ThoughtWorks Brazil: The Dinner Table

In the next few weeks, I’ll be putting together a few posts that tell a little bit about the stories behind the scenes of opening the ThoughtWorks Brazil office. They’re entirely from my point of view, might contain an embarrassing moment or two and are absolutely not to be taken as the official voice of ThoughtWorks on any of these matters. I’m not a PR person ;)

Right before starting the efforts to go set up the physical space of the new ThoughtWorks Brazil office, we hit a snag: the new building where we would be located wasn’t ready yet, so we got to borrow some space from the University temporarily.

When we got there, the sign near the door said “Open Source Labs”. I never found out what happened to the lab once we took their space, but I hope they’re alive and kicking somewhere else in the building. ThoughtWorks contributes a fair deal to OSS projects, and I felt bad for taking over some of that space, even if symbolically.

Overnight, the facilities management at PUCRS cleared the rooms and gave us the OK to put whatever furniture we wanted there.

- Hey Sid…
- Yeah, Carlos?
- The furniture guys just called. We are not going to have it until the middle of next month!
- It’s been delayed again!?
- Yeah… What do we do?
- Can we talk to someone from PUCRS and see if we can borrow some in the meantime?

So we did, and they gracefully gave us access to a storage room right next to ours, full of used chairs and desks. They told us to pick whatever we needed. Most likely, this was where they stored furniture that needed repairs, as most of it was broken, scratched, wobbly or otherwise in need of repair. It took us about an hour to measure everything and pick the items we needed and that were in usable conditions.

The facilities guys didn’t let us help in the move from that point on, which was sort of disappointing. Sid and I came prepared to handle all of the grunt work ourselves that morning – I even wore shoes!

Fast forward about a month, we were ready, settled and cracking on with our first two projects already, even though at this point, our “real” furniture hadn’t arrived yet. The steady growth of the office had us rubbing elbows and bumping into each other, making us push our luck with PUCRS to get another room. They gave us that storage room next door and cleared it out, but it needed a bit of work done. Builders were hired, and after fitting it with AC, ceiling tiles and a few other bits, we moved in.

Meanwhile, the office was still growing like crazy, and we needed another desk for workstations in the new room. Unfortunately, PUCRS didn’t have any we could borrow, but one of our developers did: Lipe Sabella had just moved from São Paulo to Porto Alegre and all his stuff was still in boxes at my apartment while he looked for a place. Frankly, his dinner table propped against a wall wasn’t doing my living room much service, so we arranged to get it delivered to the office, and now we had room for another 6 people!

- We’re going to have to protect it somehow. I’ve managed not to scratch it all these years!
- Some plastic, maybe?

Picture: Luiza, Rubem and Andrea tape down the most horrifying plastic cover we could find at the neaby mall.