September 13, 2019

Massive success @ annual retreat

Dan Uyemura @danuyemura

We’ve begun following EOS recently, and this year we took our annual hackathon and turned it into a legit team building, core value centric retreat.

Being a largely distributed team, this was really important this year, as our headcount went from 7 last year to 16 this year. We are now at a size where culture can either sink or catapult growing companies.

Here’s a general outline of our retreat if you find your company might benefit from it:

Day 1
Founders welcome speech / 2019 recap / 2020 goals / core value introduction and explanation / core value discussion.

During this speech we also dropped a bomb on them all, breaking them into teams and telling they had 24 hours to think of a world changing product PushPress could build and present a compelling press release for it. This format follows a popular and well documented process amazon employs to stoke innovation.

BBQ at vrbo beachfront rental

Day 2
PRESS RELEASE DAY
Teams got two three hour chunks to work on their press releases. We had a guest ex VP from amazon come by and give guidance to the teams and nudge them in the right directions.

For a short fitness break between those three hour sessions, we did bubble soccer, which was a huge hit with the team. Pun intended.

Press release presentation and dinner out + bar crawl capped the night.

Day 3
Department presentation day
We asked our departments to put together a presentation to share something exciting they’re working on with the team as a whole.

Many times the nuances of each department are missed - and those details can be quite exciting.

For example when engineering showed sales how selenium worked, I saw a few heads explode 😂

Quick beach workout lead by a CrossFit HQ staff trainer. Followed by beach volleyball.

Dinner at a local brewery

Recap

  • the core values presentation and discussion was more important than I realized. It was met really well and I saw so much immediate alignment. This is very important for a scaling team and the impact was literally immediate.
  • Press release day was an amazing experience. It was like a product version of a hackathon. Not a single line of code was written but the effort put into solving bug real world problems was amazing.
  • Playing bubble soccer with a team of really strong athletic / ex-military folks can be a painful experience. 😂