Brian, you've certainly covered all bases here. I was enthralled with the robotic beer pong table, though disappointed that no one was drinking the beer. Give it to the robots - reward for their hard work. Some robots can't operate without alcohol (Bender). I hope Chris can take this article to mgmt with an impassioned plea for the installation of some dispensing machine - a fully architected system with distributed CO2 (nitrogen for Guinness), tap tables, or just a fridge.
Two of my favorite things: engineering and beer. For years I worked at a small company where beer was a part of the culture. On Fridays after 4:00pm we would convene in someone's office with a six pack, discuss the events of the week, what everyone was doing on the weekend and so on. It was somewhat ceremonious, and I usually had to buy the beer, but it was always something to look forward to.
Beer also has another excellent property which I might add - removing the creativity block. After a couple of beers, my ideas come much more freely. Engineers are typically introverts and beer can correct that. However, everyone has a "slippery slope." Three beers in and you might not be so productive for idea-generation any longer. You might also suffer from post-beer carb-coma syndrome (PBCCS). The only known cure is to watch cat videos on YouTube. This clearly has a terrible effect on productivity levels.
As for coffee, well we consume that throughout the day as well. For the adventurous, and those who prefer efficiency, Troegs makes a beer called Java-Head Stout, which is a malty, chocolate-y stout made with coffee. This would probably be more acceptable than making an Irish coffee at your desk.
It's nice to be the owner and manager of a company, as company culture is an important piston in the engine of business. If your employees enjoy beer, well, let them have beer. Just look for the ones with the tell-tale imprints from their static mats on their cheeks, and implore them to cut back.
Another thing I forgot to mention to you that adds a bit of historical perspective to the whole thing. On page 130 of the book, "Bill and Dave", they talk about the importance of Beer Busts at the HP headquarters on Friday afternoons. It'd be a time to unwind and talk about the week and build relationships outside ones own department.
Another important part of the culture? A coffee break, every day at 10 am. See? Coffee and beer!
Scott, it is my undying regret that we had to jet off from our meeting with you and Adam in Maryland. I don't recall seeing a kegerator anywhere, otherwise we would have stayed for a while.
When I see you next at a trade show or elsewhere, we will simulate the event at a local tavern!
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