Usually, when 5 university students meet after hours, they get drunk. Go to a party. Smoke weird stuff. Plan something evil. Mock a geek. Ravage a cemetery. Set something on fire. The least expected scenario – study. But not the guys in this story! No. They were up to something big. So big that it soon had to break through the boundaries of their hometown. So big that after 25 years it keeps on breaking through boundaries all over the world. And so it began, the story of the Pentalog Empire and of its headquarters, the lovely Pentalog Orléans.
This article is the fourth episode of my series of visits to all of Pentalog’s centers. You can read the first 3 episodes here (and don’t forget to stay tuned for the next ones to come):
1. The princess wearing sneakers
It’s not every day that you get the chance to breathe the same air as royal spirits. Or touch your laptop in places where, centuries ago, those royal spirits held gracious balls and soirees. Or rest your coffee mug on an elegant chimney. Or get your beauty sleep in a washed white tower. Or warm your frozen fish dinner in a royal microwave. But when you do, it surely makes you feel like a princess! A princess wearing sneakers, to range my case.
It was the beginning of the fall and the princess was standing there, at the main entrance of the castle, looking up a winding royal, red velvet staircase, ready for her first day of remote work at Pentalog’s Headquarters, with a dozen different thoughts bumping into each other in her head:
Should I take off my sneakers before stepping on these Oscar-like stairs?
Where’s the elevator? Don’t castles have elevators?
Oh my God, is that a fireplace in that office? And is that marble?!
Look at all of these lights, all turning on and off when you move. I wonder how much they pay for electricity…
Why on earth didn’t I pack my royal pajamas? How am I supposed to go down to the kitchen every morning wearing these Hello Kitty pants?
Is that a forest in the backyard? Are those tomatoes and cabbage and pumpkins growing there?!
I saw a spider. Was that a spider? Where did it go?
How can one building have THAT many doors?! Should I check them all at night?
2. From dorm rooms to castle lanes
Chances are that the guys from our story had similar thoughts during their first encounter with Château des Hauts de La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, Pentalog’s current office and headquarters in Orléans.
Now don’t imagine that Pentalog was born with royal shoes and they just had to put them on! Oh, no, dear! Its beginnings date back 25 years before the story of this article, when our 5 guys, living their days in dorm rooms, ventured to dream of a different kind of company, despite of the impediments that might have aroused from their juvenility and lack of business experience, in the context of an already well-operated market in this industry. But guess what? None of that mattered! Soon enough they grew a customer database and an outsourcing strategy that allowed them to open delivery centers, first in Romania, then in Moldova, and later in Asia and Latin America. And have no worries, even today, boundaries keep on breaking in front of our PentaGuys!
Years passed, business blossomed, and it became clear that they needed to take the next step any self-respecting company would take when turning 20 years – buy a castle on the Loire Valley, of course. Say what now?! Yes, you can read that again.
And if you’re curious about this peculiar kind of purchase, you can do what I did – Google it. And guess what? It looks more common these days to buy a railway or even a rainforest than a castle.
And so, I tried to picture Pentalog’s CEO, Frédéric, explaining this purchase – a castle, not a railway, nor a rainforest – in a way similar to the character of a well-known movie.
You bought a zoo???
Well, actually I bought a house, but it came with a zoo…
Our (royal, by no means) version:
You bought a castle???
Well, actually I bought some offices, but they came with a castle…
There was no fortuity in this purchase, but rather a brilliant investment for the present and the future. There were no such introductions as “it’s not like we’re bragging, but…” because of course we were and of course we still are! Buying this 300-year old castle, investing not quite an insignificant amount of time, money and energy in its restoration and turning it into the emblem of the Pentalog empire was, by all means, a very well-thought-out strategy meant, on the one hand, to create a spectacular work environment for the great minds who spin the wheels of this business machine and, on the other hand, to attract the right investors and clients. Years passed, and the business’ evolution, alongside the enthusiasm and engagement of its employees and collaborators didn’t cease to prove that this acquisition, be it as awkward and unexpected as Google and us might have thought at once, was a top dog move!
3. Life among the royals at Pentalog Orléans
Spending your days at Pentalog Orléans is more than just living in a story you’ve heard about before. It’s actually living among those who directed that story until it turned out to be the version they had dreamt of. And that’s awesome!
Château des Hauts hosts the strategic minds of Pentalog, and here is where the boundary-braking vision begins. I was prepared to observe a bunch of busy, sagacious minds, looking for the best solutions for our business, eager to invest all of their time and resources in this. Instead, I was lucky enough to drink coffee with those minds, share a joke or two and some personal stories, lick my fingers after an all-you-can-eat lunch and have some great time at dawn for a couple of beers, organize an international feast and have some hilarious moments together, share a big box of crayons and use them all like a bunch of happy kids with no worries; they covered me in smiles, joie de vivre, and kisses, myriads and myriads of kisses on one cheek and the other, on a cheek and the other, on a cheek… And what a pleasant surprise that was!
Pentalog Orléans has an amazing story to share, and this royal setting was probably needed to replenish the message we wanted to spread to the world. But when you draw the bottom line, it’s not about the castle, or investments or bragging around. It’s about ordinary people connected by a vision who share the same working environment for 13/ 15/ 20 years now and who find it as natural as possible, even in this dynamic industry. No money or other strategic investment can buy or beat this.
So, yes, Honey, we really bought a castle and we’re proud of it, but the real treasure was not to be found in old wooden chests, in hidden rooms or passages.
WE brought it – the beautiful, wonderful people of Pentalog Orléans!