First of all, they make us feel very clever. Remember those UPS commercials? That guy was extremely clever, and using a whiteboard kind of makes us feel like that. Also: college professors, especially in the sciences. They're always drawing diagrams on whiteboards, and that's a positive association that shouldn't be overlooked.
Did you ever get in trouble for drawing on the walls when you were a little kid? Whiteboards are great for that kind of unbounded creativity - they encourage us to brainstorm and sketch our ideas, turn lists into diagrams and flowcharts, and express concepts and relationships instead of getting hung up on particulars.
Those are all things that are important to us, so it shouldn't surprise you to hear we've got plenty of whiteboards here at 50 Grove Street. Here are some highlights:
1. Giant picture-frame whiteboard: It's really just a 4'x 8' piece of plywood covered with Idea Paint. We framed it ourselves with some crown moulding from Home Depot and spruced it up with some gold spray paint (also from Home Depot). Total cost: $150
2. The Whiteboard Wall: This is the site of our weekly, all-hands stand-up meeting where we fill each other in on our work. As such, it's also where we make notes and to-do lists. It was our first brush with Idea Paint, and it's become a central part of our culture.
3. This patched-over spot where a window used to be: seemed like a great place to have ideas. We tested a new product, Whiteyboard, which was not the world's most raging success. It was a real bear to put up, and it doesn't erase very well.
Stick to Idea Paint, is what we'd suggest.
4. The Whiteboard Table: When we painted the giant picture-frame whiteboard we had some Idea Paint left over, so we painted this table. Once you mix the paint you have to use it all up, so pro tip: have some ideas ready for any leftovers.
Whiteboard paint isn't cheap, but it's worth it. When you consider the value of a good idea, turning everything into a whiteboard is one of the best investments a startup can make. Sure, those big-business fat cats can fill their offices with Minority-Report touchscreens and hologram Tupacs, but we little guys got to hustle. And that means getting creative on every possible surface.
Remember: anything can be a whiteboard, and it probably should be.