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Monday, September 11, 2006

Aeron Founder Dies, But Chairs Live On


(via NYT, via Danny) Bill Stumpf, the creator of the Aeron chair, has died.

How silly, in retrospect, that this wonderful, creative bit of ergonomics was hailed as a symbol of dot com excess. Chairs matter, man! I suppose the idea of overspending on furniture for "mere workers" is seen as crazy spending that isn't what startups should be about. True indeed, but most of the people doing the critiquing don't sit and code, or write, in the exact same spot, for 12 hours a day. Maybe no one should. But if you're going to do that, chairs matter.

Like Danny, I'd always been saddled with crapola office furniture. Back in grad school I picked up an Ikea (I think) turquoise reclining desk chair, with all the padding, and prickly upholstery. I still have that sucker, actually. The plastic on the arms is flaking off, that fabric is so freakin' hot on your back, and the ergonomics suck, so you run out of gas faster.

But that doesn't matter too much... because....

So anyone who's read my book knows I use chairs as an example of a search query ("Aeron-like"). I promised myself in the book that as soon as I "got rich off it" (ha) I would invest in a beautiful Aeron-like Mirra chair (pictured above), the slightly less expensive, even cooler, highly ergonomic new version of the Aeron.

I took longer than planned deciding, and no that book didn't make me rich, but I did eventually find my way to Backs Etc., enjoyed the fine customer service, and ordered a Mirra, customized with tangerine fabric and dark grey plastic.

The coolness on the back is something to behold. The firm ergonomics (or as Herman Miller puts it: "AireWeave suspension. This elastomeric suspension seat follows the contours of the body, distributes pressure evenly, and provides aeration." ) allow me to work considerably longer without getting tired. Looks like my "employer" (me) should have figured out the ROI on that chair a long time ago. Dot com bubble, indeed.

Slight problem: like better monitors and better desktop computers, chairs can't be taken home, to your home office, so if you want the stuff in both places, you need the stuff in both places. That means soon I'll need another Mirra. Cough, well maybe having two Mirra chairs is a bit of dot com excess. :)

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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