How we celebrated 10 years of Aha! in Hawai‘i
"Your team is so lucky." We heard this more than a few times when we shared the destination for our latest company "onsite." True, it is a privilege to travel to beautiful places as a team twice per year. And we are fortunate to keep doing so after a decade of business. But this is not by chance — we work hard to keep building on our success. And we believe that big achievements deserve big celebrations.
In 2023, we reached an important milestone of 10 years as a company — so we came together on the Big Island of Hawai‘i to commemorate it.
When we started to plan over a year ago, we knew we wanted this onsite to be special. Choosing a location like Hawai‘i certainly helps. The entire team was excited (especially locals Mark and Tahlia, who could finally attend an onsite close to home).
But coordinating anything with a large group of people is challenging. A globally distributed team and a tough year added complexity. Plus, we were celebrating a big company milestone, meaning expectations were high. How could we make the onsite memorable?
For us, planning a 10th anniversary celebration meant taking extra care to honor our values.
At each onsite, we are mindful about doing things differently. We respect the environment and communities surrounding the places we visit — striving to make a positive impact wherever we go. We minimize waste, prioritize the safety of our team, and get meaningful work done.
We are also intentional about team fun. It is always a delight to reconnect in person. This time, we wanted to build even more opportunities for joy — so everyone would feel relaxed and reenergized heading into the new year. And it was a resounding success: The team rated it 9.8 out of 10 in our post-event survey.
Many remote organizations hold companywide gatherings like we do. So we wanted to share a few of the things that made ours particularly special. Hopefully these will inspire your next meetup or celebration:
"Success" was not part of our original onsite motto, but every onsite is made possible by our successful, high-achieving team. United around a shared purpose, we have built a profitable business and celebrate our achievements year-round — especially during onsites.
In Hawai‘i, we shared #hatitude (words of gratitude) for each other and acknowledged exceptional individual contributions from the second half of last year. We even surprised co-founders Brian de Haaff and Dr. Chris Waters with their own special #hatitude to honor a decade of success. Celebrating shared wins helps us connect more deeply to what we are building and sparks a deeper sense of togetherness.
In-person planning meetings strengthen our strategy. This is a key element of our onsites. Each one marks the official kickoff to the next half — where we discuss goals for the upcoming months, demo exciting new features, and get a jumpstart on team planning. As we look ahead to our next 10 years as a company, we are thinking bigger and are energized to deliver weekly enhancements to customers.
"Wahoo-Aha!" Exclamations like these and genuine smiles are the best parts of our volunteer activities. As part of Aha! Cares, we help out local nonprofits at every onsite. That way, we can make a big impact for those who need it most — especially in small communities like the Big Island. Together we prepared farmland, cleared accessible walking trails, and packed supply kits, among other projects. At the end of the week, each volunteer group shared their experiences.
We dedicated a large portion of the week to enjoying the beauty of Hawai‘i — eschewing our typical book discussion so we could spend more time together in nature. From snorkeling to coffee roasting, we organized group activities that everyone could enjoy. And a more open schedule meant folks could grab a shave ice, explore nearby lava tubes, and spot sea turtles in between meetings.
This onsite was highly lovable — a fitting celebration of our past and future as a team.
As we dive into 2024, we are endlessly grateful for the efforts of our People Success team and everyone else who helped make this celebration truly one of a kind. And if you are curious to see what our onsites are really like, consider joining us for the next one. Our team is growing.
Our team is happy, remote, and hiring — join us.