AGConf: Adventures on the high seas
by Sarah Brown on
One of the challenges as a remote company is that we’re scattered all across the world, which makes it difficult to meet in person. That’s why all of us at 1Password eagerly look forward to our annual meetup, AGConf, which is held each winter on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.
We met up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Many of us were escaping cold and snow back home, and what better way to soak up the sun than to spend a week aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas — with stops in Nassau, Haiti, and Jamaica?
With people coming in from overseas, one even as far as New Zealand, a lot of folks like to get to Florida a day early. It helps them adjust to the time zone and get a good night’s sleep on land before venturing onto the boat.
One group met up to get dinner and drinks at a tiki bar, another group went out in search of excellent Cuban sandwiches, and a lot of people just hung out in small groups in their hotel lobbies. It was a great way to meet up with old friends, and for the newbies to ease into the madness before it kicked up a notch the next day.
Since I only joined 1Password last August, this was my first AGConf, and I was very excited to meet people in person and put faces to the names I’d been talking to over Slack for months. And while it may have been my first meetup, it was clear from looking at last year’s photos just how much we’d grown since AGConf!
There were so many of us that we took over a large portion of the top deck when we gathered there after boarding. We all wore our 1Password shirts so it was easy to spot everyone. As the ship pulled away from the port, we spread out on lounge chairs to chat, grabbed drinks at the bar, and snagged hugs from friends old and new.
After everyone had found their way to the group, we gathered together to take our first full team photo on the ship’s helipad, crowding together to fit everyone in the frame.
While we were all excited to hop off the ship and explore the various ports, our first priority was still you, our customers. Every morning after breakfast, a number of ‘Bits would gather together in the dining room to get you the answers you were looking for. It was fun to just yell our questions across the room and get a response from the right team. We were able to mingle across teams, learning more about the different parts of our company.
Some days at sea were also spent in the dining room, splitting time between responding to customers and listening to some inspirational and informative talks. We heard from our CEO Jeff Shiner, founders Dave and Sara, and of course our head of security Jeff Goldberg. We celebrated our successes from 2018 and discussed what’s on the horizon for 2019. We even recorded an episode of Random but Memorable right there on the ship! It was encouraging and exciting to hear about the great stuff we have planned and what we’ll be doing to reach our goals.
When we’d wrap up with work for the day, there were plenty of other adventures to be had. We got dressed in our fanciest clothes for formal night. There were quite a few ‘Bits that discovered a love – and talent – for karaoke, hitting up the open mic sessions nearly every time they were available. Quite a few people brought games, and we spent some late nights in an empty conference room playing Resistance, Unstable Unicorns, Codewords, and more. No matter where you found yourself, there was sure to be plenty of laughter.
Sara and Maria also managed to book us time in the onboard escape room and laser tag area, which were both huge hits. In the escape room on the top deck, ‘Bits worked together to solve puzzles and beat the clock to break free. Meanwhile, on the bottom deck, a group of us battled hard at laser tag, creeping around the course and trying to catch the opposing team off-guard.
Itching for some sun after a few months of northern winter, I was hoping to spend some time wandering Nassau and Jamaica, soaking up the sun. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans for us. Both days in port ended in sudden downpours, drenching everyone who ventured off the ship.
However, luck was our side when we got to Labadee, Haiti! It was sunny and the temperature was perfect, which worked out great as this was our beach day. We grabbed fancy coconut and pineapple drinks before settling into cabanas, just steps away from crystal blue water. It was a wonderfully fun and relaxing day.
While in Labadee, some of the more adventurous ‘Bits headed out to zipline down the mountain and out across the water. I prefer to keep my feet firmly on solid ground, but it’s clear from this video that those who were brave enough had a spectacular view and an incredible time.
All too soon, the week came to a close and it was time for us to say goodbye. We met up in the same room we had our welcome party in, but this time there was more mingling, more laughter, and more inside jokes. After a week of sharing karaoke, games, support requests, and rain-soaked adventures, we’d bonded, and I was a little sad to be heading home the next day. Sara, Dave, Jeff, and Roustem all stood up and said a few words, thanking us for our work and sharing in the fun we’d had all week.