I was waiting to meet Lauren Strenger in the virtual headquarters of Gather, a startup that builds digital office space for remote teams that miss the feeling of physically being together. Gather’s office serves as a workspace where its employees regularly meet and hang out, but it also doubles as a showcase for skeptical visitors who want to see what the company’s technology is capable of.
The reception area was tastefully outfitted with 8-bit wood floors and the standard assortment of office plants, leather furniture, and coffee table books rendered in pixel art. I was represented by an avatar similar to the kind you might see in an old video game. Strenger, a client support specialist, later told me the companies’ co-founders took their aesthetic cues from Pokémon.