From July 15-20th, the majority of the AKASHA team met in Switzerland for an epic retreat to discuss next steps, and to plan the AKASHA Reloaded rollout strategy. 🚀
Unfortunately, we couldn't be joined by Andrey, Josh, or Mariana, and so we made sure that we took plenty of photos, and toasted to their good health as often as possible. 🍻
The plans made on the Retreat will carry us from now until the end of the year... so it was kind of a big deal! 😅
As a distributed team, it's quite a rare thing for even a few of us to find ourselves in the same location. To mark this momentous occasion, we thought we'd give you a quick anatomy of the AKASHA Retreat, complementing this with a cross-section of team members’ views, in order to give you a flavor of what the AKASHA Team will be up to in the coming months. Our thorough and exciting schedule had been rigorously put together by Retreat-organizer extraordinare, Roxana, and so we were all brimming with excitement at what the following days were going to bring... 🤩
The journey started off with a fascinating 3.5-hour bus journey discussing the value of #LibreNotLibra and the general concern around Project Libra as a "blockchain" initiative. Driving a large coach up the mountains towards Verbier brought some hilarious reactions from the group, with some laughing, and others preferring to close their eyes and hope for the best (not looking at you, Anderson, our resident skydiver.) ✈️
Get to Know Each Other Monday 💥🤝💥
Arriving at the amazing location, No. 14, we were greeted by the wonderful house staff, Chris and Lauren. Soon after we were standing on the veranda with a drink and launching a drone into the air to capture some great footage of the team. A quick dip in the hot tub and then we then got into the nitty gritty of getting to know each other - three challenging questions were on the agenda for each of us:
1) If you could do something that you were guaranteed not to fail at, what would it be? 🤔
2) If you could choose to either have the ability to speak to animals or be able to speak multiple languages, which would you choose? 🐇
3) If you could extend your day by an extra hour to do something you really wanted to do, what would it be? ⌛
“Taking a pragmatic approach as always - my answers were as follows:
1) Sing - being Irish it is always assumed that I can sing - I can't - I sound like a foghorn.
2) Languages - never something I've mastered so that would be a treat!
3) Reading - since technology has taken over and instant gratification is required by reading articles and Twitter, I miss good, old-fashioned books.
Once done, we retreated (see what I did there) to the dining room for a wonderful dinner and continuation of our discussions from the questions raised. After dinner the evening continued to the pool where we plunged further into conversation for the rest of the night. Objective achieved - we got to know each other and had a wonderful time in the process.” — Kevin
Reloaded Tuesday 👩🚀🚀👨🚀
On Tuesday we took to the whiteboards and laptops to present and ask questions about AKASHA Reloaded. This session involved defining objectives, working out our core value proposition, and discussing why exactly we are undertaking this work.
These kinds of conversations usually take place in front of a screen, with headphones in, and so the team relished in the novelty of being able to be physically near to the individuals that they are working with; as discussed in a previous article, there are some amazing benefits to being part of a Remote First team, but once in a while it is of great benefit to interact without having to talk through the medium of technology (aside from digital presentation tools and a whacking great TV.) 📺
“Tuesday marked the first official working day of the retreat. In the morning we had a really nice intro session from Mihai and Roxana. In the afternoon I presented and hosted a discussion in which I highlighted the pros and cons of DIDs.” - Andrei
BUIDL Wednesday 👷♀️🏗️👷♂️
On Wednesday, the Dev Team took over to talk about the current status of the different products that they are working on, before we moved on to a session all about segmenting and looking at the needs of different users. The day also contained a talk about how we organize ourselves, and the tools that we use. 🧰⚒️
“We had the dev team presentation, introducing the rest of the team to the architecture of what we are trying to build, arriving at a common understanding of the naming conventions and functionality ... then starting from ‘why are we doing this?’ we arrived at the necessity to build while keeping early adopters in mind, for this, we started to develop personas (user profiles), focusing on a number of questions on how they would relate to our product” - Vali
Outdoor Thursday 🚵♂️🏔️🚵♀️
After all those pens and whiteboards, it was time for something a bit more scenic. We took e-bikes out for a spin and spent 6 hours exploring the area.
"We had a really fun e-biking day in Verbier, going up and enjoy the amazing views of the Dents, Grand Combin, and Mont Blanc massif" - Roxana
The sights and sounds of Verbier are particularly popular, as it hosts the world's largest e-bike festival! Once we were up high enough, we got the drone up again to get a fantastic, scenic shot. 📷
"We passed through forests, green fields, tunnels and small streams, involved in that vibrant Swiss summer mood. Fresh air, nature and silence. Drowned in peacefulness. We admired the landscape from above. We then went downhill. Only some of us left the brakes for more than a second (once more you can tell we are not used to be AFK).
We had lunch in a small mountain restaurant and then back to town. Tired but still finding some energy for walking home and keep working on use-case personas for a couple of hours till we could finally 🥂 cheers 🍻 to a good-enough solution. We then surrendered to dinner and to a well deserved pool bath" — Lorenzo
Community Friday ✨👥✨
We took Friday to try and understand our community a bit better, reinforcing the idea that we need to look deeper to find the motivations and wants of the people that we are working towards supporting. This included a conversation about how Hubs fit into our overall strategy, and, in the spirit of community, a wonderful final evening of drinks and dinner. 🥂🍜
“Friday was a day for trying on others’ shoes. We need to understand people who aren’t exactly like us but who will be attracted to our purpose and therefore our work. We need to reflect on what might constitute their worldview, and identify ways in which we can nurture relationships so we can find out for sure first hand.” - Philip
"The Barcelona and Dublin hubs discussed their values and value proposition, and presented what they have been working on, local initiatives, examples of contributions made by members of the community, and their vision for the future.
Then we gathered to celebrate an amazing week spent together in an amazing dinner - followed by lots of fun with the jacuzzi, pool, and video games." — Anderson
Team takeaways ranged from understanding each others’ work better, to gaining a greater sense of what it is we are creating, and how to talk about it.
Here are a select few quotes:
“[We now have] a more focused way of communicating the initiatives of the foundation, both externally and internally”
“I really felt to get for the first time a holistic view of our activities and it felt great to discuss details”
“For me, the biggest takeaway was that I feel we've started to work well as a team, and we know better the goals ahead of us both in terms of development and strategy”
“Everyone understands what are we trying to build and have a clearer idea of terminology … Everyone knows what are our priorities and what should we focus on”
"We all strongly agreed that, current scenario, in particular ref. Libra, alternatives are needed, and we all engaged in building them"
To round this off, we were all asked to sum up AKASHA Reloaded in one word, answers included:
Potent, Progress, Potential, Connecting, Cohesion, Coordinated, Foundational, and Revolutions
The future looks bright, and more well defined… 🚀🙌🚀
The AKASHA Retreat is the most-awaited event in our yearly calendar, and what a Retreat it was; as always we are indebted to our top-tier Retreat-organizer, Roxana for a whole host of exciting and valuable bonding experiences! 🎉🇨🇭
We've returned to our homes and places of work with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose, ready to create something beautiful together. Keep your eyes on our feeds and monthly Newsletter to keep up-to-date with our progress. 📧👀