Almost one third of the Crew team works remotely.
Every year, we do one retreat where we bring everyone together to hang out and work on a few projects we’ve been wanting to start or finish.
Because most of our work happens online, it’s important to spend time with one another without a screen in the way.
Although tools for working remotely like Skype, HipChat, etc. have helped make it easier to work together from anywhere, it’s still hard to replicate the empathy from hashing out a complex design concept over coffee or an impromptu conversation in the kitchen that sparks an ‘aha moment.’
We have one office in Montreal, Canada, so we usually choose a location for the retreat that’s different (and warmer) to help us refresh from the harsh Canadian winter. Our first year we went to Bahamas. Last year, we went to Spain.
In the past few months, the Crew team has doubled to 16. Because we have many new teammates who haven’t met yet and our next retreat won’t be for another 6-9 months, we felt it was important to get together now.
Many of our teammates have never been to our office in Montreal, where everything started, so we thought it would be nice to to do a ‘min-retreat’ over the weekend here.
Collectively, the Crew team traveled over 7,872 miles to get to Montreal.
Michael Sacca came from Vegas (2,579 miles)
Dan Rowden came from Helsinki, Finland (4,623 miles)
Airbnb lofts we stayed at for the retreat
Night one we played a couple games to loosen up from a day of travel and coordination.
Our first game of choice was Clusterfuck—a game where the object is to organize a (fake) threesome with your friends. If you haven’t played it, you must at least once in your life. It’s probably the funniest card game I’ve ever played.
Some Clusterfuck pointing
One of the things we also do during a retreat is pick a few projects that we’ve all been wanting to get off the ground but have been putting aside.
On Saturday morning, we gathered in our office and created a list of projects each of us wanted to work on. The goal was to find one short-term and one long-term project that each person could lead and move forward enough to create momentum past the weekend.
List of Crew Retreat projects
We’ll keep a list of the projects at the end of this post as we complete them.
I love our retreats. It feels so good to see all the people who make everything at Crew happen all in one place.
As a founder, there’s something special about watching the bonds forge between teammates that live thousands of miles apart.
I feel lucky every day to work with the people around me.
Completed Crew Retreat Projects
1. #bettercrew We often get thoughtful recommendations from Crew members on Twitter but there was never a great way for us to keep track of them. Using Zapier we created a way to send a tweet with a product suggestion directly to our issue tracker on GitHub. Any tweet sent from the Twitter account @mikaelcho or @pickcrew with the hashtag ‘bettercrew’ will trigger the creation of a GitHub issue. Here it is in action:
2. Email campaign redesign. We’ve been exploring a new way to present our blog posts in email campaigns. We’re trying out a new design focused on a brief summary in the email rather than the full length blog post.
3. Crew blog landing page. If you’re interested in subscribing to our blog, we wanted to do a better job of telling you what you’re going to get from it. Mainly, what type of stories you can expect so you know if it’s something you want to do before giving your email. This design isn’t live yet but it will be up soon.
4. Coming soon…
Follow along on Twitter for live updates. Here’s a video from the weekend: