Location can be a powerful enabler, but what if you can't get visa or just can't afford to live in a hub that would support your ambitions? What if your company doesn't have the resources to rent a space that suits and inspires your team? And if work-from-home is here to stay, how do you build or maintain culture?
When Gordon, one of Spot's co-founders, gave me a tour of Spot, I had a strong sensation that this was an early glimpse at the future of work. I instantly knew Wes and Gordon, both truly brilliant thinkers with a fantastic team, were onto something huge. After our meeting I just couldn't stop thinking about Spot as I saw in my mind's eye how all the dots were connecting to form a beautiful shape.
Spot solves a set of hard problems in a unique way. Among the major drawbacks of working from home are the dilution of corporate culture, the loss of rituals and ceremonies, and the loss of chance encounters and spontaneous conversations with coworkers. People working from home over long periods of time tend to feel increasingly more disconnected and unseen. As we're missing out on small talk, we also begin missing out on its many benefits such as boosted creativity, aha-moments and sparks of collaboration.
Spot is here to bring all those benefits of working together in a real office back through an inspiring virtual space. The energy, the encounters, spontaneous conversations, the sense of belonging, and control over your privacy, focus and attention. Want silence? Turn on headphones mode. Want to have a conversation with someone? Just walk up to them or gather in the lounge area.
There is a lot of value in just seeing who is present and where. One thing we've lost to work from home is transparency and a sense of connection. Imagine you had a virtual office, just like a real one, where you could see who's present. Location and presence are powerful ways to communicate what's happening in a team, enabling richer social interaction.
Curious what's going on? Just see it at a glance. See some teammates brainstorming? Maybe go there and join. It goes deep, and it's truly game-changing.
"Oh, Wes is in the conference room with Gordon! Going to wait until they come out."
"Hey Stephanie, got to show you something cool very quick. Can you come outside in the patio?"
"Cool, Kirit is already at his desk implementing that concept! Can't wait to see it live!"
At Spot we've spent *a lot* of time reimagining powerful ways to bring lost rituals and ceremonies back to teams working from home, and it feels great seeing progress being made every day.
One reason I love Spot is because it entails many elements of my vision for nature simulation, and because it aims to solve a very hard world-scale problem that has been a drag on me personally for many years.
Working from home since late 2008, I've felt the drawbacks extensively. There are powerful aspects of Spot that get me truly excited every morning when I get up, and I just can't wait to see the larger vision behind Spot become a reality.
Now, if we can reproduce the benefits of a physical office in a virtual environment, what does that mean for enabling greater freedom and equality?
Before joining Spot as a strategic/product advisor and consultant, and following Taptanium's successful years of pushing the frontiers of mobile, I worked in stealth on "Project Destiny", an intensely ambitious Earth system simulation paired with some grains of Minecraft and Roblox, and a general dash of craziness. Ever since I met with Second Life founder Philip Rosedale in his office and talked about simulating rain forests with limited computational resources, I strongly felt the disadvantage of not living in a hub like San Francisco every single day for many years, which had a significant impact on my health. Europe is nice for sure and things are improving for ambitious founders, but there are certain things in the US, that, well… I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that location can be a powerful enabler, but there are pesky things like visas and discriminatory immigration laws that stop people from being part of the communities they feel attracted to.
I see something in Spot that I think will truly change many lives. And I mean many. To me, Spot is about much more than team collaboration and communication. It's also about equality and opportunity, it's about removing barriers. When you can be in the same Spot as the cool kids elsewhere, while you don't have a visa to be there, that's freedom and true power. That's an enabler for innovation and more good things happening in the world. One big theme of my nature simulation ambition has always been telepresence, being able to meet in inspiring locations and just be present with others. Spot is that, and much more.
Chance encounters can help get great things going, and being "on the map" is a great way to have them. Now imagine removing physical location from the equation and what that means for freedom, equality and inclusion! One thing that gets me very excited is that Spot will enable this and much more. What you see today is a tiny glimpse of what is to come, and I encourage you to check it out for yourself and your team because I feel certain you'll love it.