Friday, April 22, 2011

The Incredibly Shrinking Cubicles:

In the mid 1980's, Intel had a development facility in Plainsboro, NJ. We filled a two-story office building, a sea of cubicles, for about 150 people.

Development on a major new chip had begun, and the VP for hardware asked our wonderful, friendly, competent building manager to prepare for forty designers to relocate to our building from the coast, in three months.
"Where are we going to put them?" she asked. The building's full!"

"Think of something," he said.

And she did.

If all the cubes on the first floor were made a little smaller, she could free up the required space. Logistics would be complex, because the freed space had to appear in one place, and people had to be minimally unsettled by all the changes. She planned a sequence of events. Movers worked day after day, making their minimal changes, and some open floor began to apear.
One day she looked at the calendar, and she was deeply puzzled. She rushed off to the hardware veep and asked him, "Larry, where are those forty engineers that I've been making space for? Aren't some of them supposed to be here by now?
"Oh, did I forget to tell you?" he said. "Two months ago, they decided not to come."
Our cubicles never regained their lost space.

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