Collaboration, Culture & Seinfield: Interview with Rishi Dean of Visible Measures

February 2011
T3 Advisors

Logo Shot 1Last week, Rishi Dean, MIT Sloan grad and GM, Publisher Solutions at Visible Measures spoke at a Sloan Breakfast Forum on the importance of culture as it relates to a company’s growth and overall success. Having been on the founding team of three different startups to date, Rishi was more than qualified to shed light on the topic.  Quoting psychologist Kurt Lewin’s famous heuristic equation, Rishi stated that behavior (B) is a function of a person (P) and his or her environment (E) [B = f(P,E)] .  Rishi described how the culture of Visible Measures is both enhanced by their incredible people and their new office space.  One of the more unique activities Rishi spoke about, when moving into their space, was the conference room design competition. In an effort for the company to take an active role in helping to design the new office (a feat that gets more challenging the larger a company gets), teams were allocated $300 per room and a little over a weekend to come up with a design for all 4 conference rooms in the space.

 

 

Intrigued as to how the experiment turned out, we decided to take our own tour to see first hand this creative work space.

Walking off the streets in Downtown Boston’s Leather District on a blistering 10 degree winter day into the warm, sun-filled loft that we encountered upon leaving the elevator, one could hardly believe this was an office space.  Exposed brick walls boasted semi-circle floor-to-ceiling windows and wooden beams softly scattered the open floor layout.

Window Shot
Open Layout

 

 

 

 

 

Rishi led us into the “winning” conference room of the competition, an exact replica of the booth from the café on Seinfeld fully adorned with diner-style table and booth seating. If you need to wander during your meeting you could look out the “window”.  Rishi says it’s a great place to conduct interviews.

Seinfield Conference Room 2
Seinfield Conference Room 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Timeline Conference Room 2

 

 

We visited the additional conference rooms which included one with an illustrated time-line of the history of video.

 

 

 

Next, we entered the “cardboard room” where the tables, chairs, and faux fireplace are made entirely of cardboard (I even sat in the chair!):

Cardboard Moose!

Cardboard Fire Place & Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insiprational Conference Room

 

We also visited a more “traditional” conference with framed photographs of inspirational people of our times (some of the pictures included: Jim Thorpe, Michael Jordan, Rocky! and even Dwight from The Office):

 

 

 

Waterfall Conference Room

 

Finally, we came to the most tranquil conference room of the bunch, equipped with a hand-made babbling brook (which also serves as white noise during any noisy meetings).

 

 

 

This office space clearly exuded the enthusiastic, creative, and fun culture of Visible Measures.  It was a living, breathing, example of Lewin’s equation and a testament to a very successful example of how a company can shape and define its own Behavior (and company culture) as a function of its people and their environment (very cool office space). There are many more pictures of this innovational office at “Breaking Glass By Rishi Dean“.

Stay tuned for more on the steps Visable Measures took to finding and designing this amazing work space when T3 interviews Rishi in our next installment of the T3 Video Blog Series.