The chair blog

OK, OK, it’s a story that needs to be told.  Here is the chair blog.During the dotcom boom in 1999 anyone in technology had to have an Aeron chair.

This is the chair that all tech workers aspire to.  (I have 2 in my home office.) As far as I can tell everyone in Silicon Valley has an Aeron. They seem to be about $US595. After the dotcom boom there must be warehouses full of slightly used Aeron Chairs. 

In New Zealand an Aeron chair is $NZ2300 – over $US1000. So while we would love to give everyone an Aeron chair we just can’t spend money on that.  So instead we called up Formway, a leading New Zealand design company, and asked what they could do for us.  They gave us a great deal on their Life chairs. We were even able to get them in Xero colours. We know how important good chairs are for developers so this is one of the areas of spend we invested in, but that meant no shower, old carpet, tiny kitchen – at least until we hit break even.

Here is a standard Xero Life chair:


We have other interesting chairs in the office that can tell a story.  This racing chair, is currently occupied by our CTO Craig Walker.  The racing chair was handed down from Blair Wright from the old Glazier Systems days.


Another interesting chair is the Eames Lounger that sits behind Craig and has been the venue of many ‘Craig, wouldn’t it be cool if we …’ discussions.  This is one of my personal chairs.  In New Zealand these are 3 times the price as in the US so when the currency was high a few years ago I asked Rowan to ship one through his Shipbuktu account. That service was designed for forwarding envelopes so we blew that up sending a 60 kilo chair.  After 9 months of chair tracking through freight forwarding warehouses, planes, boats and trucks the chair finally arrived – but my wife pointed out that we had nowhere for it in the house so it is temporarily part of the Xero furniture. 


We have some chairs in the office that remind us of absent friends.  This chair came down with Kate from Auckland and sits lonely in our office waiting for her return after she completes her ‘move-to-sydney-so-that-he’ll-marry-me’ plan which seems to be working very well.


Anyone that knows the team here at Xero knows the impact Catherine has on our business.  Catherine is ‘Orange Girl’.  Her workplace is a shrine to Orange and she is obviously the person who owns the Xero help center.


This, of course, is Catherine’s official Xero chair …



Orange Girl
February 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I love my orange chair … I’m sure I work harder sitting in it than in a normal office chair!

Craig Walker Xero
February 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Actually it’s not Blair’s chair – he had a different one (but it’s where I got the idea from).

I found this one in late 1999 in the unique cars section of the AutoTrader, and being a disciple of the Rod approach to consumer spending (i.e., the “must have everything” approach) I got it. Apart from a few cushion attachments it’s been with me ever since (along with the obvious associated back problems …)

Craig Walker Xero
February 13, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Oh – and there’s nothing “temporary” about the Eames chair – it’s my doctor’s chair!

Ben Kepes
February 13, 2009 at 6:14 pm

And I claim credit for the seeding of that post – and do so sitting on a cheap $80 office chair as mentioned previously…..

February 14, 2009 at 8:01 am

Good for you for not skimping on the chairs!

although a few comments-

that racing chair looks like you’d be sitting in a hole! The seat had better be more comfortable than it looks!

Heck, the eames chair is made in china! Shoulda just gotten it from there!

And that little orange chair is the torture chair, right, right?

Dan- Sitbetter

Alex-war injury
May 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I dont work for Xero, if fact Im dont know what Zero does-but I share what Xero staff aspire to- a good office chair, I had a -Formway-copy by Damba…its barely adequate, definitely a step above what I had before, but its not an Aeron chair. Recently consulting in another office I sat for exactly 3 hrs (2 hr54mins)without getting up, in an Aeron Chair, and I have a ‘war injury’ at the base of my spine, niggles the hell out of me every 10-15 mins in a bad chair; but this time, nothing! I mean my back was fine- I lost track of time, and I actually lost myself in my work! I didnt realise I was sitting in an Aeron chair until I stood up to leave! Verdict, theres an Aeron chair with my name on it! I have paid my dues, cramped office or not!

April 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hey Rod – It’s great that Xero make sure the devs have good chairs, super important! Looks like there are some personalities at Xero by the different chairs you’ve posted! This is my favourite desk chair:

Aaron Green
April 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Great article. I have an Aeron chair and spend up to 18 hrs a day in it – have done for years and xero back pain. Chairs I’ve had before didn’t cut it, there’s certainly something magical about the Aeron. Perhaps Air NZ should put them on the Tasman route…

Rod Drury Xero
April 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm

@Aaron, yip I’ve had an Aeron for 14 years. Seemed pricey when I got it but truly the only constant in all the things I’ve done.

Jane Roulston
March 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

As the representative for Herman Miller products in New Zealand it would have been great to be able to provide a proposal for seating for Xero.

Aeron chairs are actually $ 1295.00 and the Herman Miller Sayl chair runs out at around $ 500.00 – with the same base ergonomics as the Aeron chair and a huge palette of colours.

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