Even though Relate 2020 didn’t happen, Zendesk & many others made our trip SO worthwhile.
Five people. 13 suitcases (mostly swag). And a WHOLE lot of excitement about taking our WFM team from Lisbon to Miami for Zendesk Relate. I was ready to meet our writer Alexa who I’d only seen on a computer screen, present on stage with our customer Sam Sanders, chat with friends from past events, and take in all that Zendesk had planned. The speakers, the announcements, the happy hours!
It was going to be epic.
We landed and settled into our wonderful Airbnb. Being a bit of a jet-lagged workaholic, I was checking my email and chilling with Lilith from our Sales team, while the rest of the house fell into a deep sleep. Around 2 A.M. I got a notification and I froze.
Relate was canceled.
I ran to Laura, our Marketing Manager’s room, and we woke up David, our CEO. Really, we just wanted everyone to know the situation and somehow it felt more real when we were all together.
We were all sad bet we understood. We reached out to team members who were planning to join us, canceled their travel to ensure they stayed safe, and then we regrouped.
Cancellations happen — especially now.
Events around the world are getting canceled due to concerns over COVID-19. Like so many businesses are finding right now, what we’d planned just wasn’t going to happen. Months of prep work and even a super secret project launch that was tucked away in those suitcases would just have to wait. We weren’t sure what to do — so we tried to see if our tickets back could be changed or refunded.
When that turned out not to be an option, we stayed.
It’s good that we did, because we got to do a lot of amazing things we hadn’t planned initially.
So…what did we do?
That first day was rough because we were all pretty deflated. I taught an informal (but informative) guacamole making lesson. We enjoyed the pool. Our super WFM team made BBQ and we tried to figure out how to salvage our trip. The rest of the week was mostly business as usual. Ivy, Lilith, and I met customers in Miami. Tiago, our CTO, worked with the other engineers on upcoming features. The marketing team brainstormed ways to delay the launches. And David held the team together while reassuring our team members around the world.
Thankfully, Zendesk and other would-be attendees came through with some additional ways to spend our time. We got to hang out with other Zendesk partners including Klaus, Stella Connect, Playvox and Snapcall. There was a stunning boat tour kindly arranged by Playvox, where we happened to re-meet future customers who we had given a demo two years ago.
What are the odds?
On the day the event was supposed to kick off, Zendesk pulled off an amazing breakfast to get us all together and show us a peek at what they’ve been working on recently. They also hosted a happy hour on a rooftop with beautiful views of swaying palm trees.
But what happened to the swag?
We gave away swag to pretty much everyone we met. Even people who complimented our designs in the street got tote bags. Because why not?
As for this other super-secret project…well, the WFM team packed that back up and shipped it to our U.S. headquarters to be revealed at a later date. Going back, we were down to just six bags, so that was a *bit* easier for us to travel with on the journey home.
Until next time!
In these uncertain times, we count ourselves very lucky we had that bonus time together. Looking back, especially now that we are all working from home, I am happy that we were able to take that cancellation and turn it into some wonderful memories.
Oh — and Relate happened, just virtually. It seems that’s an upcoming trend for 2020. They had a fantastic playlist for the event — give it a listen here.
For the rest of 2020, we’ll be taking all of our events online! Here is Laura from our marketing team planning our next appearance. Stay tuned!
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