I recently returned to a backyard full of snow after having spent a great week in Puerto Rico at the first official Knack corporate retreat.
Along with getting to know our team and work together in person, it was also an apt time to reflect back on how we got there.
It wasn't that long ago where working together with a team of 9 in a beautiful setting would have seemed a bit like a fantasy. Not every startup explodes on the scene in a matter of months.
We've taken the “long way”, which made the retreat that much more gratifying.
In the fall of 2010 we had just come out of a startup incubator, had a different name, zero paying customers, and a very buggy “product”.
It took plenty of bumps, experiments, and customer learning before we finally managed to launch in the Fall of 2012.
We always have had a vision of what we wanted the Knack product to be. We also knew that we’d need to assemble a great team of people who were smarter than us in order to bring that product to life.
By 2013 we still had no team members outside of the founders. We were making it work with two of us but we quickly saw gaps in coverage. We had aspirations for more robust support resources, quicker turnaround times, videos, articles, forums, you name it… and realized that it was time to add to the family.
And so began the endeavor to expand team Knack. We had experience hiring and training people in the past, but that was different when everybody was in the same office. For Knack we were committed to basing our team culture around being remote. This opens up far greater hiring potentials and allows us to be more selective on things like “culture fit”. It also poses a different set of challenges.
We started exploring our network and found, interviewed, and somehow convinced our first team member to join us on this journey… hey Steve!
Fast forward to August 2015 and the product and the team had grown in truly amazing ways. Hey Nic, Luke, Danielle and Cameron!
By November, we had found the two other team members we were seeking (David and Carson). By this time the idea of a team retreat had come up a few times and it finally felt like the timing was right.
Off we went in January to meet 7 great people we’ve hired but never met in person.
For me, the initial face to face interactions with the people I had only video chatted with were exactly as I expected. It was truly as if we all had known each other for years and just planned a reunion. We’re really proud of the team we’ve built, and being able to meet and interact with everyone was by far the highlight.
We work hard on our remote culture, and seeing it all pay off at the retreat has inspired us to be even more committed to building a fantastic team. We can’t wait for the next retreat and the new team members we’ll be able to meet!