We try to get together every 9 months or so to get face-time, build community, and get some work done! Since our team is scattered all over the globe, we try to plan a different location for each Summit.
In January 2017 we met in Cancun, Mexico, where roughly 150 team members and 50 significant others flew in from 35 different countries.
Summit in Austin, TX, the USA
In May 2016, our team of 85 met up in Austin, TX to see if they were (still) as awesome as seen on Google Hangout.
Here's some footage our team put together to show how much fun we had.
Summit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Here are some impressions from our first Summit in October 2015.
Each Summit is intended to profoundly promote collaboration and understanding between GitLab contributors. Spouses are welcome to attend, but their presence should not distract team members from engaging with their peers and actively participating in Summit activities with the team.
Significant Others (SOs for short) are very welcome, one per team member
You are responsible for the SO you invite
SOs should do their best to get to know many people
SOs are welcome at all presentations, events, and meetings that are open to all team members
If you're having a meal with your SO, pick a table with more than two seats so you can invite others to join you
Having your children join you
Children are strongly discouraged from attending. We have observed from past Summits that contributors who have chosen to bring children spend significantly less time collaborating with GitLab coworkers. Accordingly, we are requesting that if you must travel with family members you fully engage in as many group activities as you are physically able, invite team members to join you during meals, attend all company meetings, and recognize that the Summit is an investment in the continued growth of the organization.
The goal of our Summits is to get to know each other outside of work. To help get this kickstarted, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Always wear your nametag to all events on all days.
Try to join different people every time we sit down for a meal
Try to form a personal bond with different team members of other teams
The summit is great for informal meetings and brainstorming, like User Generated Content discussions. People already know their team, so try to make UGC sessions cross functional.
Don't plan (extra) formal meetings with your own team at the summit, we already do these when we're at home and remote
Reduce regular the meetings and 1-1's with your team to a minimum
Health and safety
Use fistbumps instead of handshaking to avoid getting sick
Remember our values and specifically permission to play behavior (bottom of the values page)
Be respectful of other hotel guests (e.g. don't talk on your floor when returning to your room & keep your volume down at restaurants/bars)
Important logistical for every Summit
Ensure there is great wifi – we need more serious tech for the main room (5GHz, multiple points)
Ensure there are large meeting rooms for team members to join work hours and presentations
Label your charger with your name for easy return to owner in case you lose it
The following should be assigned and/or arranged a month before the Summit:
All interviews, presentations and content production
Who will be presenting and when & where they will be presenting
Projectors, wireless (non-handheld) microphones, and any other (audio) needs
Recording equipment such as stage cam, audience cam, presentation feed etc.
An audio feed that goes directly from microphone into the recording
A program and manager for live streaming
The blog text for the presentation, including relevant materials shared after the presentation, as well as approval and a plan to publish the blog 24 hours after the presentation is given
User Generated Content sessions
User Generated Content sessions are short ~50 minute discussions on a topic that is important to you. Topics can be on business, markets, investing, problems, opportunities, life, parenting, etc. Whatever is interesting to our team or the community. Here's an overview of how this works during our summits.
We request everyone to send in topics to discuss during the sessions at the summit a few weeks out.
If you're suggesting a topic, we ask you to be the topic leader. This means the following:
You start the session with a short 3 minute introduction or presentation.
During the discussion you lead the conversation, meaning keeping it on topic, making sure everyone is heard and asking relevant questions.
It could be that we'll have people co-lead a session.
After all topics are received, we send a survey to all attendees asking them to vote on the topics most interesting to them.
Once we've received all votes, after the deadline, we select the topics for the sessions.
We schedule 2, 4 hour blocks on separate days to plan the sessions.
Within each 4 hour block we schedule 4 sessions (if needed with multiple topics in different rooms/locations) with a short break of ~10 minutes in between for a quick drink/snack or bathroom break.
TBD Within each session we schedule multiple topics.
TBD Every session will have a short overview with the topic, leader and more info.
5 minutes before the end of each session we'll announce to wrap it up for the switch to another topic.