Being the newest member of the WooTeam, it’s safe to say I was probably the most nervous for our recent trip to the UK. Not in a bad way though.
I’m the new kid in class, so to speak, with that I knew I had some harassing coming my way. Which I got in the form of initiation shots. 🙂 Surprisingly, I didn’t butcher anyones name,Â especially with my Midwestern accent. Nor did I get lost as others did in London. This was my first trip across the pond to the UK and besides meeting all of my coworkers and seeing the beautiful UK, it was the first time the latest iteration of the WooTeam was together working from one place.
While this was a fun trip for all of us, we also did our best to tend to all of the Woo business while we hung out and got to know each other. An interesting concept if you think about it: most companies don’t take trips together and if they do they aren’t tending to any work. WooThemes runs itself a little “backwards” from most. We work apart for the majority of the time and when company fun time comes, we meet up and continue to work while doing so. I’d often work off some jetlag by staying up and answering emails. Definitely safe to say we love our jobs here.
We also had a WooThemes meetup with a fun group of our customers from London, I think it was a great time for everyone there. It was chance for us to meet with some of our users in real life. Another aspect of an online company that is different from normal, we don’t get to meet many of our users. I only wish we could travel more and have face-to-face conversations with more of our customers.
Back to the WooTeam working from one location… One day during our stay in London we took over one of the hotel’s business rooms and got down to work. When we were all handling our normal work activities, nothing was too out of the normal. That is if you don’t count Kirstin and his love for blaring CÃ©line Dion loud enough for us all to hear through his earphones. 😉
Once we got some mail and forum posts out of the way, we had a proper brainstorming session about all of the challenges & ideas we have for WooThemes. This was quite fun to witness. I proposed a couple ideas from my side of Woo, but then the more geeky side took over. I watched as the more technically inclined part of our team dug into what is our core product of themes, and really hashed out ways they – as a team – could become more efficient, as well as produce higher quality themes. From this discussion of the core product we branched off into several great ideas that in due time will be used to improve upon the whole Woo experience.
While this meeting might have gone a bit long, it was clear that this discussion reinvigorated everyone to spend some time and hash out these ideas. This was definitely one of the goals of the trip we talked about before. The conversation even lingered over into our early dinner and throughout the rest of the week. To keep these conversations going we’re implementing many ideas behind the scenes, but to have that chance to brainstorm face-to-face was priceless.
I’m sure we put a bit of a dent in the WooThemes credit card, but for us all to get together and operate as a “normal” company was definitely worth the price. Just as any other company that is together all of the time would say it’s good for them to get away. We’ve definitely grown tighter as co-workers and have come back rejuvenated to lead WooThemes to the next step of innovation. It’ll definitely be great to see the fruits of this trip come to life in the near future.