The Story Behind Giant Swarm’s Remote Christmas Market

The Team @ Giant Swarm

• Dec 4, 2020

 

TL;DR: On December 10th we’re hosting a Remote Christmas Market and you’re invited. This isn’t a stuffy conference in Christmas disguise. It’s our attempt to host fun conversations and keep it casual. We’d love to see you there and share a mulled wine. 

Screenshot 2020-12-04 at 10.17.07We didn’t want to do this, actually...

We are a remote company and have been since the very beginning back in 2014. This is something we’ve mentioned a lot this year since we’ve had to welcome a lot more friends to the #WFH side of life. 

We really believe in remote work and after a couple of years in the game, we think we’ve even managed to work out the secret sauce to making the most of the distributed setup while maintaining strong team bonds. 

“But what does this all have to do with a Remote Christmas Market,”  you might ask. 

Well, for one, as much as we love our remote setup (just ask our 60 team members scattered across the globe) we really didn’t want to have to do a remote Christmas Market, not after the year we’ve all had. Because as much as we love the freedom of remote work, we sure do miss our friends, a lot. 

We really miss conferences and all the fun that comes with them. We miss traveling to new places and seeing old friends. We miss meeting our team members in exciting locations for our biannual Giant Swarm Onsite.  Basically, we miss all the special things that we know remote work can’t replace. 

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After years of working remotely, we’ve become very familiar with the list of special things that cannot be substituted with an online version. However, this year we have been forced to challenge some of our old assumptions and push ourselves to see opportunities instead of blockers. 

As mentioned, twice a year we all gather in a new country for our Onsite. This is an opportunity for us to spend IRL time together and get to know each other outside of Google Meet. From Barcelona to Zürs, this event is hotly anticipated and the wave of positive emotions before and after is visible in the multiple gushing Slack threads. Of course, this year we didn’t manage to have our summer Onsite and once the disappointment settled, we went into planning mode. From this Giant Swarm’s first-ever Remote Onsite was born and despite our concerns, it was a huge success and something we’d happily replicate in the future. 

We figured if we could manage to conquer the challenges of a virtual Onsite, what other possibilities existed? 

Enter Giant Swarm’s Remote Christmas Market. 🎄 Applying everything we’ve learned from years of #RemoteWork, we were inspired to host this event because we wanted to give our friends and partners the same warm feelings we experienced during our debut virtual Onsite. We wanted to take all of the advantages of remote that we’re all well acquainted with now and pair them with some unexpected playful editions like a magic show from our friend Pete Heat, a DIY glühwein course with the pros from Cocktailkunst, and hallway conversations without the hallway. Whether you drop by for a quick browse or hang around for the afternoon, we’re looking forward to seeing you there. 

That’s how it is at Giant Swarm. We build, learn, and never stop playing along the way. While this year has certainly brought difficulties, we still believe there’s a lot to celebrate and what better way than amongst friends. Sure, there will be stalls covering the serious stuff like security and DevOps but to us, that stuff is fun too. It’s all a matter of perspective, and from our view, ‘tis still the season to be jolly. 

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