« What I will not be writing about online | Main | Michael Gerber, E-Myth: technicians, managers, and entrepreneurs »

Foosball: luxury or necessity?

Friday, April 15, 2005 at 08:32AM
Posted by Registered CommenterPolitical Mammal in Company history

Over a year ago now, NGP Software, Inc., purchased its second foosball table, a very nice Tornado Cyclone II. We retired our earlier $200 Sears model after a serviceable but unimpressive career.

We now have a pretty high density of accomplished foosball players. And we include foosball skills as an extra qualification in our employment advertisements.

I am not sure whether in a small software company a foosball table is a luxury, a work hazard, or a necessity. It is certainly enjoyable to be able to catch a game with coworkers. And I think it is necessary to have an outlet when some programming bug, technical support issue, client data snafu, or Internet connectivity hiccup raises the frustration levels. I get nervous only on very rare occasions—such as when I see four players plus an audience happily engaged in not working for too long, or when I can see that my non-foosball-playing staff resents the amount of play. This has not happened in a while.

I never played foosball until college, but I was fortunate that my residential college (Berkeley) at Yale had a game room with three very good game tables: ping pong, pool, and foosball. I may have to petition for it, but I should have earned at least one course credit sophomore year in foosball. Some friends and I spent a great deal of time studying that sport with some seniors with serious skills—and practicing it in numerous games against each other.

It is a good thing now that I had that college experience, because otherwise I would be consistently crushed by my own employees. And then where would I find any respect? As it is, I can still hold my own, particularly in a one-one one situation where my weak left-handed five-man does not hinder me.

As long as we continue to find a balance between quality of life and productivity, I will continue to be a fan of the NGP corporate foosball perquisite.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

You'll be happy to know that I have some foosball experience as well. I worked at PilotOnline (the online division of the Virginian-Pilot) for a year, and they had a foosball table they'd bought after they made their first million in sales. I got to be fairly decent after a year of playing some very skilled guys. Now, if you could just add a pooltable... ;-)
April 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSean Robertson

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.