A Recap of our 2017 Annual All-Hands

Earlier this month, our globally distributed team gathered at Santa Monica HQ for the second annual all-hands week. Our leaders, engineers, and interns live and work in different cities all around the world, from Los Angeles and the Bay Area to Manila, Nairobi, and Lagos. Until last week, some of us had never even met each other in person.

We used this rare quality time together to collaborate on mission and vision, operations and roles, design, product, sales, community, and the future of Reaction Commerce. Here’s how it all went down:

Monday

Communication is one of our core values, which is why Sara kicked off our all-hands week with a personal check-in exercise. This gave everyone a chance to express how they were feeling in a safe, judgement-free zone.

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For the first time ever, we broke bread together as an entire company. What did we have for our first team lunch in Los Angeles? Tacos, of course.

After that, the executive team walked us through our operating model for the next year. Not every organization shares this kind of information with the team, but as a business, we wanted everyone to be on the same page in terms of success. We’re still navigating the tricky waters of “radical transparency,” but as an open source company, we’ll always continue to embrace public iteration whenever we can.

Tuesday

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Photo by @loanlux.

We were up bright and early for October’s action-packed Reaction Action livestream and Q&A. Aaron gave a short-term roadmap update, while Ryan came on air to talk more about our application’s guiding design principles. We also featured a tutorial on how to customize an existing component in our app. In case you missed the livestream, you can check out a recap on our YouTube channel.

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Sara led an hour-long session on culture, mission, and vision. The team reviewed our current branding, as well as last year’s Team Manifesto, discussing what’s been working for us so far, and what hasn’t been.

Establishing accountability and protocol was one of our major objectives for this year’s all-hands, so after lunch, Aaron delved right into engineering roles, operations, and processes.

Wednesday

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As an engineering-first organization, we believe that developers are artists, code is craft. We think that everyone who contributes to our community, including sales and operations, should take pride in their work. On Wednesday, the team put together the Reaction Engineer’s Pledge, a set of tenets that define the way we code, communicate, document, give feedback, and establish accountability. We’ll be sharing what we came up with in a later blog post, but here are a few quick takeaways for now:

“World-class with your tools, world-class at your job.”

“A platform state of mind.”

“It’s okay to say no.”

“Continuous learning, continuous teaching.”

In the afternoon, both Ryan and Jeremy gave product deep dives on design and deployment. Ryan led a UX and UI jam session, while Jeremy showed us how he uses Kubernetes and Docker to launch, test, and scale containers.

Thursday

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Resident deployment expert Jeremy “Savage” Shimko gave a brief demo on the reaction-cli, a command-line tool that allows anyone to deploy Reaction Commerce to multiple environments (if you’re a paid user of Reaction Platform, you can follow along here).

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Occasionally, someone will ask, “If Reaction Commerce is an open source platform, then how does the company make money?” The answer: Neil Patil. In the afternoon, Neil ran a session on sales funnel optimization. We talked about some of our immediate action items, as well as some of our long-term goals. Then, we drank some alcohol.

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Thanks for the beers and brats, CrossCut Ventures!

Friday

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After reflecting on what we took away from this week—as well as how to execute on our learnings—we walked to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier for an all-hands photo opp.

The following week was a little less jam-packed, although many of our remote teammates hung around for some more focused coworking. Some of the highlights included:

  • Continuing to work on vision, mission, and manifesto as a team
  • Mike running a demo on best practices for writing React components in Reaction
  • Announcing our $8.5 million Series A fund, which was covered by Venture Beat, TechCrunch, Fortune, and more
  • We paid a visit to the Hollywood Sign!

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All-hands week is a whirlwind affair, especially for those of us who work remotely. Yet because our face-to-face time together is so rare, that makes every moment we share together all the more meaningful.

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Interested in joining the team? We’re hiring! Learn more about our current job openings.

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