2020_010_A
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The company that lives together is productive together

The company that lives together is productive together

Enplug is an advertising-technology company whose office is a six-bedroom, three-bathroom Ranch-style home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. Twelve of the company’s 37 employees, including the chief executive, live and work there—24 hours a day, seven days a week—without the commute and few outside distractions.

Is this a kind of secular monastic community?


The Wall Street Journal:

Employees and managers meet, work, eat, clean, exercise and sleep in the same space. And while there are occasional uncomfortable moments, such as nudging your boss to do the dishes, companies like Enplug say it is good for professional relationships, saves on rent and travel costs and is often just plain fun. Employees who choose to live in such arrangements are generally single 20-somethings who have recently left dorm life.

“We don’t try to separate work life from our personal life,” says Nanxi Liu, the 23-year-old co-founder and CEO of Enplug, which creates digital billboards, incorporating tweets and other social-media streams. “It’s a little bit cultish,” she says. “It is also extremely efficient.”

At the Enplug house, work literally gets done around the clock. Engineers often pull all-night coding sessions and roll out of bed around midday, while account managers wake up hours earlier to attend client meetings that are typically held offsite in cafes or clients’ offices.

“We work 24/7. We code. We go to bed. We wake up. We code,” says Alex Ross, 23, the firm’s chief technology officer and one of Ms. Liu’s roommates.

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brsholl

Ha! Well I’ll bite.

Isn’t this a sad parody of monastic intention? Unfortunately, it’s a corporate form of life that’s increasingly touted as a possible solution to our economic woes: life as corporate sustenance, financial telos as life.

I suppose the relevant questions are these: what kind of contemplation occurs here? What is the basis of human relationship in this context? Into what are persons being transformed? To what end?

From Gustavo Gutierrez’s brilliant *On Job*: “But let me get back to Job. He has just been delivered from the envy that paralyzes reality and tries to put limits to the divine goodness that leaves no room for generosity and, even worse, tries to take God’s place. Yahweh, the God of life, has restored Job to a life that refuses to be imprisoned in a narrow ethical order but rather draws inspiration at every moment from the free and unmerited love of God. This deliverance is the object of Job’s contemplation.”

Brian Sholl

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