One thing I love about Sandbox is the ever-changing environment. It’s always evolving, even from one week to the next. On my first day way back in May of 2010 I remember being shocked, mostly because this place did just not seem real. I got to choose the projects I would be working on, I was wearing jeans (and that was ok), there were no offices, only “pods”, and all of the employees ate lunch together. Everyone’s diverse life experiences intersected at this playground of creativity.
Here are some changes I’ve observed:
Ideation to Incubation Focus: Last summer was all about ideation, We had weekly brainstorm sessions, and my job was to research and test various new business ideas. My favorite concept testing project was a frozen yogurt-style retail idea. I got to whip up different flavors of the product for Sandboxers to test, help lead a focus group, and even go out in the field to observe froyo consumers in action. I returned this summer to find four businesses well beyond the ideation stage, along with many new staff members to accommodate for this growth. The focus was much more on incubation, a word which no longer conjures up images of newborn chicks in my mind. Incubation meant developing existing startups to help them reach their full potential. Each of this summer’s interns worked primarly with one team. I focus on Lab42, doing blogging, PR and marketing.
Countless new businesses launched: I love watching how quickly businesses are launched at Sandbox. During my first week here, I attended a name brainstorm for a personalized style company (the latest brainchild of Sandbox ideation). The name CakeStyle was chosen, and just a few weeks ago I visited its newly opened showroom! Throughout the summer, I watched it move from a one-page concept description to a tangible business with its own website and headquarters. You never know what Sandbox will look like three months from now, and that’s part of the fun of it.
With everything that’s changed in the past year, the distinctive Sandbox culture has stayed very much the same. I still sense the collaborative, entrepreneurial excitement when I arrive each morning. And I can’t get enough of the unexpected surprises, like a competition to come up with the most creative Zaarly request. This resulted in a guest singer, serenading the office with Rebecca Black’s famous Friday song (replacing Friday with Tuesday).
I’ve witnessed so much happen in such a short amount of time, and I’ve loved being part of this exciting phase of Sandbox’s growth and development (the new Sandbox website matches this culture extremely well, you should check it out). Of course now all the unique and quirky things about this office have become the norm for me, which will make it hard to transition back to life outside the box. Even though I’ll be back at school, I still might add to the blog every now and then. And be sure to stay tuned for posts from other Sandbox interns!