BOONTON USA is around 30 miles west of Times Square. An amazing little town, Boonton is the original home of BOONTONWARE. Main Street Boonton must have a dozen Pizzerias. We have a train station, and a bus that goes to the city on the hour, every hour. Boonton USA is in the heart of Morris County, New Jersey, one of the most "vibrant" counties in the entire country, not just the state. I said vibrant as "wealthy" sounds a little stuffy.
The former Dance / Ballet studio would be a sublease, with a MANDATORY four year, $3,800 monthly rent. Ouch. Plus, it would cost some good money to build out the space, fix it up - and you need insurance, and advertising, and... I think we are at an easy $5k per month, maybe more. FOR FOUR YEARS, no matter what.
My brain immediately shifted into opportunity cost mode. What ELSE can I do with $5k per month - every month?
I could give fifteen people over $300 per month for a WFH office expense allowance. You can make an AMAZING home office with an extra $300 per month.Convene in Times Square once a month for a Lunch 'n Learn or Sunset Seminar or some such fun event - with good food and grog.
I could have everyone work from their home office (from ANY time zone) and spend the monthly $5k on Facebook ads, driving traffic to multiple and various eCommerce stores.
Zoom + Zoom Phone + Loom + Logitech + Lenovo + Workplace + BigCommerce + Box + Salesforce + Basecamp + Hey + (name something...) = Work From Anywhere Nirvana.
Exchange the brand Zoom for Star2Star. Exchange the brand Shopify for BigCommerce. The exact "Brand" or technology does not matter that much these days. After all, now that Zoom is a verb, you can Zoom on Webex, right? Having vs. Not Having technology - HAVING VS. NOT HAVING the opportunity, well yeah, that matters. A lot.
I love going into THE BIG APPLE for meetings and events. I LOVE having clients, customers, vendors, sponsors meet up with us in "THE CITY" and you know what city I am talking about, right? If we were in Boston right now, and I said I had to go to "the city" tomorrow, where am I going? If we were in Philly right now, and I said I had to take the train to "the city" tomorrow, where am I going?
But here is what I also know to be true. Landlords from BOONTON or THE BIG APPLE (or anywhere in the USA) will need to address the fact that most people have a calculator in their smartphones. Most people (especially Entrepreneurs) know how to calculate opportunity cost, and most can make Google Doc spreadsheets to create "what if" scenarios.
My self also asked myself: "Hey self, I wonder if the failed Dance / Ballet studio is still paying THEIR mandatory rent? Or is it just the new people (suckers?) that are locked in for four years, COVID or no COVID?
I very much want New York City to bounce back, bigger and better than ever. I do want people coming and going, into "the city" for work, for events, for meetings, for shows. But landlords (everywhere) need to fully embrace the post-COVID reality that REMOTE is the future of work and that REMOTE is going to be standard by which (all) work shall be judged.
And so, it does not look like I'll be installing any ZoomPODS in the old Dance / Ballet studio in good ol' BOONTON USA.
Unless of course, the current landlord reads my Sunday blog and says to me "Hey Tom, loved your blog. I'll give ya month to month." For now, I'll be finding "the best alternative choice" for $5k per month. For four years.