Yahoo? “They haven’t bought stuff in a looong time”
May 10, 2016 9:37 AM   Subscribe

 
Or maybe people are wising up, and realizing that a ping-pong table isn't as important as proper compensation.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:43 AM on May 10, 2016 [25 favorites]


The only reason anybody cares about these voodoo indicators is that nobody knows when a bubble is going to pop or if in fact you are in a bubble until it's too late.
posted by panama joe at 9:43 AM on May 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Nah, it's not from the bubble popping. It's because the VC-funded guys are always one step ahead of what the WSJ is reporting. Ping pong tables are so 2011 that they practically come with Romney/Ryan stickers already attached. The next craze in the collaborative shared startup incubator space is going to be huge. HUGE. Ready for it? I have one word for you. Just one word.

Canasta.
posted by Mayor West at 9:44 AM on May 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


Whatever. I'm sitting it out until the Great Faro Craze of 2021.
posted by panama joe at 9:46 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Joe Fahr, its 30-year-old head of marketing, keeps his $100 Butterfly-brand paddle in a special bag at his desk and brings in his dog Gigi, a Brussels Griffon. He is No. 2 in the internal ping-pong rankings at the startup, recently bought by BlackRock Inc. , and says the table is an equalizer that “breaks down the hierarchy.”

For certain values of "hierarchy", that is.
posted by Frowner at 9:47 AM on May 10, 2016 [39 favorites]


Also that chart is going in my personal hall of fame. It'll share a wall with some real VIPs.
posted by Mayor West at 9:48 AM on May 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


One of the best perks of renting a desk at WeWork is the ping pong table. I've gone from "maybe hit the ball in the right direction" to "calculate the spin my opponent has applied and formulate a difficult return" in just under two years. It is also great exercise. People do get ridiculous with their expensive paddles in little pleather paddle cases, though.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:51 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark says while headquarters hasn’t bought a table recently, its offices elsewhere have. “I can assure you that people are still playing ping pong at Yahoo.”
THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH YAHOO, WE STILL DO THE PING-PONG.
posted by clawsoon at 9:52 AM on May 10, 2016 [41 favorites]


The really bleeding-edge people only play lansquenet, though.
posted by praemunire at 9:54 AM on May 10, 2016


Tech companies are still pursuing this rec-room affectation? It started in the original dotcom boom in the 90s. I thought it was super neat at the time. At the first dotcom company I worked for. For about five minutes.

(My current company still has self-consciously "freewheeling" crap lying around that was originally purchased in the 90s. It sits and collects dust.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:55 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hah. I worked at a late-90s dotcom that was still trudging along when I was hired in the early-2000s. It featured a pool table whose entire purpose was to gratify the CEO's ego. The few times I ever saw it in use, the players earned some serious side-eye from everyone who was actually trying to get some work done at the time. It was, after all, in the middle of an open-floorplan office.

At one point, somebody threw an unauthorized after-hours party, of which the 15 ball was a casualty. It was never replaced.

A few years later, when they brought in a hatchet man in an ultimately-failed attempt to make the company profitable, the pool table was given away on Craigslist to "anybody willing to haul it off-premises."

Who the fuck wants to play pool at work, anyway?
posted by panama joe at 10:03 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hah, we at Apple have a special building up in Sunnyvale for ping pong table tennis. Well, maybe not an entire building, but definitely a giant room with a bunch of Olympic quality tables and automatic ball serving robots and 24/7 badged access and whatnot

Our official tournament team has a bunch of national ranked players. They (I don't think Apple pays for this part) hire their own coach to help prepare for tournaments. They play in the big Bay Area tech match, The KIPP Smackdown, and last year Team Apple got second in doubles. Samsung won, but they had a former South Korean Junior Olympic champion.
posted by sideshow at 10:04 AM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Tech companies are still pursuing this rec-room affectation?

I'm holding out for a standing desk that looks like a race car.
posted by thelonius at 10:13 AM on May 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Pick any ten random VC-funded companies, divide the number of ping pong tables by dollars of profit, and decide for yourself if there's a bubble.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:13 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Who the fuck wants to play pool at work, anyway?

It's a good way to have a low-key one-on-one meeting.

I think this piece is weak without corroborating data from foosball tables.
posted by GuyZero at 10:23 AM on May 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


We don't have a table-tennis table in* our offices but the foosball table seems to be constantly in use.

* There is a concrete ping-pong table in the plaza to the east the side of the building but given that this is Pittsburgh, it's only usable for about 25% of the time when it's not sleeting or snowing or raining.
posted by octothorpe at 10:33 AM on May 10, 2016


How many ping pong tables can one company buy anyway?
posted by atoxyl at 10:46 AM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Relevant to the foosball table as company culture builder discussion.

We have ping pong, foosball, pool and video games at our office. They help, but what has been most helpful for team building is a culture of hard work, respect for the time of others, and a willingness to speak up that is driven by trust that you'll be heard and respected when you do speak up. You can't buy that kind of culture, though. Much easier to buy a ping pong table and call it a day.
posted by rhythm and booze at 10:46 AM on May 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


Yes, what atoxyl said: doesn't this say more about the pingpongtable companies' failed business acumen than it does about tech? Where is the planned obsolescence? The tables are lasting too long!
posted by Don Pepino at 10:47 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


How many ping pong tables can one company buy anyway?

A number directly and measurably corresponding to their revenue growth, apparently. Maybe it's some kind of SEC reporting requirement now?
posted by Naberius at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2016


Are Aeron chairs still an indicator? I got mine when the used market was flooded with them after the last boom/bust.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


OH MY GOD I just want to do my damned job and go home what is wrong with ppl
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:08 AM on May 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


I worked at a tech company with foosball tables, ping pong, a pool table, retro arcade games, a wii, a xbox and a air hockey table.

In the 7 years I worked there, I didn't play with any of them once.

I go to work to get paid and go home, not to hang out.
posted by 81818181818181818181 at 11:33 AM on May 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Did you hear Questlove's story about Prince playing ping pong with Jimmy Fallon the day Jimmy Fallon's child was born? What an asshole Jimmy Fallon must be.
posted by latkes at 11:41 AM on May 10, 2016


Whatever, he can have another kid. He's not going to get another chance for playing prince ping pong.
posted by flaterik at 11:59 AM on May 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I now work in a stodgy industry where we wear ties (gasp) and the only thing resembling recreation is the plain old radio we keep on one of the local stations (horror). We were excited when we managed to snag a full-size fridge for the breakroom.

On the other hand, I get real overtime pay for every minute I work over 8 hours in a day, so I'll buy my own ping pong table if I want one.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:19 PM on May 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


Here's the story. It wasn't like he missed the birth of his child - he just ditched dinner one night while the child was brand new.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:21 PM on May 10, 2016


Tech companies are still pursuing this rec-room affectation? It started in the original dotcom boom in the 90s.

Ahem...back in the 1980s the cool kids were chipping in to buy their own ping pong tables (and dart boards and espresso machines), bringing them into work and commandeering infrequently used meeting rooms/storage spaces. We didn't ask for permission. We just thought it up and did it.

People forget all these affectations provided for by one's company were originally shit programmers just did for themselves. It was only in the dotcom period that these things became institutionalized.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:24 PM on May 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


I have a friend who was recently hired by some company that has at least one ping pong table; he hadn't ever played before, but he's gotten pretty decent in the past 2-3 months. A couple weeks ago he suggested we visit a place here in town that has a dozen or so tables and serves beer and snacks.

I used to be really into ping pong in my teens and early 20's - had my own paddle with inward pips and everything, must've cost me - gosh - 15 or 20 bucks in the 70's! But I hadn't played since I left college 30 years ago. I dragged that old paddle out of whatever box it was currently buried in; surprisingly it was still in half-decent shape (i.e. the rubber was maybe a little stiff and slick with age but not actually cracked) despite having been lugged blindly from house to house over the years but otherwise totally ignored.

So we went. In the hour we were there I eventually started getting my old chops back; the muscles sort of remembered but the execution was awkward. But I had a great time, and damned if I didn't come home all fired up to get a new paddle and pick up where I left off.

...Until I saw what sort of prices they're charging for even mediocre paddles these days. Ehh, I'll hang on to my old paddle for now. Damn startups, ruining the price curve for everybody else!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:28 PM on May 10, 2016


Also:

a place here in town that has a dozen or so tables and serves beer and snacks

Why yes, I do live in Portland, why do you ask?
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:30 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, if the table tennis bubble pops, does that mean there will be a bunch of competition quality tables hanging around the liquidators alongside the standup desks and yoga balls?

'Cause I'd clear some space in the garage for that.
posted by madajb at 1:04 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


In the late 90's I worked at a software company in Boston. It had been founder-run for a number of years, but then they got serious and brought on board some fancy-pants CEO to position the company for acquisition. As a part of that effort they moved us to a high rise in Cambridge, and we got a ping pong table. And you know who was the best at ping pong? Jeremy Sagan. Jeremy "son of Carl, 9-11 truther" Sagan was unbeatable at ping pong. I spent hours getting my ass kicked by him instead of going home. Friggin' Sagan.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:05 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


So the ping pong fad is slowing down, so that must mean the tech bubble is popping. Right, This makes perfect sense to me.

Or maybe everyone just likes foosball better.
posted by ananci at 1:30 PM on May 10, 2016


Maybe this is because all it takes is one sleep-deprived, roid-raging brogrammer tracking the blame for a build-breaking patch to the guy currently using the ping pong table in their open-floor-plan office, and now your startup is permanently tainted with the "murder scene" bad juju. That kind of thing can really kill your next round of funding.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:16 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think it's just that all the brogrammers now have moved on to playing cornhole.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:30 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Except for Buster
posted by en forme de poire at 3:30 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The "demise" of office pingpong has arrived just in time for Susan Sarandon to open her "Ping Pong Social Club" in SoMA.
posted by toxic at 3:55 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


iTunes connect was slow today and thus many sets of Table tennis were played while we waited for Apple to accept upload for TestFlight.
posted by humanfont at 4:38 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's a good way to have a low-key one-on-one meeting.


Victor Ziegler: You feel like playing?
Dr Bill Harford: No, thanks. You go ahead, I'll watch.
VZ: No, no, no, no, no...I was just...Listen...Bill, the reason I asked you to come over is, I, I, I need to talk to you about something.
BH: Sure.
VZ: [Sighs] It's a little bit awkward. And I have to be completely frank.
BH: What kind of problem are you having?
VZ: It isn't a medical problem. Actually, it concerns you. Bill, I know what happened last night.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 5:27 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Our university started a startup incubator. I went along to the building it is in to see exactly how one incubates a startup. Turns out it involves a fridge full of free drinks, some beanbags and a ping pong table. Build it and they will come, or something,
posted by lollusc at 7:10 PM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


I worked for a nameless company that had ping pong tables and the kids from just out of college loved it, and I just wanted to get home but I didn't say anything. Then in the company provided televisions all over the place I turned on The Office to watch tv while my script ran (run, break, fix, run). On a Sunday. The senior product manager came in furious and said we need to get working. 20 minutes later he was watching football.
posted by geoff. at 5:18 AM on May 11, 2016


Our university started a startup incubator. I went along to the building it is in to see exactly how one incubates a startup. Turns out it involves a fridge full of free drinks, some beanbags and a ping pong table. Build it and they will come, or something,

hehe sow some bean bags and foosballs and you will get incredible growth and unicorns! Like Jack and the Giant Beanstalk, but for VCs.

Interesting to hear about how things have evolved in the times. In 2002, my university's nearest thing to a startup incubator was a windowless basement computer lab covered in sad linoleum with monitors from the early 90s and smelling of burning from the lasers next door. I really miss it.
posted by rhythm and booze at 6:59 AM on May 11, 2016


I can't remember if it was Philip Roth or JD Salinger having a character being in an Army rec room trying to read while sitting "an axe-handle's length distant from a ping pong table".
posted by Chitownfats at 8:06 PM on May 11, 2016


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