Each of us arrive at Moment from a different place in life. Our own experiences, backgrounds, and circumstances that bring us together also create a unique thread between the group. A thread with varying points of view that can make alignment harder to accomplish.
When we set out on our latest off-site we did so with a very unknown future. Turning the phone into a better camera comes with it a stressful reality that we are an accessory to a fast changing platform. It’s a platform that we originally hoped would be balanced by multiple device makers. Unfortunately this has slowly evolved into the reality that mobile photography is largely dominated by one… Apple.
We started these offsite adventures three years ago because they are our chance to shed a traditional work environment to better understand the differences and similarities between us. To spend time talking, connecting, and improving. And now at 18 people we begin to realize that the efficiencies of small are giving way to the reality of bigger. The differences that make us unique can sometimes be in direct conflict to our ability to go faster.
Cadence between a single group of people is a beautiful thing to watch. When a group moves from a few to a collection to a team there are these tensions that naturally grow within the group. The need for a common language, style, and approach becomes apparent. It’s what makes growing a team so complicated.
If you ever watched the Brazilian soccer teams of Pele or the Barcelona teams of Messi there is this beautiful, natural movement. They share a rhythm to the game and a consistent style that is engrained into the fabric of their existence. Fan or foe you can’t help but appreciate the seamless connection between the group. It’s a rhythm realized in sport that is rarely discussed in business.
Creating this seamless connection is one of our biggest challenges.
Surviving together, even if just for a few days, helps us to improve the natural rhythm between us. The necessity to eat, explore, photograph, and sleep creates a shared existence. Although these interactions are small, they teach us how to develop language and appreciation for each other. It also forces us to accept the differences between us, while finding a common ground to accomplish the same end result.
In sport, measurement of team is easier. There is a scoreboard that is tied to a single game that is tied to a bigger season. The results are measured and the dynamic is clearly evident by everyone watching the game. And at the end of every game the scoreboard resets, giving teams a fresh chance to try again.
In startups and in life there isn’t a simple scoreboard and there isn’t a new season. Instead it’s a continuum with few ways to measure the cohesiveness of a team. It’s a challenge we work on at every offsite.
How do we measure progress? How do we measure the fluidity of our rhythm? How do we deliver better work, faster?
This being our ninth offsite together it’s remarkable to reflect back on our collective progress. The depth of the relationships we have created can be felt like close friends who travel the world together.
There are days we struggle and days we click. There are days we are winning and days where we are losing. There are days that are pure elation and days we want to quit. But regardless we are here together, working hard to make the world a slightly happier place.