When the founders of GitHub moved into their swank South-of-Market loft last year, the first thing they did was redecorate. They turned the floor’s biggest office into a parody of an executive suite — complete with fake fireplace, plush leather chairs, and a wooden globe that slides open to reveal a bottle of single malt scotch. Hanging from the wall is a painting of a cat, dressed as Napoleon, with five octopus-like legs. They call it the Octocat.
The point is that it’s not an executive suite. It’s a communal meeting room where anyone can hang out with anyone else, get some work done, and have a little fun at the same time.
“Everybody can bring their friends into that room and sort of impress them and stuff,” says Scott Chacon, GitHub’s CIO co-founder. You see, Chacon and CEO Chris Wanstrath and the rest of the executive team don’t have private offices. They work on the open floor next to the coders, glued to monitors with the rest of the staff, listening to LCD Soundsystem. Loud.