really gives us an opportunity to discuss ideas and issues and reach a quicker solution than we might over email or IM. Nothing beats sketching ideas on a scrap of paper and working collaboratively in the same place. I am sure that there are plenty of companies working in that space that would beg to differ but I love the immediacy it brings. But, in a start-up, you have to balance that with the cost of getting so that you are all in one place and that can be prohibitive.

So this week has been a mixture of home and office. The former when I wanted to get my head down and focus on a single task uninterrupted, testing our new release in this case. The latter when I went up to meet with our mentors. This week, in a noisy Pret that we had decamped to after the fire alarm went off in the mentors office, we got down to honing our message. This is something that we have struggled to do effectively in the past and it was amazing to hear how easily he came up with something that expressed our business clearly and concisely.

This, for me, is the beauty of the accelerator programme – putting us with people that are highly regarded experts in their fields who can quickly make an impact on what we do and you cannot put a price on that but could well be the difference between success and failure.

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