Agency Rigs Its Office to Count Everything That Goes On in Excruciating Detail

Coffee pours, toilet flushes and more

Do you love numbers? Not as much as Sid Lee does.

The agency's Paris office is channeling Count von Count with a side project in which it set up digital sensors to count everything that goes on—how many cups of coffee are poured in a day, how many times the toilets flush, how many times employees use the "command + z" keyboard shortcut (that's undo, for all you mouse-clicking Neanderthals), how many documents the fax machine sends (zero, since 2013, because ha ha, umm … what's a fax machine?), etc., etc.

You can watch all this from afar, in real time, at

It's more or less the perfect masturbatory agency promo for the age of breathless excitement about a near-future techno-utopia where everything is Internet-connected and reams of data provide unprecedented insight into humanity, and solutions to its problems.

By creating a public dashboard (powered by Arduino software) that tracks a largely mundane physical reality—the nuts and bolts of being a group of people who move through space making ads for a living—Sid Lee is almost able to have its cake and eat it too—proving competence in hardware-meets-software technology that might seem shiny to clients, but also casting a little self-aware doubt on the value of such an exercise. Or for less skeptical viewers, maybe it really is just a rah-rah celebration of the untapped potential of such stats—and a nice little blueprint for countless case studies about squishy success metrics.

Regardless, it's fun to look at pretty graphs. Unfortunately, they don't count how many bats are flying around the agency.