It's that time of the tech boom-bust cycle. Perk time! Chocolate fountains? Check. Indoor tree houses? Check. If your office doesn't have a mechanical bull and a ball pit, you're just not going to attract the talent you need.
It was inevitable that some of the new billions flowing into tech companies would end up spent on zany office perks, like multimillion dollar disappointment Color's skate ramp. So, shady vacation rental startup Airbnb is now showing off its quirky San Francisco digs in the Wall Street Journal:
Then there are the regularly scheduled perks at the 120-person vacation-rental marketplace outfit, including Mustache Mondays (employees wear fake ones), Yoga Tuesdays (before company lunch) and Thursday Recess (company-wide kickball).
Working at Airbnb "is like a really fun school where you get paid," says Joe Gebbia, the 29-year-old co-founder of the company, whose offices have a two-story indoor tree house and a section of a retired Pan Am plane. "Or maybe it's more like camp."
The idea, dutifully relayed by the Wall Street Journal, is that "fierce competition for talent among start-ups has necessitated extraordinary perks meant to attract and retain employees." Because nobody wants to be the engineer at the Silicon Valley dinner party whose office only has one keg of organic microbrew in the break room.
But of course the Wall Street Journal would blame the common employee for ridiculous corporate excess. It also takes a special kind of executive to spend chunks of investors' cash installing an eastern mysticism-themed "peace room" in an office modeled after his own apartment, as Airbnb founder Joe Gebbia did. You know, the kind of guy who launches startups in the first place. When, inevitably, some newly-broke tech executive looks back on their employee water slides and baby elephant petting zoos with a pang of regret, at least they'll be able to rationalize that it was all for the "talent."