[Still] The Old Guy in the Club
Every day, I get to interact and collaborate with a team of extremely smart, content-savvy professionals – an A-list group, to be truthful – many of whom were in middle school when I graduated from college. Sometimes, honestly, I feel like “the old guy in the club,” especially when they don’t get my 80s pop culture references or share in my excitement about the latest release from Pearl Jam. More often, though, I find myself energized and even challenged by their optimism, their new ideas, and their awesome ability to balance pragmatism with philosophy, depending on the situation. And, yeah, their love of really good coffee appeals to me, too.
One perk of being the old guy in the club, aside from knowing where the AA batteries are hidden, is every now and then, somebody chats me up about the “good old days.”
After years of being on the road, Brice Bay founded 10Best.com in 1999, with the goal of giving business travelers a quick, easy way to breakup the doldrums of hotel restaurants and chain bars.
In the earliest days, before I joined the team, 10Best occupied humble digs on the grounds of the Southern Weaving facility in Greenville’s City View area. As you can see in these images, it wasn’t a glitzy operation, but it was special. There was a sense of newness and “we’ll figure it out” that made 10Best a fun, frequently unpredictable place to work. Even after we moved to fancier digs downtown, you never quite knew when the boss might roll through the office on roller blades or members of the tech team might load up a Barbie car with M-80s and detonate it in the parking lot.
EVG separated from 10Best a few years back, and if you visit our office today, you might think we’ve grown up a lot as a company. Sure, we’re busier and more profitable these days, and our focus has changed quite a bit, with Mystery Travelers being replaced by Content Strategists and Licensing Specialists.
And while Brice may have put away his roller blades, I’m happy to say that I spend 8+ hours a day at a place where we take the work seriously, but not ourselves. Even now, 20 years after those humble beginnings, you never know what you might find going on from day to day. You might encounter:
- An employee celebrating a milestone birthday by dyeing her hair pink.
- A rubber snake that randomly appears in desk chairs from time to time.
- The random “angry client” call on April 1st.
- An unannounced visit from a coworker’s dog.
- Quarterly stopovers by a vendor’s ice cream truck.
- Spontaneous potlucks celebrating holidays, real and imagined.
- A pit-fired feast prepared by our fearless CEO in the parking lot.
- A project team diligently fretting over the playlist for the week.
Adjusting to the New Now
These days, the very concept of what our office IS has evolved quite a bit. Our team has swelled beyond the walls of our Greenville and London locations to include key players from all over the world, making it possible for EVG to actively work with clients on a virtual 24-hour cycle.
Even so, despite pandemics and more Zoom calls than I can to count, I always look forward to gathering with the talented members of our team, discussing the innovative ideas they have, learning about the new clients they’ve on-boarded, or seeing what kind of fun hats they’re wearing that day.
It makes being the “old guy” a privilege.
Joey Hall – EVG, COO