Transloadit team meetup 2022: Reunited at last
A few months have gone by, but – since it was one of the absolute highlights of our year – we would still like to tell you all about our recent company meetup in Berlin!
We can hardly believe it, but five whole years have already gone by since our previous meetup. We got together in Berlin in the summer of 2017 for a few days of fun, hanging out and hacking together. The experience made it evident to all involved how important it is – especially for a fully remote company like Transloadit – to create opportunities to meet each other in person. Something truly changes when Slack avatars suddenly turn into real people.
Solemn plans were thus made for a meetup like this to take place at least every other year. But then things started getting in the way. Tim had a son, Kevin had another daughter, and then Tim welcomed a daughter himself. Fantastic news all around, of course, but not the best time to be leaving home for an extended period of time. On top of that, like everyone else, we were hit by a pandemic that seemed to never end.
Long story short: twelve months turned into many more, but this year, things were finally looking up! And so, preparations went underway for another meetup in the marvelous city of Berlin during the first week of September. As opposed to last meetup, when the team built the still much beloved Golden Retriever plugin for Uppy over the course of a two-day hacking session, this time there would be no work – only play!
Read ahead for an overview of all the highlights of our trip. And if you happen to be not that interested in all of our day-to-days, you can safely stop here – and rest assured that meeting each other in person once more has reinvigorated the team to collaborate on bringing you the finest file uploading and transcoding service that we can think of.
Sunday: planes, trains and automobiles (and also a bus)
Sunday was set aside to travel to Berlin and check into our luxurious accommodations: the Aspria Spa Hotel near the Kurfurstendamm. Even when booking months ahead, it turned out surprisingly difficult to find a hotel that still had sufficient rooms available. Fortunately, the Aspria Hotel came to our rescue and saved us from having to pursue slightly more drastic options, such as bunking together in shared rooms, and possibly even beds. Teambuilding is nice, but there’s a difference between getting to know your colleagues better and getting to know your colleagues better.
Mikael on his way from Copenhagen.
Throughout that Sunday morning, all attending Transloadians began making their way to the German capital and regular progress updates started rolling in on the freshly created Signal app group. Planes from the United Kingdom and France, trains from The Netherlands and Southern Germany, a bus from Denmark, and a car from an outskirt of Berlin all got underway to make sure everyone arrived at our destination in one piece and on time.
Our designer Alex on the train with his family
Late in the afternoon, the first guests started making their way past the check-in desk and into their spacious rooms. After some had enjoyed a quick, cool and refreshing dip in the hotel swimming pool, all those already present were called to meet up on the rooftop terrace. The warmth of the slowly setting sun and a table filled with Aperol Spritz cocktails, sodas, and beer steins the size of an infant’s cranium – or as they call it in Germany, a medium beer – made it all the more pleasant to see each other in person again after such a long time or, in a few cases, for the first time ever. As the evening fell, when stomachs began to grumble and the already quite vicious wasp attacks only seemed to increase in ferocity, the team decided to pack up and take a stroll to an Italian restaurant a few blocks away from the hotel.
AJ and Kevin enjoying a cocktail together on the rooftop of the Aspria
The restaurant’s owner turned out to be a most kind and accommodating gentleman, who only required a slight bit of convincing before setting up a makeshift dining arena outside, so we could enjoy our pasta and pizzas in the warm summer air. Soon after the first plates were brought to the table, we were also joined by the last few Transloadians who had still been in the midst of travel. The team was now finally assembled and everyone was in high spirits. From the buzz of constant lively conversation going on all around the long row of tables, no one would have ever suspected that many of these people had never met before in their life. Turns out Slack isn’t such a bad place after all to begin building some collegial spirit! When our welcome at the restaurant had already been generously extended well past the regular opening hours, we got the sign that it was time for us to call it a night. A very kind elderly lady, who seemed to feel utterly guilty about spoiling our fun, politely informed us that her bedroom window was only a few meters above our table, and that she had to get up for work early the next morning. Not wanting to cause any unnecessary inconvenience in the neighborhood we temporarily called home, we quickly settled the bill and made our way back to the hotel, where everyone retired for the night.
Monday: off to the races
Everyone got up bright and early the next day in anticipation of the first stop on our itinerary: breakfast in the restaurant at the top of the Fernsehturm, Berlin’s television tower and highest vantage point overlooking the city. A short trip on the metro line later, we found ourselves at the base of the soaring structure just in time for the doors to open. A seemingly rocket-powered elevator, which displayed impressive-looking animations inside during the short trip, quickly shot us up to the top. We were promptly guided to our table next to a window by a member of the waiting staff, where we could at long last take in the breathtaking panoramic view of the vast and beautiful city of Berlin, as the whole restaurant slowly but constantly spun on its axis.
The team enjoying a breakfast at the Fernsehturm
After the team had gorged themselves on the rich assortment of bread rolls, toppings, fruits, coffee and tea, Artur stood up to call everyone’s attention to present us with a small surprise he had been working on in secret. He reached inside his bag and pulled out a large bundle of keychains, from the end of each of which dangled quite a nifty gadget: a fully customized digital name badge! These are e-ink displays called Badger 2040 and each one had a name and 1bit picture of the team member, a schedule for the meetup with the option to tick off completed items, a warm message from the founders, and a QR code pointing to a location of our hotel – which you could show to the cab driver when drunk and completely lost.
One of the name badges that Artur made for everyone on the trip
Artur showing off how to use the name badge
With our bellies full, we felt ready to face whatever the rest of day had in store for us. And first up was an old favorite, and a repeat of one of the highlights of our previous company meetup: a friendly yet competitive bout of racing on the local go-kart track. After spending some effort chasing down taxi drivers willing to ferry us across the bustling city center and over to a fairly remote, different part of town, we were on our way to Kartland – a venue that boldly claimed to be ‘the fastest kart racing track of Berlin’. It seemed we were in for a treat! Upon arrival we were swiftly ushered into a dimly lit room that came with all the grandeur of a small-town football club’s locker room, where we were asked to view an instructional video. Now, we are reluctant to admit it, but some of these vital safety tips may have gone slightly unnoticed, as it turns out that a room full of developers will get thoroughly distracted – baffled even – when a video starts playing in a piece of software that looks like it was designed during the height of the Y2K scare. We nevertheless let our instructor know that we had taken in all the important advice, so then it was off to the races!
After everyone was fitted for a helm and had been directed to one of the fierce-looking racing monsters already lined up on the starting grid, the engines were turned on and the lights went green for the qualifying session. It immediately became evident that some were perfectly happy with the experience of buzzing around at a leisurely pace, while the front half of the field was clearly in it to win it. The founders Kevin and Tim in particular, who had also outmatched the competition five years earlier, were at it again and fought a tense battle over pole position – with Tim eventually inching out the fastest lap time.
The starting grid of our Go-Kart grand prix
Then came the time for the main event: thirty laps at breakneck speeds to determine who would win the right to call himself World Champion of Transloadit. The karts were once more lined up on the grid in order of best lap time and the engines were revved. The flag went up. The lights went on. Red. Red. Green!
As though they were fired from a cannon, the nine contestants shot across the starting line and the race was officially underway. Right away, Kevin and Tim left no mistake about their intentions. They weren’t going to give each other an inch, and the other opponents even less than that. Enduring the g-forces of every sharply cut corner and barreling down the straights with pedals to the metal, they never once gave up their position and eventually zipped across the finish line in the same order they started in. Once again, the founders had shown everyone who’s boss. And once again, it was Tim who crowned himself the winner. An honorable mention goes to Mikael, who we imagine made his country of Norway very proud by staying ahead of the rest of the competition and taking home a shiny bronze medal.
The podium from our grand prix - Tim in first, Kevin in second, and Mikael in third.
As we arrived back at the hotel, we were greeted in the lobby by Cindy, Tim’s spouse and the dauntless pillar on whose shoulders much of the organization for our company meetup rested. Everyone received a swanky backpack bearing the Tus logo that was filled with all kinds of goodies, and was asked to put on the outfit contained in the bag before we reconvened after lunch. Most went happily along with this, and soon after the clock struck one, the Transloadians began trickling into the lobby, looking distinctly like a crowd of sailors. A blue-and-white striped shirt with our Botty logo embroidered worn under a similarly styled blue bucket hat, and even a few arms bearing the fake tattoos of various company logos. All of these had us dressed perfectly for the next occasion: a relaxing boat ride on the Spree, the river that cuts right through the city’s heart. This turned out to be an excellent way to enjoy the sundrenched afternoon, and our attire even fooled some of the other passengers to the point where they tried to order drinks with us. Thoroughly rested and refreshed, we arrived back at the dock late in the afternoon, ready for even more maritime-themed fun.
Antoine enjoying a conversation with the team on the boat
Joseph and Yukesh soaking up some sunshine at the top of the boat
Our next stop was a riverboat restaurant called van Loon – no relation to the author – where we were delighted to be joined for the rest of the evening by a few people dear to our heart: recent Transloadit alumni Renée and Julian together with honorary Transloadian and Nix guru Christian. In pleasant company and with an array of delicious dishes to choose from, we enjoyed ourselves until the evening fell and the cool river breeze became a little too brisk for our thin, short-sleeved shirts to endure. We disembarked from the fine vessel, ready to dip our feet into Berlin’s famed nightlife.
The team getting ready to enjoy some delicious food.
First, we were taken to one of Berlin’s many Biergartens, where we found a nicely secluded spot and a waitress willing to bring us whatever we ordered, whether it was on the menu or not. This meant that a local specialty could soon be brought to the table: the Rocket, a cocktail made of whiskey mixed with Club Mate, Berlin’s own highly caffeinated iced tea. This iconic beverage played no small part in fueling a friendship between three young developers from Amsterdam and Berlin, which ultimately led to the founding of Transloadit in 2009 – and that’s why no company trip to Berlin can be complete without it.
Another company tradition was also held high: ever since the first Transloadit meetup in Amsterdam in 2016 it has been our custom to pay homage to the Transloadians who are unable to attend, by printing out pictures of their faces and gluing them to ping pong bats. That way, in a sense, everyone is present in spirit. This time would be no different, and thus the smiling paper heads of our missing colleagues were removed from a backpack to join us in the fun.
Abdel, Marius, Florian and Nick – you all were sorely missed!
A group photo at the Biergarten, including past and present Transloadians.
AJ and Tim holding up ping pong paddles with Marius and Abdel's faces on.
After the last round had been called and we were kindly requested to vacate the premises, some in the group were still thirsty for more revelry, and so a plan was made to go to a club where a table with bottle service awaited them. Incidentally, it was at this point that the author of this blog post chose to take a cab ride back to the hotel, and thus comes an end to the detailed report of the night’s proceedings. Rumor has it that nothing but good, honest fun was had until the sun once again started to rise over the Brandenburger Tor.
Tuesday: sit back and relax
Tuesday was the final full day of our stay in Berlin, and everyone was given the morning off to recuperate from the previous day’s adventures. This turned out to be no unnecessary luxury, since the most dedicated of partygoers had ended up checking in at 6 AM, so every extra minute spent under the covers was sorely needed. Shortly after noon, and with everyone having picked up a bite to eat, we made our way to what ended up being one of the clear highlights of the meetup. If you ever get a chance to do this yourself, we strongly recommend you grab onto the opportunity with both hands: CineGaming!
This was a brilliant, and at the same time slightly ambitious idea that Artur had floated during early preparations and that actually ended up working out far beyond our expectations: rent out an entire cinema room – for ten people – and then play some computer games on a massive screen.
When we arrived at the cinema, the doors were closed and all the lights were off, but our budding worries were soon eased when a man appeared from the shadowy interior to let us in. We were then guided through the completely deserted movie theater and led to a room that could seat around eighty people. In it were the most comfortable seats any of us had ever laid buttocks on, and a few wires sticking out from an opening underneath the screen, to which we could connect our gaming devices.
Now, we would of course like to tell you that we made use of this unique gaming opportunity to the fullest extent by playing some of the latest blockbuster games, with the most stunning of visual spectacles, on that large silver screen – but no, it was not the case. We instead exclusively played Duck Game and Hedgewars, both pixel-style games that arguably may not deserve the distinction of being shown on a screen spanning some five by ten meters. No matter though! Both have long been staples of our regular Transloadit gaming sessions, and we had an amazing time playing them in such an unforgettable setting.
The team in deep focus while playing some games on the cinema screen.
The team playing some Duck game.
With everyone’s gaming fix thoroughly taken care of, it was suddenly already time for the final event of our trip. Luckily, this was something we all very much looked forward to. Just like last time, Cindy and Tim had graciously offered to host the entire team for a lovely barbeque in their own back yard. The invite was also extended to any partners and children who had come along for the trip, so we couldn’t wish for better company. We only had to get there now.
Since the electric Lime scooters, which had so far seemed to litter every single streetcorner in the city, were not to be found in this part of town, we prepared ourselves for the brisk forty-five minute walk. On the way, we did some shopping at a Turkish supermarket. After we had loaded up on prime cuts of meat, assorted vegetables and cheese to roast over the fire, we continued on our way.
Only slightly tired and sweaty, we finally arrived at our destination and were greeted at the door by Cindy, who led us to their beautiful garden – which had clearly underwent some solid upgrading since our last visit – and offered everyone a round of drinks. Tim then declared the pool to be open, and a few of us happily joined the very youngest generation of Transloadians for a refreshing swim.
A few members of the team enjoying the pool in Tim's garden.
When the dinner bell sounded, it became clear that Tim and Cindy had outdone themselves once again. Two tables were laden with food in copious amounts, and there was something to choose for everyone – vegetarian, vegan and carnivore alike. Feuermeister Tim was hardly able to keep up with the demand, as plate after plate was loaded up and everyone sat quietly munching away.
Darkness fell, and Tim lighted some torches around the yard to further heighten the atmosphere. Perhaps partly due to the rare opportunity of having (nearly) the whole team together in person, the conversation soon turned to slightly more serious matters. One topic that particularly appeared to split up the team was the proper use of the semicolon in coding, but the heated discussion was settled before anyone felt the need to get physical.
A crazy faces photo with the team.
We ended the evening sitting in a large circle around the fire that Tim – who by the way is a licensed pyrotechnician, so don’t worry now – had built for us. In the warmth of the flames and each other’s company, everyone was in agreement that we should definitely meet again soon.
The team around the fire having some discussions about the future of Transloadit.
The next morning, the whole team got together one last time to share breakfast in the hotel restaurant. When all the plates and cups were empty, though, it was time for our farewells – or rather, our auf wiedersehens. Because we are going to see each other again soon! Firm handshakes and hugs were given all around, and then everyone went on their way, either back home or on to the next destination of their travels.
A few team members enjoying a final breakfast together at the hotel restaurant.
Even after parting ways, our great company trip was clearly still buzzing in everyone’s mind, as could be judged from the Signal notifications that continued to pop up every day. It was especially fun to see the pictures coming in of Transloadians – or their children – wearing their new Transloadit swag in various locations around Europe. We’ll end this report by showing you a few of them as well. We hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures half as much as we enjoyed having them.
Share your Transloadit project to earn $300
We love seeing how our community uses Transloadit. Tweet @transloadit to get your proposal approved, share what you’ve built in the form of a blog post or a tutorial on your website, and earn a $300 Gift certificate of your choice as well as a full year of the Startup Plan, at no cost after you publish.
Get started for free with the Community Plan, or, if you are a student, get an upgrade via the GitHub Student Developer Pack.
Get started for free
- Free plan with 5 GB encoding credit
- Set monthly spending limits
- Try without a credit card
- Highly available, globally distributed platform
- Cancel at any time
- Costs displayed for each upload/conversion
Follow us on Twitter:Follow @transloadit
We're SO STOKED to announce the Transloadit Community Plan! 🎉🎉🎉 Unlimited uploading, importing and exporting, 5GB of encoding/month, and access to 50 different file conversion features for all.— 🤖 Transloadit (@transloadit) July 2, 2020
Best part? It's free. Forever. 🤑 Find out more https://t.co/zXWLi3Xa0G pic.twitter.com/DlY5xz1mPG
Get started today
Our Community Plan is free forever and suffices for most projects. Signup is instant. No credit card needed.Sign up today