A couple weeks back I brought my team to the island of Langkawi for a 3-day getaway. It was Smobble’s first company trip and marked our one year anniversary.
As a start-up, a company trip tends to be the furthest thing from the mind and is definitely not a given. But I always knew from the start that this was something I wanted to share with my team. And a lot of that stems from the purpose of creating Smobble in the first place.
At that time, I was making more than enough passive income to call myself financially free. I didn’t need more money.
It took a lot of inner reflection and thought on my part before settling on the idea of starting my own company. In retrospect, the main question that stood out was whether or not I was willing to sacrifice my freedom to make more money. So to speak.
In the end, I realized that if I continued on the path of working on my own, it was going to be a long monotonous journey. Alone. So I decided to it was time for me to step up and play a bigger game.
And that’s how Smobble came about.
Prior to making money online, I had a “normal” 9-5 job. So I knew exactly what it was like to sit in rush hour traffic twice a day, work at a desk in a suit and tie doing boring shit that meant nothing to me, take orders from a boss and most of all… the dread of knowing you had to do the same thing again the next day.
So right from the beginning, my goal for Smobble was to create an environment where people were enjoying what they were doing. Where the lines between work and fun were so blurred that my team came to the office excited and pumped every day. I wanted people to look forward to Mondays.
We spend the majority of our time at our jobs.
I believe that when people are happy and enjoy what they do that productivity will naturally increase.
So that brings me back to the Smobble company trip to Langkawi.
I wanted to share a fun experience with my team. My intention was just to have a good time. I believe that it would be important to end the year strong and with a bang. After the many months of hard work, everyone deserved some time off to re-energize so we could start the New Year fresh.
And it was seriously fun. Here’s a shot of my brother motorboating our Internet marketing specialist.
I wanted to incorporate team bonding activities into the mix so that we didn’t end up complacent, lazy and segregated when we reached the island.
Thus “The Smobble Games” were born.
An epic tournament that tested strength, stamina, fitness, creativity, problem solving and the bonds of humanity. One such activity that embodied these values was… Butt Football.
That’s right. We played football on our asses. Use your imagination 🙂
The team was split into four groups with the winners taking home the trophy.
Between the trash talk, puzzles, getting sand kicked in your face and sprinting dangerously close to the edge of a cliff to perish in the sea forever, my team triumphed as the pioneer winners of the now-annual Smobble Games.
Although the Smobblers were only required to be together during the team bonding activities, what I found was that they were inseparable. And it’s all those in-between moments that made all the hard work I put into the company and its people worth it.
We had rented a 14-seater van to drive around the island for the long weekend. I was sitting in the back, just enjoying the company of my team squished together. It was at that point that I realized the connections these people had made, the laughter and dumbass jokes they were sharing, this experience we were all taking home with us, was because of one decision. To start something that could create change.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not going on some God complex trip or anything.
What I mean is, it was that one decision I made to start the company, to hire a team, and to allow them to help me move forward and grow, that had brought us all together. Squished in that van. On a crazy hot afternoon. With duty-free chocolates melting in our fingers as we passed around a box to share.
I’m not sure if my words can really convey how touched I felt right then and there. But truly, it’s a special moment that I’ll never forget.
At the end of every afternoon, once the team bonding activities were over for the day, we would all automatically head to the beach and jump in the sea. With the guys throwing the Frisbee around and the girls giggling at whatever it is girls giggle at, it was just so… nice.
I know the word “nice” sounds pathetic. But in this sense, it was really nice. In a way that there were no bad feelings attached to any of it. Zero negativity. No talk of work or projects or clients. Everyone being there together, enjoying each other’s company.
I’m getting all emo.
I guess what I’m trying to say is people, who say not to mix friends and family with business, are wrong.
No matter what industry you’re in, you are going to spend the most time in a day, week, year, with the people you work with. So why the hell wouldn’t you work with people that you like? People that you trust? People that you can confidently call your friend?
While other people may call it a company trip, here at Smobble, we call it a family holiday. Because when you’re hanging out with your friends every day, doing things that you enjoy doing together, then your “job” won’t feel like work.
Even when the trip was officially over and we were back at Subang airport getting our bags the fun continued. I dropped a bottle of wine I had bought and while on any other day I’d be feeling shitty…
With my team around, we always manage to make the best of things…
Because what I realized is that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, when you are surrounded by a great group of friends, you are ALWAYS going to have a hell of a good time.
And that’s really what I wanted to share with you today.
You know the cliché of “turning your passion into profit.” Well I believe that Smobble is a testament to that.
When my team is happy the business prospers.
We recently finalized our company culture, which we call the Code Of Honor, through suggestions from every single member of the team, partners to interns and everyone in between. One of my favorite lines came from one of the graphic designers who submitted this:
“Work as a team. Play as friends. Love as a family.”
To find out all about the dirty details behind the pictures and more, check out our first family holiday!