Consequently, most answers to our whiteboard question dripped with sarcasm. A few sincere souls offered commonly held conceptions of new media cool, which I refute here point by point:
- You can work at the office in your ripped gym shorts Does this make you cool? No, it makes you comfortable. Not a bad thing, but we've all admired others who transcend the boring business suit or, better yet, look great in one.
- Average age of employees is 33 Young is daring, dynamic, and energetic. Young is also inexperienced, ignorant, and arrogant. It's a toss up.
- The ping pong table Many of us work at companies that have yet to turn a profit, where investors are eagerly awaiting that profit, and that therefore race against competitors for features and sponsorship. Personally we have to-do lists so long it hurts to look at them. Are we going to stop working and play ping-pong? I don't think so.
- Stock options If you're a director, VP, CEO, or have a fantastic potential career path within the company then stock options bring value. The rest of us face the choice of stunting our careers while holding out for the big IPO/buyout or else leaving for a better job because, chances are, our small new media shop doesn't offer much in the way of a career path. Besides, chances are the token amount of options we receive as a non-CEO are only an incentive if they pay off Yahoo-big, and that ain't likely. Chances are even your CEO options can be bettered by some other, more aggressive, startup.