Each year (nearly) everyone at Automattic gets together for the Grand Meetup (GM). The GM is essentially a company retreat. We work, we train, we develop, we discuss, we play, we eat, we drink… it’s an amazing time of getting to know each other better and working and planning towards better products and better support for our customers.
This year the GM was at Whistler, which was beautiful! And as nice as it is to be home, I’m already looking forward to going back next year. Working remotely is great, and maybe our company’s distributed nature is what makes the GM even more special: we like to work from home, but sometimes conversations and activities in person are really productive and excellent bonding time.
Activities in Whistler
We do actually work while we’re at the GM, but we do other things too. There is so much to do in Whistler! Even when it’s not the ski season (which it isn’t in September) you could spend so much time there. Some of the activities we could choose from were:
- Escape room
- Beer tasting festival
- Zip line
- Photo tour
- Peak 2 Peak Gondola
- Mountain biking
- Virtual Reality room
Not to mention the activities run by Automatticians, like
- Swing dancing
- Knitting & crochet
- Magic the Gathering
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Running workshop
- Night photography
I only had a chance to do a few of these, which is why I’m already keen for next year!
I wasn’t planning on playing Dungeons and Dragons, but I ran into a team mate one evening who suggested I play. What fun! It was my first DnD, and we won. We inadvertently killed this sketchy dwarf who was planning to turn on us in the end, had he survived. Mwahaha.
I managed to find an evening where I didn’t have meetings and could roam around the village for a bit of night photography.
Peak 2 Peak
The Peak 2 Peak gondola goes between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It holds several Guinness World Records including,
- World’s longest unsupported span for a lift of this kind at 3.024km.
- World’s highest lift of its kind at 436m above the valley floor.
It is very beautiful up there. At this time of year, you can see a bit of snow on the mountain tops, and below there are lush green trees, lines of autumn color (the deciduous trees tend to grow in lines along the sides of rivers and trails), rivers and sometimes you may be in the midst of the clouds.
The Peak 2 Peak ticket also grants you access to wander the tops of the mountains and ride the other chair lifts. It was beautiful and darn nippy up there!
I also went on a photo tour where we saw forest, river, lake, waterfall, and a bear!
The (GLOW) Party
On the last night of the GM we have a pretty amazing party. A bunch of musically-inclined Automatticians practice all week (and sometimes for months preceding) to bring us a pumping set, in which there is much dancing, and jaw-dropping at their skillz. Then there is more music, dancing, drinks, and photo booths!
All in all it was amazeballs 😀
I’m going to be posting some more photos on my photoblog, and if you’re keen, here are some posts by other Automatticians.
- by Pyjammy (I was sitting next to her on the chair lift in those videos!)
- a beautiful Thank you Automattic from a team mate that has had way too much bad news this year
- Sandy McFadden mentions the night we all pitched in to crack down on the big support queue that inevitably builds up when we’re away
- explore the hashtag #a8cgm on Instagram
p.s. We’re hiring 😉