What happens when you lock a group of content marketers, graphic designers, developers, and project managers in a building for 24 hours? Amazing things!
Last month, the entire Big Sea team came together for our annual team-building Ship It Day to plan, build and launch passion projects we simply don’t have time for during regular work hours. With a goal of “shipping” as many projects as possible, we worked on nothing else for 24 hours. (Don’t worry–we let our clients know ahead of time. And because our clients are awesome, many of them sent back notes of encouragement. Thanks!)
Back it up a second. What is Ship It Day?
So glad you asked. Ship It Day is an opportunity for the team to focus on non-client, passion projects individually, in small teams, or together on the whole. It can be a website, a mobile app, a podcast, an art installation or even an arcade game for the office! (Stay tuned for that!)
Here’s what we planned to accomplish
Ship It Day is all about goal-setting, teamwork and project management. To make sure we could accomplish everything we wanted to, we laid out all of our projects and created our teams well in advance of Thursday’s Ship It Day kickoff. What was on the docket? Here’s just a sample:
- Update and relaunch of our passion project, The Brewery Bay
- A Big Sea card game
- Daily fitness challenge app
- A Sonos / Slack integration
- 2 podcasts launched; plus new Big Sea “Fast Five” mini-sodes
- A streamlined marketing reporting process
- 3 video projects
- An office fish tank
- A custom Big Sea arcade (MAME) cabinet
- An art installation featuring contributions from every team member
Day One: It begins!
We broke into teams and laid out our plans for success. Site maps were drawn, podcasts were outlined, a game of cards ensued–for research purposes. We even busted out the table saw.
Geoff scored an early victory with his Sonos Slack integration. Now the team could skip to the next track (albeit with a slight amount of public shaming), view the current track, pause the music and start it back up again. He even coded in a few “inside joke” Easter eggs for the team, some of which are still being discovered days later.
Chris and Daryn set to work revamping one of our beloved side projects, The Brewery Bay. Chris’ goal was a blog migration from Expression Engine to the much more content team-friendly WordPress. Joline and Autumn assisted in migrating over the content once the new site was ready. Daryn tackled Brewery Bay’s mobile experience.
Kristen and Joline dove into their project with a trip to the pet store! They set up a lovely home for our new friend, made sure his environment met all the necessary conditions, and polled the team to find the perfect name.
Meanwhile, Autumn and Maria got salty in the podcast studio recording episodes of their new podcast, Sour Beer and Salty Women. They discussed feminism, marketing, and what happens when the two collide. They also sampled and reviewed sour beers in each episode. Andi and Rich pitched in to design their brand elements and create a simple website for their show.
Thomas, Dzuy, Kristen, Kevin F. (aka KFab) measured twice and cut once as they began construction of the Big Sea Arcade Game Cabinet. On Day one, this project seemed like a sleeper. A big, wooden box. But hold that thought …
Seeing the projects from Ship It Day is a great reminder that together we are pretty fucking amazing.
Megan, Geoff, Joline, and Ashley designed a fitness challenge for the entire team. After developing the basic premise and mechanics for the challenge, they created wireframes for Geoff to make it happen. Stay tuned for the fittest agency you’ve ever seen.
Have you ever played Exploding Kittens? Kevin S., Chris, Daryn, and Kristen mapped out the mechanics for a Big Sea version. Once they had their game plan down, Kevin got to work drawing the cards. Lots and lots (and lots!) of cards.
Adam and Maria chose to give back to a worthy cause. They wrote, designed and developed a website for Ryan’s Club — a local non-profit that offers comprehensive after-school CrossFit and mentorship programs for at-risk youth in the St. Pete community.
Adriana and Kevin explored the unknown depths of Big Sea with a new website project, Beneath the Surface. It features in-depth interviews with the Big Sea gang so our fans get to know “the real” us.
Kristen and Ashley busted out paints and paintbrushes and instructed each of us to paint a piece of wood for the group art installation. Each team member found time over the next 24 hours to complete their piece.
Andi recorded several videos of the team for our Good Burger award nominations (yes, we’re up for a Good Burger award this year and you can vote here).
Coffee and beer flowed. Pizza, breakfast cereal, and cookies kept our engines firing. At some point the ping-pong table came out of retirement. We wrote, coded, planned, talked, recorded, painted, and laughed until the wee hours of the morning.
What happens after dark… is all on camera
There are always a few hardcore Big Sea folks who actually stay all night. This year it was Dzuy, Chris and Daryn. Here’s what 24 hours of Big Sea looks like …
Day Two: Crunch time!
We hit the ground running… or stumbling, depending on how much sleep we got. Cold brew and cold pizza, anyone? Or perhaps a bowl of your preferred breakfast cereal?
Big Sean survived his first night! (And there was much rejoicing.) More podcasts, more coding, more painting and hammering and installing. Ship It Day is sort of like one of those cooking competition shows. When the bell rings, put your knives down and step away. 24 hours seemed like forever, but it went by in a blink.
We end Ship It Day the same way we start it: as a team. And with a catered lunch. After we ate, it was time for the final piece of Ship It Day: group presentations. We shared our work and discussed our goals, what we accomplished, what was left undone, and what our plans were to finish.
It’s easy to take for granted the level of talent and creativity in our group during our normal workweek. We regularly turn to each other for help solving problems, dreaming up the big idea, finding the right words to connect with an audience. But, seeing the projects from Ship It Day is a great reminder that together we are pretty fucking amazing.
Who won? And where is all this great stuff?
Thomas, Dzuy and KFab emerged victorious when the voting closed. Everyone created awesome projects, but the video game arcade cabinet took us back to our childhoods and delivered a new, one-of-kind work distraction. Plus, you can’t compete with this custom artwork.
While some of our projects were internal, others will be public. Keep an eye out for big changes at Big Sea, including big updates and Easter eggs straight from Ship It Day 2017. Until next year!