Fun in the (almost) Sun: A Company BBQ

Earlier this week, we hosted a good ole fashioned company BBQ at Crissy Field in San Francisco - it was about time that we brought the team together for a little fun in the sun fog! 

We went back to our roots for this one - grocery shopping for grillables, drinking soda pop and a pony keg of “Moderation” (a homebrew from our very own James Greenhill and Ted Kaemming), and hosting a bake-off to supply ourselves with an insane amount of sugary deliciousness. It was great to chill by the grill (literally - it wasn’t exactly warm), play lawn games, and spend some time just decompressing with each other. We’re a fun-lovin’ little community over here, and it’s nice to have a reminder of how much we like each other!

The Bean Bag Toss Heard ‘Round The World #DisqusBBQ

A video posted by Disqus (@disqus) on May 19, 2015 at 12:00am PDT

We started the day off with some bagels and coffee, to fill our bellies and warm us up (did I mention it was cold?) before a teambuilding activity to get us all talking. We worked with a company called RoundPegg to take what are basically workplace-values tests…like a Myers-Briggs but specifically about how we like to work. Then we circled up for “Speed Dating” - interviewing each other about our preferences and work styles. It was really interesting to dig a little deeper, to ask specific questions about how we’re different and learn how to use those differences to our advantage. One of our company values is being colorful, which to us means celebrating what makes us unique, and using our differences in perspective to be better together. 

Once we wrapped up our Speed Dating sesh, it was time to fire up the grills! It’s always nice to keep things low key, and we’re a pretty scrappy bunch of folks, so we had no trouble at all grilling up a storm. From hot dogs and sausages to vegan-friendly burgers, not to mention a vast assortment of sides, we were well fed. 

There was definitely a lot of eating, but we also played all sorts of games - corn hole, jai alai, football, and a new favorite…3-second animals (players have 3 seconds to draw an animal of the judge’s choosing). It was great to take a day away from the office to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.

In addition to our spread of BBQ and snacks, we enjoyed an assortment of homemade treats from Disqussers Steve Roy (chocolate cherry cream pie), Amanda Nudelman (dog flops), Tony Hue (s’mores brownies), Jeff Pollard (banana cream pie), Branden Rolston (oatmeal spice frosting sandwiches), and yours truly (kitchen sink cookies and peach cake). It was a true team effort!

I love taking the time to connect with each other off-line, IRL, and away from the craziness of our regular days. It’s good to shake things up, bond with each other, and come back to the office feeling refreshed and reconnected. Teambuilding FTW!

My Internship & The Boulder Experience

I have never claimed to be a consistent blogger, which probably lends to the fact that I don’t have a big or loyal readership. Perhaps I should work on that.

Well, I’m already at week 4 of my internship at RoundPegg, a TechStars company, and I am having a blast. First off, the team is amazing from top to bottom; great talent, good people, and smart work. My role within the organization has expanded beyond the planned channel sales and business development areas; now I’m working on service delivery automation, exit planning and due diligence strategy, and this week I even put out a pretty sweet deliverable for a potential investor (we’re just about to close our Series A round). What I am learning very quickly is that in a startup you wear a lot of hats, and you rarely have control over which ones you wear and when you wear them. Flexibility and the ability to weave in and out of tasks is paramount, as it allows you to add the most amount of value possible in the most important areas. It serves my short attention span well, but if you are a person that likes structured work startups are not the place for you. But I love it, and I now know for sure that startups are what I love and want to do. 

Second item to discuss: Boulder. I love this town. It’s an amalgamation of smart people doing innovative stuff, an amazingly supportive startup community, a lot of diversity, extremely friendly people, and a great outdoor lifestyle that everybody partakes in. The Boulder startup community is absolutely amazing, and I can see myself becoming a part of this scene. I can’t walk home from work without running into folks I’ve met and gotten to know at amazing companies like SendGrid, Rezora, Trada, Napkin Labs, and even TechStars, and geeking out on the latest things they’re working on. Pearl Street is an amazing place to stroll on weekend evenings (if you do you’ll be treated to 10 different renditions of the same Cat Stevens song from 10 different guitar players). While I love Utah, I don’t love everything about it. And to me, Boulder combines what I love about Utah, without the trappings that drive me crazy. It’s the type of place I could see myself planting roots and staying for a while. 

Without realizing I was doing it, I put together a team and we’re building a prototype for something that could be pretty good in the next 12-18 months. I’ll go into more detail later, but a big thank you to my friend and classmate Matt Behrend for hooking me up and giving me a nudge in the right direction. I wasn’t actively out looking to do my own startup, it just kind of happened. I’m now working with two amazing programmers, and in the next 14 days or so we’ll have our minimum viable product to take around and show off. Our project is a huge gamble, but one that will be amazing if we are right.

And finally, the reality of becoming a dad in August has hit, and I could not be more excited. I just can’t wait to have that little bundle of baby girl in my arms.
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