Back when I started attending Amherst College in 2008, standing desks weren't yet a big deal. Nonetheless, I always found ways to stand while studying having battled back and neck pain for years.
Standing While Studying in College
As a college golfer, sitting on long van rides and carrying my golf bag hurt my neck and back, so I was always standing in college when I studied before standing desks were a regular thing as standing desks are now currently in 2018. When cramming for big exams, I would always get up, walk around and typically switch rooms or buildings for a change of scenery after as I struggle to sit in one place for more than 45 minutes or so. Perhaps this unusual (at the time) standing tendency of mine was a harbinger for me to create Standly years later.
Standing Desks in Finance
When I started my formal career in 2011 in growth equity at H.I.G. Growth Partners, I saw one of the Vice Presidents in the Boston office using a standing desk. He was the only person out of the 30 investment professionals in the office using a standing desk. As a first-year associate, I did not feel quite comfortable being so young in the office making a bold move such as getting a standing desk. Further, I did not have my own office; in the Associate bullpen, we occasionally would sit on workout balls, but I honestly found them to be uncomfortable to sit on for more than 15 minutes and the ball went unused as a seat for majority of the time.
Makeshift Standing Desks at Startup & Boston Incubators
In 2013, I left H.I.G. to Co-Found Nextgengolf (formerly known as CollegeGolfPass) with my friend Kris Hart. For the first year, we worked in Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) which to my chagrin was quite standing-desk friendly. I would spend hours a day walking on CIC's treadmill standing desk making sales calls and probably annoying the heck out of all the engineers around me. We also worked out of Intrepid Labs in Kendall Square in Cambridge for 6 months as well. When we shifted Nextgengolf's home office to my former apartment in Beacon Hill, I continued to create makeshift standing desks by piling boxes on top of tables.
When I started working at HubSpot back in 2015, every employee in Cambridge was given an electric sit to stand desk. HubSpot gave us all the perks, but I consider the freedom to stand up while working with three screens to have been the best perk of them all.
Whenever I had a sales call, I would immediately raise up my desk as I felt more confident and comfortable standing up while creating relationships with the prospect. I would pace, wave my hands around as I spoke, and if an unusual question came up, I'd quickly hit the mute button and ask my manager for help.
Another great perk offered by HubSpot was the ability to work from home as one pleased. Living in a cramped studio in the North End, I did not have room for a Varidesk at home. Further, even if I did have the room, I did not want to spend $500 on a bulky Varidesk that looked awkward in my loft style apartment. The result: I started taking sales calls lying down in my bed. This proved to be highly ineffective.
Not only did I not have the option to use multiple screens, but I found myself feeling less confident and energetic laying down versus my power standing position -- and yes, the power stance is a real thing -- just ask anyone who has sold SaaS. Reflecting back on deals won and lost, I can say for certain that deals that I worked on at HubSpot HQ went better than those that I tried to close remotely. Obviously the standing desk wasn't the only reason, but I sincerely believe that it played a part.
Struggling to Find a Standing Desk in School
Given my longstanding love affair with standing desks, when I arrived on the Babson campus in August of 2017 to start my MBA, I suddenly realize that I was in for a literal painful experience unless I find a portable standing solution to use during the four hours of class we have every day. It was for these reasons that I started prototyping Standly for a Rocket Pitch in Entrepreneurship and Opportunity taught by Professor Heidi Neck at Babson who was instrumental in helping me ask the hard questions that ultimately led to the innovative designs of Standly.
How might we stand and work anywhere?
Why are standing desks ubiquitous in startup America yet are nowhere to be found on college campuses?
Why do standing desks of reasonable quality cost hundreds of dollars?
Why is it weird to stand in class?
Given this long affair I've had with standing desks, my decision to launch Standly came out of pure necessity. We have been blown away by the consumer excitement for Standly thus far and a big thanks to all of our beta customers and early adopters. We value your feedback greatly.