The Because team rented an 8 bedroom airbnb for a whole week in Charleston to finally all meet for the first time. Here's how it went and here's some tips on planning your own team trip.
Because is a COVID baby... the team finally got to meet and here's what happened
Reflection from Ashland, CEO & Founder of Because:
We rented an 8 bedroom airbnb for the whole week last week in Charleston.
This was my first first time meeting my 10 full time team members (most of which we hired this year!) (and their first time meeting each other).
When you're building a fully remote culture in 10 different cities and 3 different countries, you have this really interesting challenge to overcome...
How do we get all these humans ranging age 22-55, all in different stages of their lives, all from different backgrounds, all bought into the same mission? How do we make them feel like they're apart of the same family?
Someone asked me recently, how many people on your team do you think would run through a brick🧱 wall for you?
I said all 10.
Here’s how we structured our team trip to Charleston:
1. It felt like a vacation. First off, NONE of us live in Charleston (yet) so this automatically achieved vacation status✅, and an opportunity to disconnect from reality for a few days.
2. We gave enough notice. We planned it about 4 months in advance, but booked extra bedrooms to allow for hiring. We planned it in the middle of the week so no one had to take time away from family plans on the weekend.
3. All expenses paid. Because Intelligence (AKA me AKA mom) sponsored every dime of the trip. From the airbnb to flights to Ubers to meals to midnight insomnia cookies🍪. I didn’t want anyone stressing about money and distracting from the point of the trip. Shout out to our HR advisor, Diana Yuan, for all the advice on this trip planning.
4. Dinner resys obviously. We had a reservation (or at least a restaurant in mind) for at least 2 meals per day (hello👋 foodies). Shout out to Caleb for planning every hour of this trip and getting all the reservations!
5. I ordered everyone matching swag. I brought all the swag in a suitcase to avoid shipping to 10 cities (bless), but the matching swag was a great way to immediately bond everyone and get the whole city of Charleston asking what the Because Biker Gang was all about 😆 (check out our lime bike experience below).
I even did a gag gift for everyone related to an inside joke about renaming the company to Skucumber (don't ask 🥒)
6. Even Boomers can Uber. We ubered and or lime biked (shout out to electric lime bikes those are fun as heck) everywhere we went and we switched up who ubered together and who sat next to each other at meals to allow for full team bonding.
6. We got work done. We spent about 3 hours each day on a structured set of sessions: CEO Vision (holla🤘), and then Marketing, Sales, Product, Engineering, and Design Goals. We started first on a Q4 focus and then on 2023 goals. This was an awesome exercise to get EVERYONE involved and feeling ownership.
Here’s how I broke down my vision section:
Culture & Values
I started by letting the team write down values they think are absolutely crucial to maintain the amazing culture we've built among the 10 of us. I asked them to think about what characteristics we hold to be important in our culture that we should be looking for in new hires. I also asked them to write down characteristics they didn't think we should look for.
I then anonymously read those values aloud and let everyone comment on them.
After reading all the values from the team, I read off the values I thought were important and told the team we would use this exercise to form the next iteration of our official company values.
Product & Growth Opportunities
I then talked for about an hour on the gaping hole in the market we have the opportunity to fill and the ten directions we can go in from there.
Second, I had every person on the team write down a $ number on a piece of paper. That number represented what amount of money would be life changing for them or their family and loved ones.
I then anonymously read those numbers out loud. From there, I took the team into some relatable comparables in our industry (Klaviyo, Attentive, Yotpo, Figma, Canva, Jarvis, etc.) to paint the picture of how we could actually become a unicorn🦄
My goal in doing so was to help our first 10 team members understand the potential value of their stock options, especially for those who were receiving them for the first time at Because.
7. Finally, we had FUN! Outside of the structured work and vision sessions to cover things like product roadmap, OKR's, pricing, and more, we explored a cool new city no one had been to! We went on a boat tour, road lime bikes, checked out all the best restaurants, walked along the beach, saw the famous Pineapple fountain and rainbow row of colorful houses, shopped at the market, made friends with every single Uber driver (and tried to convince them to open Shopify stores), and stayed up all night playing Cards Against Humanity (pre-vetted to remove Rated R cards lol) and Mafia.