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Diaries Of Our Startup Retreat

FYI, being the author of this lengthy piece, you can guess that I’m the brogrammer of the group. You know, the guy who steps in when discussions are around how we’ll manage billing, whose commits are usually on the readme file and who gives clueless thoughts about design. Let’s face it, in this pre-launch state: I’m pretty useless. So while the true warriors hacked the night away, I worked on the business side of things, cooked ramen and kept the place clean. Bottom line, I was the bitch… and I’m fine with it.

DAY 1, Friday— 13:18, It’s a go.

Macbooks are plugged. The iMac is hooked to the sound system with Rdio blasting Parov Stellar.We’re all set and ready to start building.

— 13:21, Damn. We don’t have coffee.

Truth is Tristan & I cheaped out on coffee at the grocery store under the assumption that we should wait to see what kind of coffee maker was at the cottage before we start to equip ourselves for it.

So we sent our tactical team, Etienne & Tristan, to retrieve the caffeinated beans while Rafaël was finishing some code for another project he had written in the car during the entire trip to the cottage. (Fun fact: he is immune to getting car sick)

Meanwhile, I managed to cook our first lunch: ramen noodles (!).

— 13:45, okay now we’re on!

While eating our soggy ramen in the kitchen, we planned on what we should aim to accomplish by the end of the retreat.Which is really to say how much can be done until Sunday 5pm.

We concluded that it would be nearly impossible to ship it as a whole. So we settled on building the whole workflow. Instead of polishing one aspect, We’d build a stripped-out version of the whole product.

— 20:04, dinner time.

Time for the bitches to make food for the gods (aka the developers). So Tristan and I proceeded to cook frozen pizza and combined a pack of pre-washed baby spinach along with some sort of dressing and called it a salad.

— 21:30, “gimme a redbull.”

IMO Tristan jumped the gun on this one. Redbull already? Turns out, it was a smart move since he was still fired up at 3am.

— 00:19, “… I’m going to bed”

Raf had been “plugged in” since dinner— or whatever the term coined in ‘The Social Network’ is — when he decided he had enough and called it a day… Well, attempted to call it a day since his interrogation about Stripe sparked an hour long ramble.

Next thing you know Raf, Etienne & I are sitting on the couch looking over Raf’s screen trying every possible scenarios using Stripe’s test mode. Turns out, you can do pretty awesome things with it, kudos Stripe!

Raf, still up, then spun the conversation to how we should legally structure the company. Like, you know, the incorporation and all other things we usually push to lawyers & accountants.

We decided it we should put all this to a halt since A) its 2am and B) we all know enough about tax law to know that we actually don’t have a clue about it.

— 02:20, “ok, I’m really going to bed”

Raf is out. Rdio is out. Etienne is in the zone. Tristan is killing it, printing layouts like a Xerox machine. I’m done with tweaking emails, I’m now writing this post.

Truth be told, it was fun to stick around plus writing a blog post is the best way to bang on your keyboard at a fast past which usually insinuates that you are actually working.

— 03:00, it’s getting late

Etienne: “You should align it vertically.”

Tristan: “]Sorry man, I can’t see straight anymore.”

— 04:03, “git commit”

Turns out my terminal was poorly set up. Etienne came to the rescue to put it together. What was supposed to take a couple minutes took a good half hour to set up properly. Dump rvm, bring in rbenv. You know the drill.

I did earn the last commit of the day with a very clever tweak to the Readme file. Okay fair enough, I wrote random and useless stuff in there.

— 04:23, We’re out.

DAY 2, Saturday— 09:30, back at it.

I was the first up and with all the care I put into being quiet, the guys we’re all up within about a minute.

— 11:30, I’ll run on it.

I wanted to discuss pricing with the guys but did not want them to waste time on it since building the damn thing is way more important than deliberating half an hour on using 9’s or 0’s as part of our pricing strategy.

Nonetheless, I wanted to chat ballpark pricing figure with the guys during a ‘off’ moment.

The window of opportunity appeared during our breakfast/lunch. After a couple back and forth and philosophical views on perceived value we narrowed it down to a couple options.

In these situation, there’s nothing better than running on it. So I went for a run by the river. Actually, I didn’t think of pricing at all, it was too painful for that. To my defence, it was my first long run in a while.

It helped me clear my head though. I picked the pricing option in a split second while I was turning the knob and walking in the cottage. Still breathing heavily, I walked in and told them my final thoughts on pricing: set the price and discount the annual pricing for the closed beta so that we’ll have a safety net for the launch.

— 16:45 Louis CK

“If you do something and people think you’re stupid, just go for crazy. You get more respect that way because nobody likes stupid people.” — Louis CK

— The warrior’s feast

— 02:00, the fellowship.

Okay, shit got epic. The guys have always been fond of the Lord of The Rings — Go figure — and one of their ritual is to watch the whole trilogy during retreats. Since there was no time for that, the next best thing was to blast the soundtrack from The Hobbit.

Trust me, combined with dimmed lights and backlit keyboards and glowing faces, it was epic.

Full disclosure: I hate the hobbits, the weirdo who always try to steal the ring and the creepy Dumbledore. I only pretend to like it so the guys will like me.


DAY 3, Sunday
— 10:00, the last stretch.

Again I was the first one up. Blame it on my athlete schedule or my small bladder.

I brewed our last batch of coffee and we all got back to work… albeit at a much lower pace.

At this point things it felt like we have something. The signup is set up, the athlete site is pretty much finished and the dashboard is looking great.

— 13:00, Pavel!

Raf needed to test various scenarios involving socials accounts: we needed a test dummy.

Păvel Dátszyt was born. Not to be mistaken with Pavel Datsyuk, this Pavel is Bulgarian. Born in 1976, he’s a 4 time Olympian in decathlon. He loves paintings, birds, sofa textures and hashtags. He’s obviously the product of the imagination of four sleep deprivated and over-caffeinated guys.

We like Pavel. So should you. You should follow him on twitter and instagram. He’s big in Bulgaria.

— 16:55, it’s a wrap.

After 53 hours, we’re heading back to our normal lives.

@AntoineMeunier, Athlete & Co-founder

P.S.: To all grammar freaks, my apologies. I totally got lost in the present/past tenses in there. I got all messed up. Hopefully, nobody got dizzy.

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