Full-Time Startup: Skribit Week 2

As a follow-up to my post detailing my first week of full-time work at Skribit, this post will talk about my adaptation to the working from home lifestyle as well as how work is going. I have slowly gotten into a work routine and generally start work around 8 or 9am until around 5pm, when I take a few hours off and then do an hour or two of work in the wee hours. Unfortunately I have a habit of going to sleep at 3-4am, but I catch up on sleep on Sundays.

The Home Office

It became painfully clear to me how important it was to have an environment supportive of long hours of work and conducive to productivity. I rearranged my apartment to help out with this.

Step 1: Remove all clutter The less junk there is lying around me, the clearer my mind feels and less distractions I'll have. Getting rid of clutter was my New Year's Resolution for 2008 and for the most part I've done that. I only have what I need and if there is any left over stuff that I can't get rid of right now, it's stashed in my pantry (anyone want a 14-inch CRT TV, 2004 Mustang Cobra front brakes or 6 quarts of 5W-20 synthetic motor oil?).

Step 2: Separate the bedroom and the office Unfortunately I do not have enough rooms in my apartment for a dedicated office. The best I could do was move my desk from my bedroom and move it into the living room. That was a great choice as the bedroom was much more cramped and having a big bed next to the desk made it too tempting to take naps while working.

Step 3: Create an area for taking breaks and escaping from work Half of my living room is designated as the work area. There's my desk and a bookshelf with all of my technical resources. The other half of the living room is setup as my break and play area. There you'll find many soft things to lounge on (Sumo Sac, Sumo Omni, a two couches) that I use to stretch out and watch 15 minutes of TV or play PS3 while taking a break from sitting at the desk for the last few hours.

Step 4: Good Lighting There is only one source of natural light in my living room, making it hard to illuminate the entire room naturally. I prefer "white" light as opposed to orange "daylight" bulbs so I outfitted 3 lamps with CFLs - one desk lamp and two floor tower-style lamps.


Paul Stamatiou's Old Office Setup
Cramped desk and work area in the bedroom


Paul Stamatiou's Working From Home Office and Desk Setup
My "office" setup in the living room.
Paul's Technical Resource/etc Book Shelf
Some of my technical books kept near the desk for easy access.
The Break Room
The Break Room

Skribit Work

Week 2 has (still) been a lot of playing catch-up and learning. While I have been involved with Ruby on Rails for the last year, I spent most of my time in the front-end/view playground. Now that I'm taking a more active development role, I have been spending equal amounts of time in the M, V and C of MVC. Most of my time is not spent thinking about the logic behind how some piece of code will work, but rather finding out the particulars of the syntax. It's a lot of Googling and API reading (RoR API.com is great). I expect this will be much less of a time sink within a month.

We are gearing up to redesign Skribit.com, as well as release professional accounts, in the near future. As such I have started using Little Snapper to manage screenshots of interesting sites that may prove helpful as design inspiration in the upcoming design phase. The next step will involve creating wireframes with OmniGraffle Pro enhanced with Konigi's Wireframe Stencils.

Paul Stamatiou's LittleSnapper

Most days are spent at home, with the occasional change of scenery at a local coffee shop, meeting with someone or attending a Friday morning Gang of 5 meeting. Gang of 5 is "a unique network of local roundtables for the support of startup entrepreneurs." It's a group of roughly ~5 people that meet up every week to discuss challenges they have faced with their startup as well as just sharing experiences. I was part of a Go5 last summer and it was a great learning experience. It is always worthwhile to unplug and network with people that come from a different background (ex: marketing and business instead of technical). Some people in my Gang of 5 group work on these Atlanta-based startups: