As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

Operating under siege

As we straggled into the office yesterday morning, after weathering Hurricane Irene, I thought, “It’s getting rather Biblical around here.”  I’m sharing a photo essay of what the Boston-based Grommet team has been surviving:

The quake was just last week.  Although other people in Boston felt it, we did not.  That’s probably because one of our office buildings has been under daily physical siege from a massive painting and renovation project.  Power equipment and assauting loud noises have populated our days, making shooting video rather interesting at times.  (And we thought working around normal office noises and small-town church bells was challenging!)
Here is what the building used to look like:

Here is the work in progress:

Unfortunately all the disruption has done nothing to frighten away our increasingly bold mouse tenant.  This is what I (eek!) found when I reached into a box of ordinary granola bars:

He has surgical quality incisors.  I have a friend who runs a lab at Harvard who is going to bring me their fool-proof no-kill mouse removal system.  In the meantime we are handling food samples in the office like you would if you were camping in black bear territory.

Not unique to Grommet, but we start the day with news headlines like this:

But we smile (worried smiles?) anyway.

Our office is located just a short block away from the famous Lexington Battle Green.  I’m glad none of us were crossing it Sunday when this massive tree was uprooted during the hurricane:

Image courtesy of Joe Pato

Image courtesy of Joe Pato

Finally, even during this crazy period of plague and pestilence, we have been nurturing our usual front porch morning glories.  I can’t believe how they’ve survived, but I guess they really like adverse weather.  They’ve had their best show yet, on the day after Hurricane Irene:

Their resilience is deeply symbolic of our team’s overall summer and long-term ethos.  Wendy Chandor jumped through hoops to try and get back from California before the hurricane.  Our newest team member Chew-Hoong Koh came to the office during the storm to keep up on customer service, as her home power was down.  Video intern Jamie Weliver regularly constructs and deconstructs sets to get “just the right shot” of a Grommet.  And I mean sets in his own home!  June Hsiao recently handled some critical Grommet launch items while on vacation, from the Honolulu airport.  With the longest commute of all of us, Danielle Chapdelaine braved five terrible snowstorms to get to the office last winter.    Leonard Chen’s recent trip to New York contained a tale of business development persistence that is one for the record books (I can’t share it … yet.)  Katherine Klinger fields supplier questions at all times and places from her home base of Minneapolis.

I’d have a story about every person on the team, just from last week.  They make it look easy to do this, even when it is not.

3 Responses to “Operating under siege”

  1. Steve Curran

    I think our (Pod Design) attic buildout above you must have created a forced relocation of mice to the promised land of your snack cache.

    Thank you, for taking our tired, our poor, our hungry mouses yearning to snack free…

  2. julespieri

    You can have them back anytime–the problem is our work space is so much more interesting to animals and small children, even if yours is WAY cooler.

    • Pat Rabby

      Jules, I had complete success some years ago using a plug-iin anti-rodent electrical device — looks like a transformer for stereo — supposedly the current goes through the rooms and discourages critters. Don’t know why, but it definitely worked. I left it in place for several years, and got few ants in spring as well. Good luck!


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