I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Amsterdam on a rainy Friday two days after our WooTrip 2013 ended and I've decided to take time out of my vacation to write this blog post. Why? Because I think every company needs a WooTrip.
Wait, What's a “WooTrip”?
Every year, the entire WooThemes team, from around the world, meet up for a period of fun, team-building and good old-fashioned hard work. This year, our destination was Leiden, Holland to be able to attend WordCamp Europe.
Team Building huh? Isn't that Simply Letting Someone Catch You As You Fall?
No, we didn't do any corporate team building activities. We simply had fun, did work, and put 110% into everything we did. This led to so many new ideas like these:
- When a customer was confused about 3 separate Authorize.net extensions for WooCommerce I had a chat with the developer to see about merging them all together into one plugin so customers don't get confused.
- I had planned on improving the UX of our System Status Report, which is attached to all of our support requests, and was able to knock it out in 30 minutes after chatting with the another team member.
- And when several developers were chatting about functionality they were going to implement I had the opportunity to ask them why they wanted to implement the functionality and how. This allowed me to make some recommendations which should prevent future bugs.
These small moments are so important in everyday life and at work as well. They take all of the formality & red tape out of picture and let you focus on really improving the product. Instead of worrying about deadlines or tickets we were all relaxing and focused on improving ourselves, the product, and the company. Having the right location, the right amount of work, and the right frame of mind made the whole team eager to improve WooThemes. We were so excited that we came up with more creative ideas over the past week than in the past several months.
Does it Have to be at Some Exotic Location?
No, you can do team building anywhere but the exotic location did enable me to meet a whole bunch of people (like Tom Wilmot, Brent Shepard, & Kevin Stover) and see presentations from people (like Noel Tock, Brad Williams, Andrew Nacin, Yoast, & Matt Mullenweg) that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to see. It also added an excitement factor that wouldn't have been there if it was in your home town.
Remember to Look Up Every Once in a While
It's really easy to put your nose the grind stone and just keep working away on the next product or the next feature. As humans we have this idea that the more you work the more products you can release and the more money you can make. But the trick is that this doesn't make quality products. Sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board and refactor code or reimagine ideas to really get the most out of them. WooThemes doesn't make money by having the most WordPress products. We make money by having the best products. If you want to have the best products to need to make time for your team to collaborate to have these creative bursts of energy – you need to have a WooTrip.