Tacos & Team Building: Loom’s Retreat 2017

Susana Cigano

Spoiler alert: We had an all-around fantastic week 😄

Since the last time we wrote a blog post about rebranding from Opentest to Loom in January, quite a lot has happened.

We overhauled our infrastructure to handle the growth of 250K+ users. We (finally!) hit a perfect five-star rating in the Chrome Store. We surpassed 1M videos recorded. We raised our Seed financing from fantastic investors (more on this soon!).

And, most importantly, the Loom team almost doubled from 4 to 7.

Knowing When To Retreat

With the growth we’d been experiencing and most the company working fully or partially remote, including myself out of Amsterdam, we had never been in the same room together.

In startup land, you’re always trying to keep your head above water. It never feels like the right time to do anything but work, work, work.

We had experienced some growing pains. And usually when it feels like the least opportune time to do a retreat is when it is the best time to do a retreat. Take a step back and simply be together. To share what Loom means to each of us, find alignment on what we want it to mean to the world, and how that translates into the future we architect.

So the Loom team packed it up and decided to viva la Mexico por cinco dias!

Loommates lounging
Here you see a couple slackers sitting at the table while Shahed and myself are hard at work sunbathing and margarita-ing on the day bed 🍹

What we set out to accomplish

For the first ever official Loom retreat, the team flew south to the Los Cabos region in Mexico. We set up camp in a fantastic Airbnb where we worked, cooked, and shared stories together.

Building an amazing culture is one of our top priorities at Loom, and we need to make sure we get it right.

We want to be able to trust each other and to feel comfortable having a discourse of healthy conflict. Ultimately, we want to make commitments to each other so we can deliver on accountability. This was top of mind while planning our retreat.

We asked for our mentors’ advice, researched other company culture successes, and completed exercises to get our heads in the right place prior to getting together. Parker Mitchell and his product Accompany were incredible resources for us. If you’re reading this, THANK YOU PARKER!

We decided to focus on three pillars for our time together:

  • Vision & Mission

  • Company Culture

  • Business Challenge (with mentor & investor, Hiten Shah)

‍The Workshops

Throughout the week, we split our time between relaxing and spending time working toward defining our culture, which were kicked off with an inspiring presentation by Loom’s founders as part of the workshops we had aligned for the week. It was a great start to our time together, making sure we were aligned on Loom’s mission and what that meant for us as a team and for our users.

Loom’s Vision & Mission

We spent time with the vision and mission, internally reflecting on it as well as having in depth discussions about the nuances of their meaning. Our team shared stories supporting the vision, concerns of its perceived meaning, and ultimately our overall excitement of what we all envision for Loom’s future.

What we landed on you can see in the photo below:

“Your best self at work”

We ended this first session in a great place, planning for a second Vision and Mission session the week we returned to “real life”, giving ourselves time to reflect and digest for the remainder of the trip.

Loommates in Mexico group photo
It was our first time meeting each other in person, so naturally we took a super awkward hover hand photo in front of our newly minted Mission statement. Not staged. Completely natural.

Loom’s Company Culture

Next, we shifted our focus to the second pillar: Company Culture. Up until now, we’ve had a silent understanding when it came to Loom’s culture. Our team has been very fortunate in how well we mesh on both personal and professional levels.

Every person is unique and quirky in their own ways, and we are all driven by the same set of values, together forming what we think is a pretty special bunch 😊

But this also meant that we need to take this seriously for company culture is sensitive and should be treated with respect. Knowing this was not a one time effort, we worked together to establish the foundation of what will become Loom’s Core Values.

Today, a few weeks after the initial conversations, after several workshops, content iterations and late night discussions, we are very close to what we can proudly present to the world as our company’s values. The representation of how all seven of us feel about ourselves, each other, Loom, and its future. Stay tuned!

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Written by Susana Cigano

Manager, Support @ Loom

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