Building an awesome workplace in Oakland

December 2014
David Bergeron

Recently, I was out visiting with T3 client, GoldieBlox. In case you’re unfamiliar with GoldieBlox, it’s a company with a unique vision: to build toys that “disrupt the pink aisle” by introducing girls to engineering at a young age. With a little girl at home, I wholeheartedly embrace this vision and am so excited to see the incredible success and growth that GoldieBlox is experiencing.

That said, I know that there is a ton of hard work and incredible strategy that has gone into building GoldieBlox into this great company, not the least of which surrounds their workplace and location in Oakland, California.

Building an awesome workplace in OaklandYes, Oakland. What puts this young, vibrant, rapidly growing company that develops children’s products together with a city that has had a mixed reputation historically? Answer: Long term strategic decisions.

Forget everything that you learned about the Oakland of the 1990’s – those days are long gone and have been replaced by an energetic, technology friendly business environment. One needs only to consider some of the amazing companies that are already experiencing great success in Oakland, including Pandora and And it’s not surprising that many of the larger technology companies are evaluating and making the jump from San Francisco to Oakland.

Why Oakland? 

Financial rewards.

One of the top factors is pricing, as there are financial considerations that just cannot be ignored. While the average square footage rates are in the mid $60’s in San Francisco, the cost in Oakland is literally half in some cases. And, if you’re a growing startup that is figuring out how to make your funding go further, these figures must be a consideration. The cost savings might buy you an additional 6-12 months of runway that you can leverage as you aggressively seek to hit your key milestones.

Opportunities to attract and retain talent – thinking about the future:

  • Just as people access the BART in San Francisco, companies can leverage public transportation into Oakland with the BART extension.
  • Residential real estate is a critical factor. As your millennial workforce begins to start families and seeks residential housing, Oakland offers more affordable options.

The takeaway as it relates to talent is that forward thinking companies are not only considering employees in the current context but also where this talent may transition. [tweetable alt=””]Companies that think about the long-term options will have an upper hand as it relates to hiring[/tweetable] needs and employee retention.

So we applaud GoldieBlox for taking advantage of these benefits as they have grown and prospered in Oakland. Their strategic approach to the workplace is not only providing value but will continue to pay dividends in the years to come. As a company that is all about children, they understand the need for employees to feel safe, to be creative and productive. Congratulations to them for embracing the benefits that their Oakland location is providing!

About T3 Advisors

T3 Advisors provides real estate and workplace solutions for the world’s most innovative companies that range from 2–10,000 employees. By acting as an extension of the team and only representing tenants, T3 offers transparent, conflict-free real estate strategies.

T3’s services include tenant brokerage, location advisory, portfolio planning, consultative insights, project management, and workplace strategy. Placed at the center of innovation ecosystems with offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York City, and Boston, T3 has advised thousands of companies globally, including LinkedIn, HubSpot, Postmates, ASICS, AutoDesk, and Battery Ventures.