Back in 2006, after growing Campaign Monitor from a side project to a sustainable business, we moved out of our tiny space at a local incubator into our first “real” office. This was our first time in a truly commercial space where you had to bring your own fit out. We kept it simple: a few desks (which were actually kitchen benches), comfy chairs and our first luxury item — a ping pong table. From that point on, our love affair with ping pong (or table tennis, if you’re a purist) began.

It wasn’t long before lunch breaks were dominated by intense challenges between team members. Our games developed from a hit and hope approach to tactical use of spin. The standard western grip was frowned upon and the penhold grip became standard. We even hired the most capped sportsman in Australian history and former ping pong great Paul Pinkewich for some private lessons for the team.

{title}

New space, new table

When we outgrew this space twelve months later, one of the more important parts of our brief to the architect was to leave us plenty of space for a new ping pong table. As part of the new fit-out, we imported a Double Fish Volant 2, a work of table tennis art and one of the best tables in the world from China.

{title}

The new table, combined with new bats that provided more spin took everyone’s game to a new level. Matches were organised after lunch and work each day. We built our own ping pong scoring web app that kept track of game scores and player rankings. Games were becoming polished, individual styles were developing. It was a thing of beauty.

Before too long though, cracks started to appear.

As our team grew, demand for table time grew with it. People were stooping to cheap tricks like “I think there’s a server problem” or “Crap! We’ve been blacklisted” to distract team members at the right time and guarantee a spot on the table. While I can personally assure you this technique was effective, it wasn’t a long-term solution.

As another year passed, it was clear our current space wouldn’t support our continued growth. We managed to get our hands on the rest of the floor, and it was time to solve this ping pong crisis once and for all.

We needed more tables, we needed better bat and ball storage and damn it, we needed a touch screen TV to enter our scores! The architect was happy to oblige, and came up with a beautiful new gaming area where the team could play without fear of server crashes or mysterious blacklistings.

Have we taken this too far? Not a chance!

The new Campaign Monitor offices, which I’ll be giving you all a guided tour of soon, will be completed some time this week. Luckily for us, the new table tennis arena was completed a little earlier and the team have been putting it to very good use since. Here’s a quick tour of office ping pong Campaign Monitor style (including possibly offensive nicknames).

Two tables are better than one

With lots more space, double the tables and a new viewing area, fighting for a game is a thing of the past. The tables are now far away from each members closed office, so people can play without the risk of disturbing others.

{title}

Custom ping pong joinery

The new office also features some dedicated joinery for ping pong. This includes a touch screen TV that shows the office rankings, custom bat holders and special grooves to house 20 balls so you’re never short.

{title}

New touch screen TV for scoring

With games going on all the time, we needed a really fast way to enter scores. Enter a 40 inch touch screen TV hooked up to a Mac Mini running our own custom scoring and ranking software, which you can read about below.

{title}

The new scoring software

As the new office was starting to take shape, we got a nice surprise from team members James Dennes and Dave Martin (pictured below). Two ping pong lovers themselves, they took on the challenge of rebuilding the scoring and ranking system from scratch as a standalone web application in their own time. As you’d imagine, many team members take their ranking seriously, so the new system had to be reliable and as consistent as possible.

{title}

Dave put together the new interface and added some smarts to ensure it would work just as nicely on the desktop as it would on a touch device like a big TV or iPad. James took over and developed the app using the Django framework. One thing I thought was cool: the whole thing runs remotely on Google App Engine.

The official ranking system for competitive table tennis didn’t really suit office ping pong, so the guys rolled their own ranking algorithm. It takes into account the player’s current ranking, their recent game results and the margin by which they win or lose each game. This seems to be the fairest approach we’ve come up with over the years.

Here’s the awesome part. The app was such a success, the guys have decided to release it as a commercial product called Ping Pong Ninja. Now any other company that likes their office ping pong can have their very own scoring and ranking system. If that’s you, it’s live and available now.

{title}

More to come

Lots of thinking about creating an ideal workspace went into our new office. Some time soon I’ll be doing a more detailed write-up on the thinking behind things like our closed offices, how we do lunch and some of the other fun stuff we managed to pull off. The finishing touches are happening this week, so it won’t be long to wait.

  • Sid

    You guys are insane! But I love it : )

    Any chance you invite your biggest fans to a Customers vs Staff challenge tournament?? Haha!

    I’m serious.

  • Luc

    Wow. There’s ping pong dedication, and then there’s Campaign Monitor! Love it.

  • Rich

    Absolutely awesome.

  • Remy Bergsma

    That’s one helluva setup guys, great stuff!

    I suggest a new company name: PingPongMonitor ;)

  • Bjorn van der Neut

    Nice I play tabletennis to in Holland http://www.thevictory.nl/tafeltennis/ but even we dont have those nice tabletennis tables :(

    Going to check the software now!

  • Andrew Cornett

    Just wow, love it!

  • Jim Watson

    Hey — two tables is a great idea! We love Ping Pong too, and in fact just leased the adjoining building to expand our game space. . . Nice looking tables what brand are they?

  • APL

    What’s a ‘Dektop’?

  • Michael Murdoch

    Sooooo jealous!

  • Chris

    You guys are nuts.
    If you open offices in France let me know ;-)

  • Leigh R

    GOLD! Nice reward for all your hard work no doubt. Well done James & Dave.

    I’d hate to see what happened if you progressed to in-house Ten Pin Bowling.

  • Ian Lawson

    Guys, Love it!

    Since you sent us the app we’ve been using it to track everything game in the office.

    – Atomic

  • Diana Potter

    @APL Good catch, thanks. Should have been desktop (obviously).

  • Shell

    Wow guys – this is freaking awesome. LOVE the app. Will be downloading it fo shizzle1

  • Tatus

    Western grip is physically better (allows more combinations, better for the wrist, etc) and is generally considered better. Just take a look to the Chinese pro’s and you’ll see most of them now use western grip. Appart from this freaky comment, your work is great, keep on.

  • Keith

    What it costs a monthly fee! how about each time you use it you pay 5 cents?

  • Brandon

    Nice job, guys (and gals) – I love ping pong as well and am interested in running PingPong Ninja for some local church events.

    Any tips on where we can purchase a Mac mini-compatible touchscreen (maybe not the Samsung 40-incher depicted in the video as it might break our budget)?

    Thanks – Brandon

  • Simon

    sweet, thanks for sharing. That beats our single table football table hands down! App looks great too.

  • Daryn

    How about a free, non-hosted, open-source version? :)

  • Ignacio

    This is fucking amazing, incredible. I want to work there! I will be the champion!

  • john calabro

    awesome… so great to see an office-place taking their pong seriously! I work for a company that is actually named after a ping-pong score ;)

  • Mitchell Page

    Thats really nice guys! We’re very jealous. We’ve been ping ponging seriously for about the last 8 months when we moved into our new office in North Sydney.
    We started taking it so seriously we wrote to a few ping pong companies and ended up getting sponsored by Joola – a German company who make excellent bats. They sent us 6 German Olympic team bats, and let me tell you our game has improved dramatically since we got them!

  • Bart Hook

    Very nice. We mainly play foosball at the office.

    Maybe Yanks vs Aussies sometime? ;)

    Bart

    P.S. Campaign Monitor rocks. Steadily moving all of my clients towards it.

  • tomma

    you take your ping pong a little more seriously than us…
    http://blog.visualjazz.com.au/visual-jazz/the-vj-table-tennis-table/

  • MadDog

    Looking a bit scruffy there Dave. That’s not real facial hair is it?

  • Jamy Golden

    That is awesome! I’m definitely going to organize a spot for table tennis or foosball at work. Genius! I don’t know why it has never crossed my mind.

  • Chris Bartow

    You should play the Penny Arcade guys.

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/pa-the-series/109/

  • Campervan Man

    Amazing! the scoring software is doggs!

    We soooo need this in our agency! Another table would be nice too! Nice work guys.

  • Utah Graphic Designer

    Woohoo Ping Pong!

Want to improve your email marketing? Subscribe to get tips on improving your email marketing delivered to your inbox.
X

Join 200,000 companies around the world that use Campaign Monitor to run email marketing campaigns that deliver results for their business.

Get started for free