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Hanselminutes on 9 - Tour of Fog Creek Software with Joel Spolsky

9 minutes, 44 seconds


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I was hanging out in New York yesterday, presenting at Devscovery and I took a few minutes to stop by Fog Creek, have lunch with Joel (did you know they always eat together as a team and have lunch catered every day?) and get a tour. Fog Creek is known for their snazzy offices and attention to detail. How can you be a great developer and make great software without a nice monitor, comfy chair and the world's most awesome desk. Joel takes me around, shows me their salt water fish tank, amazing view and how it IS possible to have a great office without breaking the bank.


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  • Chris PietschmannCRPietschma​nn Chris Pietschmann
    Looks cool. And, now we know how to get to the Heliport from Fog Creek. Smiley
  • Is there any chance you guys could re-enable options for downloading video?

    I liked the previous ability to download videos and then watch later.  Particularly useful when your internet connection isn't good enough to provide a decent link for streaming video.

    On my current connection, this video is unwatchable and I can't see any easy way of downloading.


  • Try right-clicking the format to get a context menu to download or save the file instead of viewing it.
  • I've been wondering what the new Fog Creek Office looked like after hearing Joel talk about it on the Stack Overflow podcasts.
    Pretty nice. I did not expect it to be so big.
    These desks are awesome!
    Now I want one so bad ;-(
  • Paul Brucepbruce see, think, meet
    holy crap i want to go to there. beats the tar out of life as seen from my cubicle.

    i am a technology consultant and 40hr/week college IT developer. joel, please save me! will work for fish. Smiley
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    thats just unfair Tongue Out
    here im running on a 17" laptop monitor with crap resolution ( 1200*800 )and a hand me down 19" non-widescreen (1280*1024) vga connected monitor.. Tongue Out

    @pbruce i dont even have a cubicle Wink
  • It's this type of stuff which is, in the scheme of things, a small expense for an established company that makes all the difference in the world as far as morale, etc.  It continues to befuddle me how short-sighted most pointy-haired management continues to be (or maybe it's just plain old selfish greed...)  Hopefully Darwin can save us and allow the Fog Creeks of the world to rise to the top!
  • That was the first thing I tried.  Thing is the protocol is set to 'mms' (streaming protocol for WMV?).

    The browser therefore doesn't give an option for saving - it doesn't know how to.


  • jmzl666jmzl666 Diablo
    Right click the format, not the video, below the video there is a label that says "Formats", and next to it a combo box with all the formats, right click the current one (WMV High in my case) and copy the link
  • rhmrhm
    Sweet offices. Shame there's no company like that to work for in England. You Americans complain about your cubicles - I'd kill for a cubicle even. Here it's almost universally open-plan. I have project managers on the phone constantly 2 desks away and frequently have several phone conversations and office conversations going on around me.
  • I never thought that FC was sooo big and awsome Big Smile

    By the way, those desks are obligatory by law here in Denmark, every Office has to have that desk type (with elevator) per employee if he work more than 5 hours a day at the desk. So... it's a "normal" thing to have Wink
  • I was in London for 3 days ... no one seams to know what a Cubicle is... all is Open Space with nothing to separe... I was in "hell" whe I was developing, couldn't concentrate, alot of conversations, phone calls, noises... ufff... good thing was, it's was only for 3 days Big Smile
  • rhmrhm

    It's definitely my excuse when I don't get any work done Smiley  What's the standard setup in Denmark?

  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    (should be a reply to root, sigh.)

    Looks awesome. The desks are a bit much, though. Do they have vertically adjusting desks because people want to alternate between standing or sitting a lot, or do people alternate between standing and sitting a lot because they have a vertically adjusting desk?

    I've never had to work in a cubicle. While I guess the privacy would be welcome, occasionally, I like the openness of just a bunch of desks in a room.

  • Height adjustment (while working on keyboard, mouse and screen) is very critical on stressing your neck, shoulder, wrist (hours after hours) which would eventually affect your concentration on problem solving issues. Your desk height must be adjust according to your upper height to make sure your posture is in nutural position.

    99% of companies don't realize how stressful writing complex code could be, while you're just sitting and typing some stuff on the keyboard (as far as a none developers are concerned). So, I admire Joel for caring for his developers. Actually, he is just smart that he can get more productivity from developers when they are comfortable than trying to save a few bucks. But too many people are trying to save a penny by wasting a dollar!

  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    I get that, but you don't need a powered, LCD-indicated superdesk for that. And my question was: are the desks the result of developers asking for the ability to code while standing up, or do the developers want to code standing up because then they get to use the cool automatic desks once in a while? Because it feels a bit like they were given a solution and suddenly had to come up with a problem for it.
  • I agree!
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Cool stuff guys.   Is there a URL to those desks?  I thought he said "Details", but could not find.  tia Scott
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    I have not seen any studys, but my logic seems to think it is a good way to increase developer productivity in both the day and the long run.  Sitting 8-12 hours is not good for your legs or circulation.  So that is a win.  Also, being able to stand at times removes much of the need for the developer to get up and walk around and get distracted 100 times in the hallway. So it seems a win-win.   I like idea and would guess it makes everyone happy and healthier.  Now just add WiiFit to the mix, and you have a code party
  • Nice one, thanks Diablo.  Didn't think to try that.


  • That office is nice!  Dual BIG monitors, moving desks and fish tanks for the win! Smiley  As cool as that stuff is, where's the helicopter ride footage? Big Smile

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