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Week 745

This week was a special one at Newfangled as we welcomed the guys from our Rhode Island office, who visited for a few days around our annual winter retreat (Jim arrived on Monday morning and worked with us for the entire week; Steve and Justin arrived on Wednesday). Aside from the retreat, we marked Jillian’s 1-year anniversary at Newfangled, Bettina’s birthday, and Katie’s promotion to Director of Client Services…

Mark and I began Monday by checking in on a few promising sales leads, then driving out to meet with Eric in person for our weekly management meeting. Eric and his wife are back in town house-hunting, so we were able to grab some face time with him in between appointments. After our meeting, Mark hopped a plane to New England to meet with a new (to us) agency and I headed back to the office to find Jim settled in to his temporary workspace.

On Tuesday, we had a quick meeting with our mobile team to review how each piece of the project is progressing. Katie is managing this project–as she did with the redesign–and set up a schedule for the remaining work. I published our February newsletter, the second part of our series on How a Website is Built, mid-morning (check it out here if you haven’t already). Shortly after that, the entire team walked over to Carrburrito’s to celebrate Bettina’s birthday.

This is the only picture I took at the retreat!
Pictured are, from left, Jim, Katie’s hands, Mark, Justin, Jason, Nolan, and Brian.

Thursday was dedicated to our one-day winter retreat. We spent a normal morning in the office and then all headed out for lunch together at La Cocina in Mebane where I’m pretty sure we depleted their shrimp reserves (almost everyone ordered the Shrimp El Diablo dish). After lunch, we regrouped at a small conference center nearby. Mark opened the session by talking about different learning styles and how to identify your own, followed by my talk on hyperity, a presentation from Brian on our site’s analytics data, and then a rundown of some “what’s new at Newfangled” stuff which included announcing Katie’s promotion to Director of Client Services. We closed by spending some time looking at our mobile strategy and talking about the ideas and technology that will shape it in the next year.

Once we finished up our “business” agenda, we moved out to the porch and enjoyed some hang-out time together over Mark’s wonderful grilled pizza. As it got darker, we gathered around a massive fireplace, melted some beer bottles in it, and did some stargazing guided by Jim. Some highlights included Jim pointing out the international space station, an orbiting satellite, and Mars, as well as telling a few captivating stories about a piece of rock art depicting a supernova in 1006 and a star that is mysteriously blocked from view every 26 years by an unknown body (perhaps a dust cloud–he’ll have to chime in to clarify this one).

We said goodbye to the Rhode Island guys on Friday morning, though not before sharing some breakfast and a stimulating conversation with Justin in our office lounge about the conflicts between marketing and humanity (inspired by this transcribed conversation about the Analog Human and The Digital Machine). A couple of hours later, ten of us crowded on to the bus and headed into Chapel Hill to have lunch at Buns to mark Jillian’s 1-year anniversary at Newfangled–I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year!

The remainder of the day included a few highlights: an ongoing conversation about ChatRoulette, my continued awe at the high level of conversation around my post on human enslavement to technology, and the unexpected death of my robot watch 🙁

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