Celebrating 15 Years by Looking Forward
Viget was incorporated in December of 1999. It was the spring of 2000, though, that we hiked in the foothills of the Rockies around Boulder, Colorado (where I lived at the time) and talked about the kind of company Viget could be.
The following week, I moved back home to the Washington, D.C. area to dive into Viget full-time. The only thing I cared about more than the business was my not-yet-wife Adena. Luckily, she was supportive (literally, paying the rent in those dark early years) and I promised we’d make it back to Colorado someday in some form.
It took 10 years, but in 2010 we opened our Boulder office. That year, Viget also celebrated our 10-year anniversary by upgrading the Viget birthday party from a nice dinner (which we’d done for the first decade) to an overnight event. Each of the past 4 years that overnight was more epic than the last; but, my dream was always to take everyone to the great state of Colorado for an authentic Rocky Mountain experience.
Last weekend, we did.
We started by recreating that original Viget photo in front of Boulder’s famous Flatirons. Then, we enjoyed the scenic drive up to C Lazy U, a horse ranch founded 80 years before Viget way back in 1919. The setting was breathtaking.
It’s hard to overstate how magical the weekend was, with seemingly every moment memorable. Some highlights:
The animated “Dear Brian & Andy” video the team surprised us with Thursday evening, which had me laughing harder than I have in years.
It’s full of inside jokes; but, if you're interested, here you go:
Andy, my co-founder / brother / resident gadget guy, got to show off his piloting skills with our new drone.
Climbing to 400 feet, the footage it captured, which we’ll share in an event video in the coming weeks, was outstanding.
The optional activities on the ranch -- hiking, biking, fishing, etc. -- were all great ways to spend casual time as a team while enjoying the beauty of Colorado.
Organized activities, most notably riding one of the ranch’s 180 horses along trails with breathtaking mountain views, were a blast as well.
It wasn’t all play, though, and throughout the weekend we worked to make Viget better. Work time included prepared talks, workshops, breakout discussions, and lots of Q&A. Topics included project process improvements, some proactive new business efforts, our emerging hardware initiative, and higher-level talks on things like culture, empathy, and company vision. Many commented that it felt like our own private conference, and, thanks to the hard work of everyone who prepped like it was, I’d agree.
Friday night was the opportunity to keep our “fancy” dinner tradition, and the Viget family did not disappoint. Chris Jones, developer by day, dapper pianist by night, played a spectacular set during the cocktail hour.
Dinner was capped by a bit of Viget history, where I shared a story of how Pop inspired us to be the company we are today.
Soon after, toasts celebrating the ten people who will celebrate their 5-year anniversary at Viget in 2015 were heartwarming and hilarious.
I then toasted Patrick and Cindy, who will hit 15 years this year -- that’s longevity.
As if the “Dear Brian & Andy” video wasn’t enough, the team continued what I hope will become a new annual tradition: an oil painting of Andy and me, this time recreating the epic journey of Lewis & Clark. Well done.
After dinner, Andy snuck away to dress up to play the host of Viget Feud, featuring the Orange Team pitted against the Blue Team, complete with a custom-made buzzer.
Fabulous prizes went to the Blue team this year, and there was much rejoicing.
… and much sadness.
Nothing that some good times in the photo booth couldn't cure.
On Saturday, lunch was held at a scenic overlook, complete with snowcapped mountains in the distance.
It was also perfect spot for a photo from the drone, AKA the world's longest selfie stick.
This led right into our ten-team decathlon featuring events such as the hatchet toss, archery, and ziplining.
Somehow, my stacked team didn’t win the contest; but, we did get the best scenery for the team photo.
While basketball isn’t officially a mountain sport and few of us are particularly good, we couldn’t resist forming teams like Always Be Ballin', Durham Dribbblers, and Nothing but (Inter)Net for a 12-team 3-on-3 tournament. Somehow the months of trash talk leading up to the event gave way to simply trying to catch our breath in the high mountain air.
In the end, team Barnstormers took home the 3D-printed NCAA replica trophy for 2015.
Our more casual dinner eased into impromptu toasts which led to much laughter and even a few tears.
Tears and laughter gave way to singing and dancing at the talent show portion of the evening. That moment when you realize someone you’ve worked with for years has a riveting talent that you never imagined -- that’s a good moment. As an audience member, I would like to thank the parents of the Viget team for insisting on all those music lessons all those years ago! What a show.
Throughout the weekend, there was a palpable sense of appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to spend time with not just good co-workers, but good friends, in such a beautiful setting. We couldn’t do it without all the work from the Viget alumni who helped get us here and, of course, our wonderful clients who have trusted and supported us all these years.
I closed the weekend by trying to articulate why, 15 years in, my hope is to keep this job for another 30 years. Thinking back on the weekend now, I’d say that might not be long enough.