Sonos heads across the river to a new space in downtown Boston. Wicked acoustics included.
Boston is, in my humble opinion, the best location in the world for a tech company. Especially one with a musical bent. We’ve got great colleges and universities, strong technical roots, and an awesome and historic music scene. It’s not surprising, then, that Boston has been part of Sonos’ DNA since the very beginning.
I joined the company in February 2003, shortly after it was founded in Santa Barbara, California. I was the eighth employee and the first on the East Coast. We’ve been proudly bi-coastal ever since — and now international — which has allowed us to be largely location-agnostic in our hiring. Currently we have almost 400 employees in Boston, about the same as our Santa Barbara office.
Our very first office in Massachusetts was actually just one room in a technology incubator in North Cambridge. Within a few months, however, we moved to Kendall Square. It was there, in 2008, where we installed our first video-conferencing system, which has played a huge role in making our global operation work so well. Then, in 2010, we moved to a former furniture factory in East Cambridge, which allowed us to have our first real hardware lab, instead of re-purposing a couple vacant rooms.
Within a few years, though, we were bursting at the seams again. Our staff was larger. Our lab needs were much more sophisticated. And the office itself was feeling more and more like a rabbit warren of isolated pods.
When looking for a new office we considered a range of locations in the Boston area. We wanted an open, collaborative work environment that supported both formal and informal meetings for all of the teams across product development, human resources, marketing, finance and more. We wanted a location that was urban but also easy to reach. And, because we don’t work all the time, we wanted places nearby to go for lunch and drinks after work.
Oh, and we also needed space for a 30-by-30-by-30 foot acoustic chamber, among other lab equipment.
“There are two acoustically tuned listening rooms for the best place to listen to our speakers, and we installed that behemoth acoustic chamber without much trouble … aside from taking out a ceiling and briefly shutting down the street next to our building (sorry, Boston!).”
After months of searching, we found what we wanted, right in the middle of downtown. The new office is on two floors, with an outside deck. Inside, we totally renovated the space from a “cube farm” to an open seating layout with a variety of meeting areas, most with video-conferencing.
There are two acoustically tuned listening rooms for the best place to listen to our speakers, and we installed that behemoth acoustic chamber without much trouble … aside from taking out a ceiling and briefly shutting down the street next to our building (sorry, Boston!). But we now have the best acoustic lab in town.
The inside is only half the story, though. We’re also blocks from public transportation (at the intersection of all subway lines, halfway between North and South Station) and great spots like the Boston Common, Chinatown and the Theater District, plus a host of restaurants.
“Boston is a great city for music, with venues from the Lizard Lounge and Wally’s Café up to Symphony Hall and Boston Garden.”
Whether you work in Boston or Santa Barbara — or Seattle or Hilversum, for that matter — Sonos is, and always has been, a company full of music lovers. And Boston is a great city for music, with venues from the Lizard Lounge and Wally’s Café up to Symphony Hall and Boston Garden. There are tons of amazing organizations cultivating local talent, from The Record Company to Berklee College of Music. And the long history of Boston-area audio companies — Acoustic Research, Advent, Bose, Boston Acoustics, Cambridge Sound Works, Snell and others — continues to inspire us on our mission to create the ultimate home listening experience for the 21st century.
Throughout our history in Boston, we have always been playing our music out loud. Our growing team here doesn’t all have the same taste, but I’d like to think that we’re all open-minded. I get my best music recommendations from coworkers and, needless to say, we are all excited to kick off the playlist battle in our new office space.
Thanks for 13 great years, Boston. Here’s to many more.