Thoughts from a Grand Meetup

I arrived back in Aberdeen this afternoon and must say it was nice flying in over the green patchwork landscape of Scotland and seeing the rugged cliffs along the coast. I think I even saw Dunnottar Castle. I felt like I was coming home. I was pretty shattered and promptly fell asleep for several hours.

I had a terrific time at the Automattic Grand Meetup. On the last night we celebrated the 10th anniversary of with a fantastic party. There was lots of dancing and general merriment. They had a photo booth setup in the ballroom and I got lots of terrific photos but this one is my favourite:


On the last morning I went for a walk with some, er, friends:



It could be New Zealand, right?

My two favourite activities during the week were learning to swing dance one evening and participating in three Escape the Rooms. They were both fantastic but also funny in the sense that it was obvious we were participants from a tech company. The swing dancing had an unequal number of men and women but where typically in these things the women outnumber the men, in this instance, there were more men which is, I guess, a reflection of our workforce.

The Escape the Room was quite funny because one of the rooms had a computer in it with a password-protected file. As part of the activity the team had to solve clues in the room to figure out the password and open the file. However three teams bypassed this requirement by hacking the computer and opening the file without the need for a password. Once the company who organised the activities realised what was going on they took steps to prevent this by changing file permissions. Our team was the last to go through this room and the first to escape it without hacking the computer. We were pretty chuffed about that. Here’s our team:


I love working remotely and I love working from home. But I can see that meeting the people I work with in person will make text-based communication easier. There’s only so much you can learn about personalities from text and body language is so rich and varied. I feel more comfortable pinging people I have met in person. It was definitely a worthwhile trip for this reason alone but it was also great fun and a wonderful learning experience.