GOOD

Close Quarters: When Tech Companies and an Indie Film Studio Share a Workspace

In 2010, when a friend invited me to move my film studio to a funky refurbished pier in San Francisco with a gaggle of other tech start-ups, I responded with, “You had me at funky.” You see, tech is in my DNA. I founded The Webby Awards and love experimenting with new technologies to make the films that my team and I make in our studio. I had no idea exactly what would come from this new neighborhood floating on the water, but knew it would be good. As soon as we moved in it felt like we were all pirates inhabiting a space that was in some city loophole, where we all had ridiculous views of the water, but were paying a meager rent. We held rough cut screenings and invited all the other companies over for feedback—we watched our neighbor Instagram get bought by Facebook for 1 billion dollars (I am pointing my pinky at my chin), and we borrowed hard drives and projectors instead of sugar.
Matt Ridley wrote a great book called “The Rational Optimist,” where he talked about how innovation usually occurs in cities because people from different perspectives would be in such close quarters that they would bump up against each other and then come together to solve problems. That was like our fabulous Pier 38. But then the America’s Cup boating competition came blowing into San Francisco, and our little funky island of innovation was served eviction notices with what I believe was not sufficient cause to make room for the boats. We all felt like the city did not understand what was happening on our pier—that we were combusting ideas by bumping up against each other in the hallways, in the parking lot, at app demonstrations and rough cut screenings. In any other normal time in my life, an unfounded eviction would have made me take to the streets and to city hall, but our feature film Connected was opening in theaters that same weekend. I was stretched beyond my capacity—like one of those fine sails on the America’s Cup boats.
Fortunately, our fearless building manager came to the rescue and had secured another unbelievably surreal office situation for us at the Moxie Institute and our whole motley crew of tech companies. Now we take the elevator up the fifth floor of a beautiful office space looking at the piers and the Bay Bridge. There are new companies that have been added to the mix, like Mashable, Etsy, Grammarly, and Skimlinks. We continue to watch start-ups move in, and then move out once they grow too big. We read articles daily about the next great innovator, and smile at the fact that they’re right down the hall.
Our work has benefitted greatly from this cross-pollination of ideas and from the shared passion, energy and excitement that filled our common space.
Neighborhoods, whether where you live or where you work, make life better. I just read a quote from Stephen King on writing: "Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” I feel like being able to be in this neighborhood of companies with open doors has inspired a lot of new ideas, rewrites and better work for all of us.



Hang out with your neighbors on the last Saturday of April (a day we're calling "Neighborday"). Click here to say you'll Do It, and here to download GOOD's Neighborday Toolkit and a bunch of other fun stuff.

\n
Articles

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture