July 20, 2010

B&B++: bed and breakfast for programmers

1. Collect background

This is the latest in my steal-my-idea-but-give-me-free-stuff-after-you-do series, with slightly more earning potential than my last installment, "Strike a Cord".

I recently spoke to some Mozillians who had participated in a "code retreat" — I'd only heard tale of such a thing in lore and folk song, but it seems like a brilliant concept.

The idea is this: a small think tank (of one or more persons) requires a large amount of code throughput on a task which requires a high degree of focus. To facilitate that, they run far from the middling issues of civilized society and deep into the wilderness [*] to code "butt-necked in harmony with Eywa". [†] Through single-minded concentration and a dearth of non-maskable interrupts, they emerge victorious. [‡]

2. ?

Follow these simple steps to steal my idea:

  1. Assume that the aforementioned code retreat process is awesome.

  2. Make a bed-and-breakfast in the outskirts of a city that's attractive to programmers (for whatever reason).

  3. Offer retreats with high-speed internet access, offices with whiteboards, mirra chairs, height-adjustable desks, pay-as-you-go phone conference equipment, high-res DLP projectors, disco balls, whatever. Make it clearly "the works". If you want to go even further, mount speakers and sound-proof the walls. [§]

  4. Make the experience as luxurious and classy as reasonably possible so that the programmers respect the "sanctity" of the retreat: chef-prepared meals, an indisputably good coffee machine, a Z80 prominently featured as a piece of wall art, and a complimentary bag-o-munchy-chips regimen. Beautiful scenery in which one can walk and think would definitely be a plus, and proximity to a nerd-friendly bar never hurt a nerdy establishment either.

The patrons have a good degree of flexibility as a result of this setup. They might hole themselves away in offices 95% of the time, emerging only to sleep, gather delicious food, and scuttle back into their offices. Alternatively, if they're on a more casual endeavor (coding vacation?), they might choose to strike up conversations with people at meals and go out to see the sites.

3. Profit!

Please do steal my idea and make a lot of money for yourself (share it with no one!) — I only ask that you offer me a free stay once you get off the ground.

I'll leave you off with a little marketing campaign idea:

B&B++: universally evaluated as the way to B, and, after each bed and breakfast, we get a little bit better. Until we overflow. [¶]

Footnotes

[*]

Or a hotel.

[†]

Sadly, I can't take credit for this phrase.

[‡]

Readers familiar with XP may draw a parallel to the practice of Kanban, which has a fascinating backstory, and acknowledges the awesome power of JIT.

[§]

For the mercy of those who dislike techno.

[¶]

Hey, I'm giving this advice away for free, you can't expect it to all be good. No company ever survived giving their excellent primary product away for free. [#]

[#]

Ugh, too much meta-humor. If you've read and understood up to this point, I apologize.