Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the headquarters of Rackspace, an innovative and leading cloud hosting provider to discuss some of their newer product offerings and iron out implementation details for a large client of Acquity Group. The agenda included a tour of their facilities by an early employee who goes by Sugar Bear. There’s a great story as to how he got his name but we’re already straying off-course…
Based out of Texas, the company welcomes the Cowboy persona to the workplace. I don’t mean Cowboy in the sense that there is little to no preparation with everyone shooting from the hip. By keeping the organization very flat, a large pool of decision makers are hands-on and aren’t afraid to dwelve into the technical details.
The company also prides itself in providing the best customer service, a trait not too far from the state’s Southern Hospitality
The work area also has flags hanging from above the range from various national flags to sports teams. The company also awards tenured Rackers with milestone flags (‘X Year Racker’). Having everybody (including the CEO) sit in an open area cube, there is a very egalitarian atmosphere and Executive Management seemed very open and easy to approach.
If you’re not familiar with Rackspace, their main headquarters used to be Mervyn’s Department Store. One of the employees had rented out his prom tux from a store that is currently a conference room.
After Mervyn’s closed its doors, Rackspace purchased the property, split it into segments and began construction. Precaution was taken to minimize waste and donate any materials over to the community.
Nicknamed “The Castle” by Rackers, their relocation to the HQ was tagged “Storm the Castle”. There are entertaining videos of the CEO, Lanham Napier, giving a pep rallies to his employees to get ready for the battle.
But what’s the point of a castle without breaking any world records, right?
The Castle is LEED Gold Certified. If that doesn’t mean much to you, think energy efficient lights everywhere, greener building materials and toilets that have two settings to flush.
They also have a wicked cool fan – the “Big Ass Fan”
Because cool tech companies realize their employees miss their younger days. As in way younger days.
Preserving the history
One of the newer areas of the castle has a dedicated area for a museum. How about that? 🙂
A lot of employees were wearing different Rackspace t-shirts and there was a nice display of the past t-shirt campaigns by the HR area. Their internal marketing team seems to have gotten the memo about avoiding terrible bland t-shirts.
Summing it up
The day I visited, the Company was hosting a celebration in their outdoor area (which looked like it used to be the loading dock for the mall) for ranking #74 on the ‘Forbes Best companes to work for’ list. There was a whiteboard congratulating the Rackers and somebody had scrawled on “We’re #1, no matter what”.
Their enthusiasm was contagious 🙂