Company Retreat to Japan

Team O8 Tokyo on the Sumida River

Company Retreat to a Foreign Destination

As a CEO, I know that sharing part of who I am is crucial to company culture. Well, the fact that I've been going to Tokyo every year for the past 12 years is part of that, as is the fact that I speak seven languages and treasure other cultures. This year I decided to share this facet of me with a few team members who I work with on a daily basis at the office.


Challenges of A Distributed Team

A significant portion of our team is located at the headquarters office in Minneapolis. An equally significant portion is located elsewhere in the world, and even remotely here in Minneapolis. Some are US citizen employees, some local contractors, foreign contractors, and foreign employees. I chose to pick a few of the battle-tested team members that are with me on the ground, at the office.


Experiences in Tokyo

Day 1: Arrival

Long flight from LAX, where we stopped to visit a client. Checked in to our AirBnB. Japanese-style with tatami mats. Sampled the local legendary Suntori whiskey.

Day 2: Time to get to WeWork!

Turns out it was a national holiday in Japan, so with the help of my passable Japanese and a nice security guard we got the WeWork pretty much to ourselves. Stunning views! One of about 12 WeWork locations in Tokyo. Nice lunch.

Day 3: Another WeWork, snacks, wandering around Tokyo!

Day #4 onwards

We kept busy, experiencing new things, balancing WeWork with karaoke, mountain villages, amazing food, yukatas, and general amazingness. 


This was an invaluable bonding experience. When taking a trip like this, you become closer to family than co-workers. No end-of-year bonus, no cute company perk can match what this brings to the team, to the culture, to the company. 




Why We Started This Blog

Travel and work hard

We have team members in Minnesota and all across the world. I love to travel, but I'm definitely not the only one. Many of our team members do, too. Some are quite nomadic, and they work while traveling. I love to travel while I work -- it's called "work-life harmony" as Jeff Bezos put it, more than "work-life balance." I think harmony is the greater ideal to strive for. A perfectly capped 9-to-5 job that negatively impacts your personal life is much worse than a flexible job where you might catch up on work on the weekends once in a while, but it doesn't interfere with your personal life, and keeps you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially balanced.

We tend to learn things while traveling: how to work together in a distributed and remote manner, how to follow our dreams, why our dreams are important, how to keep company culture alive when you're in the office vs when you're on the other end of the line and working remotely while traveling. 

Also, the world is just plain amazing. Let's share how to navigate a French supermarket, how to make sense of the crazy-yet-sane Tokyo metro, and maybe snap some pics and share videos that help us learn about each other, and help our clients (current and prospective) learn about us as a humans, as individuals, with diverse interests and personalities. 

Cheers to a happy start of sharing, caring, traveling, learning, discovering, while living the digital nomad life!


What does this even do?