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A Day in the Azores

I'm not generally the easiest person to wake up in the morning, but on port days on cruises, I'm up before the old people. It helps to have free access to the best alarm clock invented-- free scheduled room service. Such was the case today, when our ship stopped in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores. I've wanted to go to the Azores for years, ever since a guy named Eric Bomblatus, whose family is from there, told us about how beautiful it was. Sometimes all it takes is planting that seed.

At eight a.m. sharp we were off the boat and walking down the cool sunny streets of the city. I remarked that I wished I had a motorcycle to explore the island with. Ten minutes later we passed a motorcycle rental place. Prices were checked, found to be reasonable, and a plan practically wrote itself.

Between the five of us (Todd, Ben, Carl, Christophe, and me) we rented every motorized vehicle they had left. We got a 650cc motorcycle, a 125cc motorcycle, two quads, and a 125cc scooter. A mother-daughter duo we had befriended on the ship stopped to say hi, and were added to our party as passengers. Driving down the street, we looked like a post-apocalyptic gang.

Forming a bond: Priceless

On DROdio

We're a small start-up, so you wouldn't think we'd be able to take 12 of our co-workers to SXSW in Austin, TX.  But thanks to a great idea by my co-founder Sean, we were able to do it, and it was a blast.

We couldn't afford to pay everyone's airfare, so instead we hit on a compromise:  We offered a "work-cation" to our employees -- they pay their airfare to get to Austin, and we'd cover the hotel + pay them each $100 cash for spending money.  In exchange, they'd get to spend the weekend in Austin during SXSW and we'd all party in the evenings, while working during the weekdays while we were there.  It worked out great.  It was an incredible bonding experience for all of us, and even though we stayed in the worst hotel in Austin, we all had a blast.

I can't stress enough how awesome and important it is to really kick back with your team and get to know each other as people.  Especially considering how hard we all work, spending some time together outside of work is really fun, great for everyone, and part of our company manifesto.

In fact, we had such a great time that even other companies were putting our crew on their websites.  Here is a picture from the ServerBeach website showing us at their party.

At SXSW this year, I also saw a rise in the use of QR codes, as well as augmented reality and video capture on iPad 2 tablets.  We also all used Beluga, a great group messaging app that changed the way we interacted with each other during the event (one of those things you're not sure how you lived without).

We're a small start-up, so you wouldn't think we'd be able to take 12 of our co-workers to SXSW in Austin, TX.  But thanks to a great idea by my co-founder Sean, we were able to do it, and it was a blast. We couldn't afford to pay everyone's airfare, so instead we hit on a compromise:  We offered a "work-cation" to our employees -- they pay their airfare to get to Austin, and we'd cover the hotel + pay them each $100 cash for spending money.  In exchange, they'd get to spend the weekend in Austin during SXSW and we'd all party in the evenings, while working during the weekdays while we were there.  It worked out great.  It was an incredible bonding experience for all of us, and even though we stayed in the worst hotel in Austin, we all had a blast. I can't stress enough how awesome and important it is to really kick back with your team and get to know each other as people.  Especially considering how hard we all work, spending some time together outside of work is really fun, great for everyone, and part of our company manifesto. In fact, we had such a great time that even other companies were putting our crew on their websites.  Here is a picture from the ServerBeach website showing us at their party. At SXSW this year, I also saw a rise in the use of QR codes, as well as augmented reality and video capture on iPad 2 tablets.  We also all used Beluga, a great group messaging app that changed the way we interacted with each other during the event (one of those things you're not sure how you lived without). Here's a video Isaac made of our trip, and below it are pics just a few of the many moments we all shared together during SXSW: > [gallery link="file" columns="2"]

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