Life after Startup – Baggage

Vocal booth

It’s cleanup time.

The past months Funk-e had been renting 2 offices as we slowly transitioned away from our old office at the World Trade Center in Rotterdam to our much more efficient space in the co-working office at Microlab just a few 100 meters down the street.

I stare at the gigantic wooden vocal booth (the space where I recorded Voiceovers) in our old office in Rotterdam.

Lots of memories flash through my head. Flashbacks to our Berlin office, where I would spend hours trying to record a voiceover without echoes in a space that didn’t allow for it.

Covering myself in pillows, curtains, and in a box, all didn’t work. So out of frustration I asked a german furniture designer to build me a modular vocal booth that was completely silent and perfect for audio recordings.

Nothing removed the echo well enough from the voiceovers

€4.000 later the result was a small masterpiece that fit perfectly in the relatively small space we had and we could also transport in case we needed to move.

Our small but very efficient office in Berlin

Over time however I would end up doing less voiceovers myself and delegated the task to other voiceover actors, so the more time passed the less I needed the thing.

But somehow until now, I could not get myself to get rid of it. It held too many memories, of late night work in Berlin, doing work I was passionate about.

The vocal booth became something I would refer to as physical entrepreneurial Bagage. Something I ended up carrying around, worrying about and finding it hard to let go of.

But when you think about it, in 13 years an entrepreneur builds up much more than physical baggage, also emotional bagage.

But how do you deal with it?

Choices of the past can build up into baggage

When we started out, our ideas were much bigger than the environment that surrounded us.

We had no more than a couple of laptops, a couple of desks in my bedroom and a team of freelancers working remotely (in 2010, way before COVID).

With no legacy or old infrastructure holding us back, we were free to imagine whatever the business could become.

A new office would then feel like a blank canvas that we could fill with our identity.

Second hand hipster school chairs, beautiful big industrial lamps that we would go and pick up somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the Netherlands at a cool vintage store and a gigantic bright yellow wall of Club Mate crates (a popular energy drink from Berlin), all made our office feel like our very own living room, in a home.

One of our office breakfasts

Over time all that stuff adds up, and as we were always growing, we never really thought of the moment we needed to move out of our 800m2 office.

Meanwhile we had a full fledged production and recording studio, a video studio, and many meeting rooms, and also waaaaay too much space for 20 people.

So when COVID hit, and everyone worked remotely, we were faced with really reflecting on the choices of the past.

Our company had changed, we were not only a production company anymore. We had started working with many different kinds of suppliers and our work became much more strategic.

And even though COVID was not a nice time, it did help us reset a lot of choices we had been delaying. Having all that space available allowed us to keep hoarding stuff and not really align our new scope with everything else.

Spring cleaning

Even though I love innovation and developing new things I am also nostalgic.

Maybe it’s my Italian roots that love to celebrate tradition and enjoy the ritual of coming back to a place where everything is just the way you left it.

I find it hard to let go of some things that remind me of where I came from.

However since I moved to my Mister Awesome Office, I was forced to reimagine the space that aligned with where I am going.

Sometimes I guess the spaces we work in have a strong psychological trigger. Just like a spring cleaning, my spaces help me re-evaluate what is stuff (and therefor activities) I want to keep and what I need to let go of.

As an entrepreneur, this goes on also when moving into a new project. I carefully choose what parts of me and my company I want to take with me and which I don’t, and slowly the baggage feels lighter, making space for new ideas.

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