We're a small start-up, so you wouldn't think we'd be able to take 12 of our co-workers to SXSW in Austin, TX. But thanks to a great idea by my co-founder Sean, we were able to do it, and it was a blast.
We couldn't afford to pay everyone's airfare, so instead we hit on a compromise: We offered a "work-cation" to our employees -- they pay their airfare to get to Austin, and we'd cover the hotel + pay them each $100 cash for spending money. In exchange, they'd get to spend the weekend in Austin during SXSW and we'd all party in the evenings, while working during the weekdays while we were there. It worked out great. It was an incredible bonding experience for all of us, and even though we stayed in the worst hotel in Austin, we all had a blast.
I can't stress enough how awesome and important it is to really kick back with your team and get to know each other as people. Especially considering how hard we all work, spending some time together outside of work is really fun, great for everyone, and part of our company manifesto.
In fact, we had such a great time that even other companies were putting our crew on their websites. Here is a picture from the ServerBeach website showing us at their party.
At SXSW this year, I also saw a rise in the use of QR codes, as well as augmented reality and video capture on iPad 2 tablets. We also all used Beluga, a great group messaging app that changed the way we interacted with each other during the event (one of those things you're not sure how you lived without).
Here's a video Isaac made of our trip, and below it are pics just a few of the many moments we all shared together during SXSW:
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