Last week, Fast Company ran a Q&A with kCura founder and CEO Andrew Sieja in which the entrepreneur talked about a squishy green couch he bought at a garage sale. Throughout the interview, Sieja explained the importance of retaining relics from a company’s early history. To him, physical objects from the past–call them relics, artifacts, or junk, if you will–serve as a reminder of where you started and how far you’ve come.
kCura, for those who may not know, is a Chicago-based company whose main product is Relativity, a web platform that allows law firms, corporations, and government agencies to review, analyze and produce electronic data. Sieja founded the company in early 2001, and bootstrapped it til now. “We’ve grown from 100 employees at the end of 2010 to more than 250 employees today,” he said, adding that they are still working on growing their operational footprint across all departments.
[ibimage==19193==Original==none==self==ibimage_align-left]Of the green couch, Sieja said, “If anything it probably just reminds me of... the fun. The early days of the business were a lot of fun. It was special. It was like us versus the world, you know? I’m a grown man now, and we’re a business going through its adolescence, but you look at your childhood very fondly.”
It seems the grungy green couch has taken on a life of its own, having now made it to the lobby of kCura’s new 80,000-square-foot offices. According to Sieja, it’s now a part of kCura’s identity, which is why he wanted it front and center in the new space. He likens the couch to an old briefcase, the kind carried by a lawyer for 40 years, tattered to the brink of shambles but too beloved to replace.
Clearly, to Sieja, the couch as a literal symbol is deeply loved. But that made me wonder, can non-physical emblems hold the same weight? “I think there’s something to be said about having a real-life, tangible symbol. You see it every day and it reminds you of your past–what worked, what didn’t work, the ups, and the down. If you can do that with a figurative symbol, that’s great,” he told me. “The couch just happens to be something that’s been with us since the beginning, and it’s fun.”
As for those new offices, Sieja said they built it from scratch for their employees and business. “There’s plenty of room for us here and we think we’ve done a great job in building a comfortable and efficient work environment,” he said. “No real changes in terms of the focus of our business; there is still plenty of runway in our core business, so we’re sticking to what we do best and extending our e-discovery software to do more for our customers.”
(Image via careerbuilder.com.)