The catch-up was quite random. I felt like a drink and haven’t seen one of my old friends for a while. The conversation went along these lines:
Hey G-man. Haven’t seen each other for a while. Let’s grab a drink and catch-up?
The P! What’ssss up? What were you thinking?
Drink at Ryan’s Bar around 6 pm?
Why don’t you come down to our work drinks instead? We have free beer on tap.
Good heavens. Did I just hear what I thought I heard? Free drinks? And a chance to catch-up? I should have purchased a lotto ticket along the way but I was way too excited to even think.
I scurried out the door and headed towards Atlassian headquarters, or Googleplex Junior as my man GM refers to it as. Now I know Atlassian quite well from my use of JIRA and Confluence so I was naturally chuffed at meeting the guys behind the popular tools.
I walked towards the directions handed down to me, close to the center of town, at the foot of Martin Place on George St. I was greeted by my friend at the side entrance of their unlikely residence; an old heritage-looking building that was the front for one of the big 4 banks way back when. This certainly was not the kind of place I expected mini-Goog’s to be.
After some pleasantries with The G, we went inside a heavy set of doors and these old lifts (I’m sure they were originals) which promptly opened up to their reception area. We got down to business and he chauffeured me to the bar area where a group of 30 odd folk were having a merry old time chatting, discussing, laughing and refilling their glasses. I was introduced to their chief bartender who provided us with the low down:
We have 4 types of beer here:
This one <insert words> <something something> <insert words> 6%.
This one here is <something something> <insert words> 8%.
This one <insert word> <insert words> <something something> 11%.
And this one, whoa! She is <insert words> <something something> <insert words> <something something> 15%.
The G picked up on this point and proceeded to paraphrase in English:
..so this here is 6%, this one is 8%, this is one 11%…and this one is the MOTHER.
Thanks G. That’s exactly what I heard too.
At this point, one of the guys decided to save time and produced a yard glass which he promptly filled with the MOTHER. This was not a typical company (or Friday night).
I had my 1st sip of ‘The 8%‘ (I didn’t want to get too carried away) and was introduced to some of the guys. A few things struck me:
- the guys were very much at home here part 1. There was no pretentiousness or ‘airs’ about them. This might be in part of the Atlassian setup, more on this later..
- the guys were very much at home here part 2. I know it was Friday but I could have sworn that they were dressed more like university-types rather than business-types. Being an IT firm, this was their normal work attire
- there were so many accents in the room that you would swear we were in some kind of UN convetion (staff are sourced in every part of the world)
- not only was there a lot of high IQ in the room, but these guys sounded pretty committed too
- they have a tough 5-step interview process. You have to have quality people to produce quality products after all – but..
- ..they lived by the motto “work hard, play hard“. As mentioned, I haven’t seen after work drinks where people were so comfortable with each other that there were no discreet groups of people huddled together for any prolonged period of time. Most roamed around and joined others without hesitation.
After some casual friendlies with the coolest guys in town, G-Man showed me the grounds. We first ventured in to the kitchen; it looked new and fresh, it had generous space and a was kept tidy. Now the bench top was the highlight as it carried an assortment of confectionery (lollies, M&M’s, snakes, Maltesers etc.) which could make the local cinema blush. And yes it came complete with a paper confectionery bag!
(PC’s note: They did have fruits on the bench too but hey, this was Friday night drinks)
After stuffing my Atlassian show bag with enough sweets to make my dentist rich, The G showed me the rest of their pad which included
- A Pool room
- Table Tennis room
- Game room (Wii I believe)
- Really roomy lounge room
Here are a couple of pics:
I found more here on the net.
Each room was littered with people enjoying their down time. Now how can you not like working for a place like this? The company made sure that everyone felt at home at work and it showed. The G is blessed.
2 weeks have passed but I just had to write a post about this. I was suitably surprised and impressed with the guys, their attitude, camaraderie, pad, my Atlassian show bag and the <insert words> <something something> 8%.
And oh, big thanks to you to GM. Looking forward to the next invite :)