A 10lb laptop, iMac and a coffee maker. When I first started CG Cookie 10 years ago, this was our studio below, which has evolved into a much loved company HQ. But now, it’s time to say goodbye.
Having a brick-and-mortar location used to feel necessary
What you don’t see in the 2008 picture above is the Skype chat with my now good friend and partner Jonathan Williamson, probably feverishly debating why the CG Cookie servers crashed and how to add a “Blog” feature to the website. We were collaborating on CG Cookie remotely - which is now a buzz term but back then, it was still a mildly suspect way to run a business.
2 years of collaborating without meeting face to face
Jonathan and I were as remote as it gets. Nearly two years would pass before we’d even meet in person when we met in Illinois to look for our first studio space
Why get a studio?
It was 2010: YouTube was 4 years old, streaming video hadn’t yet gone mainstream, digital artists were learning how to build their own audiences online. It was an exciting time and it seemed like the natural order of things; create a startup, gain traction and get a physical space to be taken seriously as a business.
Setting Camp in Illinois
Geneva, Il is a wonderful small town filled with pubs (important), good food (even more important) and paths along the river (to look at through the window). It was here that we found the perfect space for CG Cookie HQ in 2010.
Over the years, it has housed many company retreats, with the growing Cookie crew (now 15 humans scattered over this pale blue dot) sleeping here, brainstorming and playing Settlers of Catan for a few days each year. The walls boast artwork from CG Cookie history: Piero, Swamp Creature, Clown Sculpture, Eat Sheep characters and, of course, CG Cookie mascot, Baker.
Rethinking the whole Studio thing
Through challenges and obsessive iterating to build a company we are all proud to work for, CG Cookie has grown. A lot. And while it’s nice to have our own studio and bask in the blue light and electromagnetic radiation, our need for a physical space has shrunk.
For the majority of the year, I am the main one to use the space. During the summer months when my kiddos are at home, it is a nice place for me to go focus (aka escape). Occasionally, we’ll host an event or bring on a contractor to help us with a project.
But the reality of CG Cookie culture lives on through the ever widening internet tubes: our Slack and Basecamp never stop buzzing, but the studio is quiet.
Which is why, at the 10 year anniversary of CG Cookie, we’ve decided to say goodbye to the studio. It’s bittersweet because of the emotional connection; so many cool projects, people and experiences! But not being tied down to a physical location feels right. More organic, more nimble, more fitting to what we are: a fast-changing business, always adapting, always improving, fueled by the same passion that first got us started.
Our next company retreat could be anywhere (Suggestions welcome. Must have good coffee.). ☕️
And maybe, in another 10 years we’ll be freezing our physical bodies and uploading our consciousness to a cloud, who knows? We’re here for it.
Let the next chapter of CG Cookie begin! 🍪