This last week, the whole of Zao converged on the beautiful city of Portland Oregon for a 5 day meetup extravaganza. Being that Zao only has 5 members, this may not sound that impressive, but Zao has a particular value, Family, which meant this was not your typical company meetup.
We had every member of each family in Zao together for those 5 days in a large home near downtown Portland. This includes Mihai and his wife Roxana (who made a trans-continental journey from Romania!), Me, my wife Meagan and our 3 kiddos (cross-country from North Carolina), Liz and her husband, Marcus, and their 2 children, and Justin and Melissa and their 4 children. If you’re counting along, That’s 17 people under one roof!
While a meetup like this has the potential to quickly become a disaster, we found it to be the exact opposite (despite the fact that the adults were outnumbered by young children, and the event wasn’t without a certain level of “crazy”). So much of our work is reflected in our families, and vice-versa. We were able to spend time with each other’s families, and to see the similarities as well as differences, and to gain an understanding of what makes each of us “tick”.
There is simply no replacement for in-person meetups, where we can put a face to a name (or slack avatar) for each employee, and their spouses and children. Having this meetup was an incredible way to confirm our core value of “family”, both by ensuring our families were involved, but also by confirming the abstract notion of Zao as an extended family. This may not be the quickest or recommended way to corporate/financial “success”, but for Zao, we wouldn’t want it any other way.