[Video] Thoughts On Team Meetings

While we live in a high tech world, there are still so many situations where nothing beats a face to face meeting. Being able to sit at the same table and flesh out ideas, brainstorm solutions and come up with new strategies is priceless.

I’m super excited about the DFINITY project and the number of smart people we’ve assembled to work on this project. Today, we finally got (almost) everyone into the same room to update each other on progress. Almost as important as work is to have fun together, hang out and get to know the person that is usually hidden behind a Slack acronym.

Video Transcript

Today is a super exciting day. I’m on my way back to the DFINITY office. Today is the first day that we’re bringing all the team members together. I’m just leaving San Francisco now. Sunset right there – beautiful.

I’m excited to see everyone and see where we’re going to take this project in the next few months.

One reason why I’m super excited about DFINITY is that we’re building not just a slightly better version of Bitcoin or Ether or any of these other blockchains, but we’re inventing the internet computer.

A massive amount of computation power that suddenly becomes available and makes building large-scale applications that are completely decentralized, secure and easy to interact with.

And what’s special about today is that for the first time we brought most of our team members together into one room. So there are about twenty-one engineers right now sitting in one room. We’ve grown quite rapidly over the past six months. While the project is mostly in stealth, so I can’t say too much, I could share my excitement because it’s really advanced. There are a lot of tough problems so there’s a lot to learn along the way.

Lessons learned in team meetings

I want to use the occasion that we’re doing a team meeting here to tell you a few of the lessons that we’ve learned in team meetings with Sendtask where we also have a very distributed setup, even more so than DFINITY.

We bring people together every now and then to get up to speed and to work on tough problems. There are a few components that are unique to a Sendtask retreat. We fly people somewhere and then we just work together for a week. I think we can generally put activities into two categories. One is “work”, the other one is “not work”.

1) Work-related activities

When it comes to work, we always start on the first day with a session on vision and mission. We make sure everyone’s aligned with what we want to build and why we want to build it.

The other activities that generally fit into the “work” category are centered around deep-diving on certain topics that we need to discuss in person. This could be the strategy, prioritization of certain features, it could be sharing user feedback and getting everyone on the same page. So you could say the first category is looking backward and the second category is looking ahead.

In the second category, we plan our next milestones and roadmap until we get together again. Similar to my personal life, we found a 90-day scope (about two to three months) is what is foreseeable.

2) Non-work activities

But as I mentioned before, there should be a ton of activities that are not work-related. And why do I think it’s so important? Because you have to create a culture where everyone wants to help and motivate each other. For that, it’s extremely important that you know the person behind the Slack handle.

So when we do a Sendtask retreat, there are several elements that would fall into this non-work category that we use to build and enjoy the company culture. One thing
that we do with every Sendtask retreat is I try to surprise the team. Usually, it’s a one day or two-day activity. Recent examples were hiking somewhere or going to a different city and staying there overnight.

It typically involves some physical activity. And while that doesn’t sound too exciting, there have been instances where the surprise element was bigger. During our retreat in Berlin, for example, I told everyone we’re going for a picnic on a Sunday afternoon. We got everyone into a little bus and then we drove to the airport where we did surprise Skydiving.

But there are also regular, everyday things that we do to enjoy team culture and getting to know the person behind the Slack name. Just going out for drinks, dinners and providing flexibility in the schedule for longer nights and evenings where people can just mingle and get to know each other.


Long day but super productive. Good to hear where everyone stands, where we are on the roadmap and now I’m looking forward to some sleep. I’m gonna go back to the office early tomorrow and it’s quite a long drive from Palo Alto up to San Francisco. So good night!

You can listen to the audio version here: