At Northern.tech we are distributed all around the world, which makes it even more important that we can all get together as a company at regular intervals. Every year we have a company summit, an occasion for the whole team to join from around the globe for valuable face-to-face time. It’s vital to us to get to know each other, socialize, share our perspectives and work together side by side – this helps us stay aligned on our mission and goals, to get a health check on our company culture, and to grow closer as people.
For 2020, we checked into a huge cabin in the Norwegian woods for 4 days. It included a large common dining area, outdoor sauna and hot tub, games room, a sun bed and even a small gym (with another sauna!), in addition to great views of the local scenery.
Traditionally we kick off each summit with a more relaxed session. This year we had pizza, drinks, a couple of product demos for Mender and CFEngine, followed by our annual quiz all about the company. This year’s winner was Fabio, one of our newest team members, who took home the prize of a brand new iPad. Kudos to Fabio for learning so much about our company already in his short time here!
The competition winner, Fabio, with his prize!
Finding new ways to work together
The theme of the summit this year was working together as one company – how can we best share knowledge, processes and tools between our two product teams, and how we can make Northern.tech an even better place to work. Day 2 was packed full of sessions covering our processes, from sales to engineering.
Day 3 kicked off with focus on what it’s like to work here. We heard from team members new and old, from remote workers and from those in our main Oslo and San Francisco offices. We identified what we love about working here and what we will try to improve during 2020.
After the morning session, we had some social activities planned. Unfortunately the usual January snow was missing this year (hopefully not a sign of climate change in action) so instead of winter games, we went bowling. Thomas, our CEO, blew the rest of us out of the water with a score of 172. Some of our more mischievous team members tested the bowling UI’s robustness against code injection, to no avail!
For the final day the agenda was dedicated to a hackathon, where our team came up with some ingenious ideas to combine our Mender and CFEngine products. Some ideas were immediately feasible and actionable, such as consolidating sales processes; others were more creative and geeky, such as Ole Petter who figured out how to write a Mender client in CFEngine policy. Everyone demoed their results to the whole team, before we rounded off a successful week with more drinks, hot tub, sauna and games!
These trips are so important to us as a company, and lots of fun to be part of. Until our 2021 summit, we’ll continue to meet occasionally throughout the year for product planning in Oslo, and at tech conferences round the world. In the meantime, we will follow up on the many great ideas that came out of this year’s get together.