We know we don’t nearly showcase the team and the action behind the scenes in and around our company enough. Who’re the people who power our email marketing service, the heads that man different departments that make it a well oiled machine, and of course the man at the helm of it all?
But taking a bit departure from it, today, we’re going to talk about our first organized physical meetup for the heads of departments at Hustler Marketing that happened a couple of weeks ago.
Being a 100% remote company, most of us joined Hustler remotely – we interviewed online, got selected online, trained online, and worked online. Zoom and Slack of course have been our constants. Just two members out of the 6 had actually met each other offline back in the day when Hustler Marketing took shape from the “Hustle House” in Barcelona. So we decided to change all that. We’d been planning for a yearly meetup all along, but due to Covid travel restrictions, we bided our time till it was safe and protocol-okay and nail down a travel plan that worked for all six of us. And finally in November, it materialised, right before the Black Friday madness kicked in on our service floors. We decided to have our first heads meetup in Istanbul, Turkey, a confluence of Asia and Europe, a city symbolic of the Asian and European makeup of our own heads’ team.
However, we aren’t completely out of the Covid woods yet and that meant some countries still have a strict control on vaccination requirements and international movement so we had to miss Olin, our head of HR and Apporv, our newly minted head of sales. But the 5 of us who could did, and traveled to Istanbul in November. And thus we – Akos (Head of Service), Lachezar (CFO), Benjamin (Head of Sales), Bostjan (CEO and founder) and yours truly (Head of Marketing) met each other for the first time after over a year of Zoom calls, emails and Slack messages.
Simultaneously, a lot of our other team mates too traveled to other countries/cities and met with a colleague or several over the year due to a new company wide “travel bonus” that was awarded to everyone to connect with at least one fellow Hustler. But the one in Istanbul was the first organized group meet up that was planned for a work + leisure trip. We took the opportunity to get into a closed room together and put our heads together to chalk out our strategy for growth for the year ahead. We’ve done similar sessions in the past but this time it was all about doing it in real life, over some coffee and cookies in a hotel conference room in Istanbul.
Every morning for four days, we got together in a room and discussed exciting new initiatives and opportunities for our company to not only continue but ramp up on our email marketing service, grow SMS marketing. These war rooms gave shape and meaning to a whole lot of other new projects and possibilities that would help us not only scale as a retention marketing agency but also take the experience of working with us for our clients to the next level.
Once the war rooms ended, it was all roaming around like tourists, getting Turkish tea, Kebab lunches, and walking tours in the beautiful city of Istanbul. We even hired a private yacht and sailed around the Bosphorus! In this regard, the meetup also paved the way for us to bond and connect with one another at a deeper level, share jokes and personal life stories, and at the end of it, go back a little more close knit as a company than ever.
“Sure, it’s nice to talk biz, and plan, and argue and brainstorm on the best potential growth path. And how to try to double our revenue for the 5th year in a row… But it’s also about trust. About how direct we allow ourselves to be when we communicate. How much we hold each other accountable to the highest possible standards. ”, said Bostjan after our first day of the strategy war room.
Given the beautiful experience, we also toyed with the idea of organizing a company-wide meetup in the next year, provided Covid restrictions ease out completely by then. Fortunately, we’re in a financial position to pull that off too, so watch this space for more.
All in all, it was an intense and magical five days and and it cemented my belief in my company and the fact that it’s in solid hands to continue growing and prospering, and delighting our clients, partners and teammates alike.