Picture yourself and 30 colleagues stuck in a house for 10 days of nonstop work. Wait! Before you start imagining scenes from a horror movie, let us finish.
The house is surrounded by tall, green trees and blue ocean. In the backyard, there’s a sauna and a shockingly comfortable 60℉ pool. At any given time, there are people glued to their computer screens, steaming like a clam in a towel in the sauna, or getting in a workout on the lawn. And did we mention there’s a chef, who cooks a killer chicken curry.
This was Airtame Workathon 2016. We had fun, we ate well, and we worked damn hard. See for yourself in this video we made of our time at the Airtame Workathon.
And now we want to share it all with you by telling you about our successes and frustrations that led us to pack our office into a van and move our team to a vacation house.
Airtame Workathon is a mix between a hackathon and a company retreat. Our founders, Jonas, Attila, Marius, and Brian, dedicated a lot of their time in the previous weeks planning our trip and pinning down concrete goals for the trip.
This wasn’t their first rodeo. Last year, the Airtame team was smaller (about 20) and a bit more wet behind the ears when Airtame did Launch Camp, a work retreat to a vacation house in the woods. At that time, we were gearing up for the launch of our product.
We did launch and it was a harsh taste of reality when we failed to meet up to everyone’s high expectations. Every day since then has been spent turning this around, as you can read more about in this guest post on Indiegogo.
A year later, our product is out in schools and offices across the world and our team has grown bigger and wiser. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.
You, our customers, partners, and friends, have given us great feedback and the Airtame Workathon was about reaching the expectations you have for us.
Our team had clear goals set for our 10 day hackathon/retreat. We had some planned activities, but for the most part, we were free to work on our tasks independently. A day at Airtame Workathon went something like this (See more pics on the Airtame Official Instagram):
8:00 – 10:00 – Breakfast
10:00 – 10:30 – Daily standup meeting
10:30 – 1:00 – Work, work, work
1:00 – 2:30 – Lunch & Learn
3:00 – 5:30 – Work, work, work
5:30 – 7:00 – Crossfit WOD or walk on the beach
7:00 – 8:00 – Dinner
8:00 – 12:00 – Work and/or relax in the sauna
Our strategy for this camp was to focus our efforts into one overall goal or project. We weren’t allowed to touch any unrelated tasks (except for the support team, of course, because customer service never sleeps).
The last day of Airtame Workathon was Demo Day, the day where we got to show how far we got in our goals. The idea wasn’t to finish our projects. As our CEO, Jonas Gyalokay, said, “If you got everything done that you planned, you were not ambitious enough.”
The general gist of what we did during these 10 days goes as follows:
We rewrote a lot of the streaming software (the magic bit that captures the screen of your desktop and sends it to your Airtame). We also made it possible to set a pin code to start a stream, which is a frequently requested feature.
The application team shipped out a new version of the software that included a new app design! Check out more on the new app update 1.8 here in our blog post.
We built a new Chromium-based browser that loads dashboards faster. We also started setting up a new network manager, which will help us monitor WiFi connections and speed up connection time. Last, but not least, we added a firmware 1.7.1 hot fix.
Before the Workathon, the infrastructure team monitored and gathered metrics on our testing and production environments. They used the 10 days to continue setting up separate testing and production environments that will make our product development process more efficient.
This is a project we started on recently that you will hear more about in the near future. For now, let’s just say we made some proofs-of-concept and are moving ahead on what is going to be a great addition to our product.
Our QA team set up automated testing for the Airtame desktop application. In particular, tests that trigger events on the user interface.
We’ve set up some excellent email flows that will make sure everyone who buys an Airtame gets great service from our support team. We also ramped up our ads and carried out a reach out campaign.
? Content & Design
We wrote more product comparisons and updated content both on our website and our Amazon page. Our goal is to give potential customers as much information as possible, so they can make informed buys.
We took this time to get a major project underway of redesigning the Airtame help center. We set up the basic structure of the new help center and will keep working on building it up.
The Airtame sales team spent most of the camp catching up with our current and potential customers who are testing Airtames. In total, we had more than 80 phone conversations and face to face meetings with customers and resellers.
Overall, we feel good about the work we did. We put down a solid foundation for things to come and will spend the next months ramping up on the projects we started.
Airtame Workathon did its job of boosting our creativity and productivity. Even though we’re happy to be back in our usual office, we’re already looking forward to the next Workathon.