Recently, Studio Symposium has introduced a salt water fish tank into it’s Point Pleasant, NJ office. Pictures of it will be available online as the progression continues on. When I first had the idea to introduce a tank in the office, I did it for a myriad of reasons; the psychological benefits of having something proven to reduce stress in the work environment could only prove beneficial to the already-taxed staff. The tank serves as a common ground for the employees to share while at work aside from the otherwise mundane details of a particular project; something they could learn about, make decisions about, and try different things for.
After about 3 weeks settled into the office, the members of the team at the office took a lunch with me, drove to my house, and uncovered my old fish tank. We brought it to the office, and spent a while setting it up after I bought BBQ for everyone who helped. We ended up solving a few problems that we couldn’t have foreseen, and after about an hour or so it was filled with salt water and ready to go. A day later, I went to the local fish store and stocked the tank with rock from Fiji called “Live Rock”, the benefits of which will become apparent in time. Next week, we have a few fish that will be going in the tank, then a few corals, and so on.
The tank in the office could be used as a metaphor for owning a business. You start small, with an idea that a few people can rally behind, and you build it slowly. As the time passes, you add things, or subtract them, based on whether or not they work well in the environment you’ve created. If all goes well (and you keep things fresh), it begins to flourish as a result of the hard work you have put into it. And, finally, if you see it every day, the changes aren’t immediately apparent. If you take a step back and look at it as a time-lapse, the amount of growth in your effort may surprise you.
Studio Symposium was founded in March, 2009 by myself and Alex Karpodinis, with the goal largely in line with what we have managed to accomplish. We have an office, an excellent team, and plenty of work coming in. However, sometimes in business, just as with the fish tank, you need to shuffle things around a bit to make them work more efficiently. On July 1, 2011, Alex sadly submitted his resignation. Moving forward without Alex’s input will prove a challenge, but not one that can’t be overcome. His contributions to the company helped make Studio Symposium what it is today, and I’m truly sad to see him go. Perhaps if the environment were different, things would be more conducive to his continual contributions to the company. However, as Studio Symposium grows moving forward, it will have to do so with one less fish in the tank.
Personally, I look forward to the positive things that this challenge represents, and am excited to see what the Studio Symposium ecosystem is able to accommodate moving forward.