Our engineering staff here at FMTC are spread throughout the US, from Eastern Pennsylvania to the Pacific Coast, so we like to get together a couple of times per year for a little tech retreat. Previously, these were held during Affiliate Summit but to maximize the time we spend together, we’ve been holding these independent from any conference (see our 2015 trip to Atlanta) or, like we did a couple of weeks ago, in the same city of the conference but not overlapping it.
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On the Friday before Affiliate Summit our engineers flew into Vegas and settled into a spacious 7-bedroom house just off the strip, rented via AirBNB (get a $20 credit here, and I get $20 too!). We were arriving almost hourly, so it was kind of like Big Brother with contestants, I mean, FMTCers, going from bedroom to bedroom to claim their own. There was a grocery store just down the road, so we walked down (more steps logged on our FitBits!) and picked up food and drinks to keep us energized.
Since we arrived during the workweek, much of Friday was spent wrapping up tasks for the week, answering support tickets, and working with the team back home. We were able to discuss some bigger projects, but the team let us know when they were done as Heads Up came out at the end of the day, which resulted in hours of laughing and fun.
On Saturday, a few of us walked up to this vegan donut shop to pick up breakfast (vegan donuts are a vegetable, right?) then sat down to sprint on the Merchant Hub, which is a public directory of the over 10,000 merchant affiliate programs listed with FMTC. The tasks were broken out so that all 4 team members could work on it at the same time and not step on each others’ toes. Having the full team in 1 room allowed them to complete this project in a few hours, versus the weeks it may have taken if we were spread remotely and waiting on communications. Together, someone could shout out a question, instantly get an answer or spark a conversation which led to the best solution.
After launching the Merchant Hub, we headed to the Strip where we walked through the casinos and shops and eventually ended up at dinner with much of the team (anyone who was in Vegas that weekend for the tech retreat, Type A Conference, or Affiliate Summit).
It was a whirlwind 40 hours or so, but valuable time to spend together. Some of us had never met in person before this weekend; it’s always funny the first time a living person who’s standing in front of you sounds like that person you’ve talked with on the phone for the past few months.
We’re now planning our Summer ’16 Tech Retreat – any suggestions on where we should come together?
Affiliate Summit West
Many members of the FMTC team stayed in Vegas for ASW16. These are meeting-filled days and fun-filled nights! In all, our team engaged in dozens of meetings over the three conference days. In addition to having some valuable face-to-face interaction with existing partners, clients, and prospects, our team was energized by the simple act of spending time with each other. Fortifying those personal connections leads to stronger teamwork in the business world.
FMTC’s CEO, Rachel Honoway, reprised a session from ASE15, sharing her experiences with successful management of a remote workforce. The FMTC team is spread throughout North America, and Rachel’s knowledge/insight regarding this subject was eagerly consumed by those in attendance.
— FMTC (@FMTC_co) January 11, 2016
We like to get into the theme of the ShareASale parties. At ASW16, it was time to party like Gatsby!
Note that we do work during Affiliate Summit, but who takes pics while they’re working? [boring!] After another day of meetings, networking, and educational sessions, it was time to leave our dignity at the hotel and head to the “wrong” side of town for some Affiliate Karaoke fun!
At the conclusion of ASW16, our team was physically exhausted, yet mentally refreshed and ready to implement new strategies and attain loftier goals.