Tour Square’s Tricked-Out Office

In our tech-obsessed world, sometimes, all we crave is a little old-fashioned interaction. Ironically, no digital innovation has allowed for a back-to-basics experience quite like Square, the iPhone-friendly credit card reader that democratizes the act of buying and selling.
A sleek, simple, and incredibly useful piece of technology? But of course — we would expect no less from Square's mastermind and CEO Jack Dorsey, whose no-big-deal resume also includes yes, founding Twitter. So, we were beyond stoked to pay Square's gorgeous new 150,000-square-foot headquarters a visit and find out how these connoisseurs of commerce spend their days. Get ready to lose your cool over everything from the too-cute cubbies to the tricked-out cafeteria. Believe us when we say, it’s hip to be Square.
Advertisement


Want even more R29? Get the latest news, tips, and can't-resist stories delivered straight to your newsfeed, in real time.
1 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Name: Santina Brohen
Position: Analytics Infrastructure Analyst
Favorite Square Merchant: Senor Sisig. "It's definitely at the top of my list. French fries in a burrito? Yes, please! I’m also a little obsessed with Robots by Matt Q Spangler; I recently bought a print of a mariachi robot from Square Market, and it's now hanging in my dining room. I love it!"

Tell us a little about what you do at Square!
"I’m part of the Analytics Infrastructure Task Force, whose mission is to accelerate data products and analysis at Square. I spend a lot of time writing code that transforms raw data and publishes it to a model that is both easy to understand and use. This empowers analysts across the company and facilitates data-driven business decisions."

How would you describe Square's office culture?
"I think the office layout reflects two key components of the culture at Square: collaboration and transparency. The cabanas and standup tables make it easy to pair program without interrupting my neighbors, and the open space means very few conversations happen behind closed doors."
2 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
What's your favorite thing about working at Square?
"I’m challenged to be better every single day, and I love that."

How would you describe your personal style?
"My personal style can change from day to day, but I think there are a few key elements that stay consistent. I love anything that feels like it was borrowed from the boys, from button-downs to boyfriend jeans to brogues. And, I can’t resist a good sweatshirt — luxe fabrics and interesting prints make them work appropriate, right?"
3 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
What's your favorite design element or perk of the new office?
"The views are quite spectacular. There’s a couch that sits facing Sutro Tower, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite spots."

Where do you use Square most often?
"Living in Portland made me a big fan of food trucks, so I always look forward to trying Square merchants at Off The Grid."
4 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Cabañas line the main "boulevard," whose row of interview rooms are named after global currencies.
Advertisement
5 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
What's your most memorable moment working at Square?
"There have been so many, but one that I’m always reminded of is learning about my nerdy nickname on my very first day. It seems that during the interview process I earned the nickname of 'Table Crusher', as in database tables. It stuck and people continue to introduce me as 'Table Crusher' a year and a half later."

How have you seen the usage of Square impact the vendor/customer relationship?
"I’ve observed businesses make the change from cash only to accepting cards via Square. It’s always fun to see a regular customer come in and get really excited to learn that they can finally pay with a card. This happened with a friend of mine, who frequented Momi Tobys in Hayes Valley. When we walked in and saw Square, she was thrilled!"
6 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
The library's intimate seating areas invite you to take a load off (and read some Harry Potter!).
7 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Name: Salih Abdul-Karim
Position: Motion Graphics Artist
Favorite Square Merchant: INNA jam. "I've spent quite a bit of money buying jams and jellies. My goal is to try them all, but I keep ordering apricot because it’s so good."

Tell us a little about what you do at Square
"I design and animate for the video and interactive teams. I make videos, animated gifs, and anything in motion whether it be for TV, YouTube, or our website."

How would you describe Square's office culture?
"It's fast paced and creative. People are encouraged to come up with ideas and execute on them. It's not the type of place where you are expected to fall in line and follow the group. If you have a good idea and want to make something that you think will benefit the world, you're encouraged to do so."

What's your favorite thing about working at Square?
"I enjoy collaborating with all of the amazing teams. There are teams that write software, create hardware, write copy, design websites, analyze data, and so much more. To be at a place where you are working with the best people in so many different disciplines is inspiring and pushes me to be at the top of my game."
8 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
How would you describe your personal style?
"I would say it’s relaxed-professional. There is no dress code at Square, but I wear a tie most days because I want people to know I'm here as a professional and I take my job seriously. Although, I usually keep the tie loose, because a big part of my job is entertaining through design and animation, and you can't do that unless you're laughing and having fun yourself."

What's your favorite design element or perk of the new office?
"The view from the 19th floor is amazing. I go up there to work whenever I have a chance, especially around sunset."
9 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
What's your most memorable moment working at Square?
"The week of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Jack Dorsey stood up in front of the entire company and gave a very brief but moving speech. He then asked us to take a moment of silence for the people who were affected by the event and to think about what we can do to help the world be a better place. All 400+ people were completely silent — not a single sound. It's rare to work at a company where you feel like everyone truly cares about the world. I was, and still am, extremely impressed."

What was your favorite video project of 2013?
"I worked with some amazing writers and illustrators to come up with 21 animated videos that educate folks about our products and services. We took a lighthearted approach to some topics which can traditionally be a bore."

Advertisement
10 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Where do you use Square most often?
"I use Square Cash to send and receive money from my friends and family on a weekly basis. Whether it be paying someone back for dinner, receiving money for movie tickets, or even settling up on a bet because I couldn't actually finish a Rubik’s Cube in three hours."

Where can we find you when you're not at work?
"When I'm not at work, I'm most likely hanging out with my amazing wife watching our favorite TV show Cops, walking through the park, or eating at one of our favorite restaurants."
11 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
After products have been lab tested, Square's coffee bar serves as the real-world setting for daily beta tests of new Square devices.
12 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Staffed by two full-time baristas, the Coffee & Tea Bar serves Sightglass coffee around the clock.
13 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Name: Ajit Varma
Position: Square Market Lead
Favorite Square Merchant: Machine Deli & Cafe. "I recommend the tuna sandwich and you also get some great homemade potato chips!"

Tell us a little about what you do at Square!
"I lead the Square Market team, which builds great tools for local buyers and sellers. We help buyers easily find and purchase from local merchants, and we help businesses grow by connecting them with their customers, wherever they are."

How would you describe Square's office culture?
"We're a young company moving fast and building what we want to see in the world, so you have to be able to adapt quickly and constantly think about how to make what may seem impossible, possible."

What's your favorite thing about working at Square?
"I work with people that are incredibly intelligent, which means I’m always learning, and also push each other to create great products."
14 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
How would you describe your personal style?
"I own two pairs of jeans, which I wear until one gets a hole and then I buy a new pair."

What's your favorite design element or perk of the new office?
"We have tons of cereal. Lucky Charms is my favorite, but I like to mix and match different cereals together, as well."
Advertisement
15 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Where do you use Square most often?
"At Ma'velous, which is a coffee place across the street from our office."

What's your most memorable moment working at Square?
"The day we launched Square Market."

Tell us about Square Market and how it is curated.
"Square Market has a lot of unique and artisanal goods, but we've seen merchants use it to sell almost any kind of local product. It's always exciting to see the new ways merchants use the tools we've given them."
16 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Square's well-stocked kitchen comes equipped with custom-made Heath Ceramics dishware, including plates in the shape of — surprise! — a square.
17 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
The quiet "Library" is filled to the brim with books that have inspired the leadership team and staff. The selection ranges from books on coding to the Harry Potter series.
18 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
No San Francisco tech office would be complete without plenty of areas for "play."
19 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Name: Aarati Soman
Position: Product Finance
Favorite Square Merchant: Mason Jar. "It's a chic little furniture and design store in San Francisco."

Tell us a little about what you do at Square!
"I work on the finance and strategy team. The F&S team is unique in that we are passionate about being at the forefront of innovation and strategy at Square. I work closely with the product team to figure out what customers need, pricing, and market sizing for new products."

How would you describe Square's office culture?
"One thing that sets Square apart from other places I've previously worked are the amazing friendships and work relationships I've developed with my female colleagues. We are serious about hiring and retaining women."

What's your favorite thing about working at Square?
"Working with world-class leadership and the change that Square is making in the lives of small business owners."
Advertisement
20 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
How would you describe your personal style?
"I would describe my work style as professional, with a twist. I really enjoy wearing bright colors, interesting earrings, or edgy heels."

What's your favorite design element or perk of the new office?
"Definitely the library. I love the idea of working while surrounded by books."

What's your most memorable moment working at Square?
"There are so many, but if I have to pick one it would be the product narratives presentation by Gokul Rajaram (our Product Engineering Lead) at Town Square. We are here to deliver the best we can to the world and the narratives weave the story of Square and how we impact the world."
21 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Name: Sean Conroy
Position: Copywriter
Favorite Square Merchant: La Casa de las Madres. "It's my favorite cause; they offer support services to victims of domestic violence and they take donations through Square."

Tell us a little about what you do at Square!
"I’m one part of the sum total ‘voice’ of Square. I write everything from packaging to emails to radio scripts, and I handle content strategy for our website."

How would you describe Square's office culture?
"Caffeinated, friendly, intelligent, opinionated, and a little goofy."

What's your favorite thing about working at Square?
"Our basic mission gets me out of bed in the morning. We build simple, affordable tools that help local businesses get paid — for a lot of them, in a way they couldn’t afford to before. There’s a long legacy of abuse of the little guy by the larger financial system; I’m thrilled to play some part in subverting that."
22 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
How would you describe your personal style?
"I’m known for a few elements of my style at Square. One of those things is pants. I’m that guy that 'wears pants every day.' Another thing I’m known for is shirts, another everyday go-to for me. Last, but not least, I am a huge fan of shoes. I wear shoes, like, every day. Go-to work outfit is some combination of all three, almost every single day."

As a copywriter, you've got to keep things interesting and varied. How do you stay creative and inspired?
"You’re begging for a few plugs here. I’ve been writing and performing comedy, theater, and film with my sketch group, Mission CTRL, and our larger production company, PianoFight, since UC Berkeley. We’re on the verge of opening an arts venue in the Tenderloin (named PianoFight), so swing by for a drink and a show in Summer 2014. A film I wrote with my friend Eliseo Cabrera, Remember You’re Special, will be premiering at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival in February. All the side projects stretch my creativity (or lack thereof) in a lot of different directions and help me bring new ideas and perspectives to my daily work."
23 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Where do you use Square most often?
"I can’t remember the last time I bought a cup of coffee in the Bay Area at a place that didn’t sell with Square. That’s a nice feeling."

What's your most memorable moment working at Square?
"I was in charge of planning our launch party in Japan."

Tell us about Square Cash.
"Pay a friend back with an email. Link your debit card just once, compose an email to whomever you want to pay, put the amount in the subject line, cc this address and you’re all square — see what I did there?
24 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Angular skylights set the mood for lunchtime in the cafeteria area.
Advertisement
25 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
The 9th floor kitchen, called "9," serves up gourmet meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and serves as another testing site for beta products.
26 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Name: Hillary Lounsbury
Position: Engineering Project Coordinator
Favorite Square Merchant: Hooker's Sweet Treats. "Get the bread pudding, it swims in warm caramel sauce."

Tell us a little about what you do at Square!
"I work with all customer facing teams to scope out tools they need to support our customers. Once scoped, I work with awesome engineers to make the ideas come to life. It’s a pretty great gig."

How would you describe Square's office culture?
"Transparent and very collaborative. Notes from every meeting are sent to the entire company, so no matter what team you are on, you always know what's up. This access to information enables collaboration and keeps everyone passionate about all aspects of Square."
27 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
What's your favorite thing about working at Square?
"Squares are the best part of Square; they are smart, sassy, and know how to laugh."

How would you describe your personal style?
"My grandma is my style icon. Her looks are colorful and feminine with a touch of disco, and her influence has led me to gravitate towards jewel tones, skirts, dresses, and a bit of glitter."
28 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
What's your favorite design element or perk of the new office?
"The windows on the 6th floor are great because they fill the floor with natural light and offer great views of San Francisco. I also love our cabañas."

Where do you use Square most often?
"I use Square Cash often. Square Cash makes it super easy to split bills and pay back friends."
29 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
What's your most memorable moment working at Square?
"Our holiday party took place during my first week at Square. I got to see everyone’s sweet dance moves; it was the perfect ending to a first week."

You've had a few different jobs at Square. Tell us about that evolution and what you're working on now.
"I started out on the support team as a representative and learned the ins and outs of Square's products. My product knowledge enabled me to transition into QA for support. Working with engineers was so much fun that I moved off the support team to an engineering team as a coordinator."
Advertisement
30 of 30
Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
Name: Madelin Woods
Position: Front-end Engineer on Receipts
Favorite Square Merchant: Son of a Sailor

Tell us a little about what you do at Square!
"As a front-end engineer, I sit with designers and engineers to build out our web products. It involves a lot of deep thinking about the product as a whole, communicating what's possible with our designers, and pushing each other to find the most creative solutions for the challenge at hand. We also build out the engineering structure to actually implement the designs."

What's your favorite thing about working at Square?
"The people. Everyone's insanely smart and constantly pushing and challenging each other to do our best work. I love having the opportunity to spend time and work with such an amazing group of folks."

How would you describe your personal style?
"Creative casual. I tend to wear mostly neutral, dark tones with one pop of color. I'm a creature of comfort and require my clothes to be casual enough to lounge in, or dive into a messy hands-on project without worry — but still look nice enough to go out after work."

What's your favorite design element or perk of the new office?
"The windows! A good dose of Vitamin D every day has made me such a happy camper. I have a sweet view of Sutro Tower from my desk; it's really refreshing and incredible to watch Karl the Fog roll in every afternoon."

What's your most memorable moment working at Square?
"Spending a week in Baltimore and D.C. with a group of our lady engineers for a conference. We had some of the most amazing dance parties."

Tell us about College Code Camp!
"College Code Camp is amazing! Every year, we bring in a group of 20 to 25 college ladies for five days for workshops, hack-a-thons, mentorship, and a tiny peek into what it's like to work at a technology company in San Francisco. A lot of our engineers get involved, myself included, teaching the workshops and mentoring the campers. I've run into some of last year’s campers at conferences, and it's so exciting to follow their paths and feel their excitement as they begin the journey into their careers."
Advertisement