Our New Home: The Floor Between 12 & 14
July 23rd, 2014 by
According to USA Today, Otis Elevators’ records indicate that 85% of elevators do not have the number 13. Generally, the building owner will omit the 13th floor by skipping from 12 to 14 or by naming it “12B” or any number of strategic means to avoid the unlucky 13.
Well, I don’t believe in superstitions — black cats crossing my path, walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, or the 13th floor of any building. (If this were a reasonable discussion, I would argue that floor 12B really is the 13th floor by another name).
Search Influence has outgrown our beloved Oak Street office and, after months of searching, we finally found an office that has the space we need with room to grow. On Monday morning, we had our first workday in our new office space: the 13th floor of the Exchange Centre (cue the scary music).
From Humble Beginnings
With this recent move, we have done some reminiscing, looking back on the offices that once were. Our first true office space was on Jackson Avenue, and I have to be honest and say that it wasn’t all that beloved. It had a slightly funky smell and strange characters walking the halls, but it did redeem itself with some of its quirky charms.
Funny story. While at the office one Saturday, we went into the storage closet for something and — absolutely true — there was a woman sleeping in our storage closet. She was living in our storage closet. She even had a microwave, so she had indeed set up house. We tip-toed our way out (didn’t want to wake her up) and called the building owners to deal with the squatter.
A great part of Jackson Avenue was the BadNinja9 production office across the hall. This really was the production office for Dorian Dardar’s own film starring his Dorian Hudson character as zen master/detective/life coach. He interviewed all manner of fascinating people in his office for the film, including barely clothed young ladies, which happened more often than you would think.
I can’t make this stuff up.
We laugh looking back, but Jackson Avenue did have a very real impact on the growth of the company. Angie and I shared an office that was actually the conference room, so we were intimately involved in just about every meeting, every discussion — everything. We all grew to be a close group in that space, and those close quarters have paid off, translating into a deep level of trust and a shared knowledge among the team that we may not have achieved in a larger work area.
As bizarre as the Jackson Avenue office was at times, it really cemented those work relationships that act as the foundation of this team.
Our Beloved Oak
We outgrew Jackson Avenue after 1 year — really after 4 months, but we were lucky to be able to take over a lease that had ended prematurely. All along, we’d been eyeing a newly renovated building that housed a wine bar and had the space to allow us to all work and grow.
We coordinated with the owner of Oak Wine Bar, building out the unused upper floors of her building. An office over a wine bar, what’s not to love about that scenario?
It seemed like it took forever (only because we were so anxious to get into the new space). When it was finally completed, it was beautiful. The space was clean and bright — wood floors, original fireplaces and windows. It managed to be both modern and historic at the same time.
As much as we love the Oak Street office for its physical space, we also have a tremendous amount of affection for what Oak represents in the history of Search Influence. It was on Oak that we reached a pivotal point in the business. It was from that open and inviting space that we matured as a group and really grew into our own.
From Oak, we were able to start truly giving back to the community. We began providing free seminars for local businesses and started our work with nonprofits such as Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, The Audubon Institute, New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, and Hogs for The Cause. We have always wanted to give back directly to NOLA, and we had reached a point where we are finally able to devote time and energy to it.
Also while on Oak, we were listed in Inc 500, which ranks the fastest growing private companies in the United States. At #418, we were incredibly excited to be one of 18 companies in the Greater New Orleans area to be recognized (of which we were the only residents of New Orleans proper). Honestly, I will never be not-excited about that honor.
Our years on Oak represent our greatest growth, as a company and as a team. The last three years are an unforgettable time in the history of Search Influence. So, we leave Oak with a bittersweet goodbye.
The 13th Floor
After months of searching for new space, we found a few options for our next great adventure. We chose the option with the most square footage and a great downtown location: the 13th floor of The New Orleans Exchange Centre on Gravier Street.
The Exchange Centre houses a number of New Orleans’ finest, including mature and start-up, technology firms such as TurboSquid, Archon Information Systems, Carrollton Group, Kickboard for Teachers, and many more businesses, tech and non-tech alike.
We moved in over the weekend, and our management team really pitched in to have the place ready for work first thing Monday morning. And 13th floor notwithstanding, there were very few glitches to work out. But as with anything new, it takes some getting used to. Even with the hiccups, the Influencers have been great. Everyone is pumped up and settling in. It feels good.
It’s an incredibly professional space (it even has a reception area). All of the walls are lined with wide, open windows that look out on the surrounding CBD. Most exciting of all, with more than four times the square footage, we’ve really given the team room to spread out and keep growing. We plan to do even more amazing things at our new address.
Yes, it’s the 13th floor, and for us, 13 is a very lucky number.