The Yext Engineering team just got back from our Spring 2016 offsite in Puerto Rico. We stayed at the El Conquistador resort for a few days of technical learning and team bonding. It was a great event, and we’ve returned to New York and Virginia fired up to improve our platform.
The Technical Side
The talks at this offsite covered a wide range of ground, everything from an overview of continuous delivery to a comparison of Fork/Join vs Futures for asynchrony in Java. There were 8 talks in total, delivered by both junior and senior engineers. There will be follow up blog posts with the content from many of these talks over the next few weeks.
I continue to be amazed at the breadth and depth of members of Yext Engineering, and find these talks to be excellent ways to let them share their knowledge. Jacob’s talk about Java asynchrony provided a great solution to a nagging problem in another area of our system in a much more elegant way than it is solved now. The production monitoring tools shared by Manoj and Dan have already been used to identify the source of a performance issue for a large client and a fix has been pushed less than a week after the trip.
The Bonding Side
We work hard here at Yext, but we also genuinely enjoy each other’s company. These offsites away from the day-to-day of the office provide an excellent opportunity to interact with team members on a more human level. These events tend to be a lot of fun, and Puerto Rico was no exception.
Wednesday morning was free time. I played a round of 18 holes with one of our engineers in perfect weather, with views of the ocean and a pair of 5-foot long iguanas. Some people went to the resort’s private island for some time on the beach and beach volleyball.
Wednesday’s dinner was a buffet style over looking the resort’s swimming pools and the Atlantic Ocean. The mojito bar provided a nice tropical touch. Following dinner we headed downstairs and joined with fellow travelers in singing karaoke to a hundred strangers, something that is always on my todo list.
Thursday night was an organized sunset sail on a catamaran in the bay and ocean surrounding the resort. We made it back to shore with a full staff, and headed up to a dinner in a private room at Chops, the resort’s steakhouse. Post dinner trips to the pool and hot tub rounded out an awesome day.
Friday was unscheduled, with some people returning home with others deciding to stay the weekend. Those that stayed did things like a rainforest hike, tours of old San Juan, and visiting a casino.
Puerto Rico was another awesome offsite with lots of learning, fun, and bonding. Stay tuned for future posts with details of some of the technical talks.