Vasquez Rocks :: CS Retreat
Our team was supposed to take a trip to San Mateo for the Live Your Legacy 2018 conference (shout out to Gary Vee), but we ended up having a very important meeting in the car about our business and the inner workings of our collaborations. We then stopped by Vasquez Rocks in Santa Clarita to do an improv photoshoot.
This year we're hoping to build a scalable business alongside other brands in various industries, all ranging from film, to music, and corporations. CP, Ken, and I have been friends for a good while – we started off making music together and now we run Creative Squeeze with a few others. We didn't plan for CS to become a media company but with the current state of technology and the access we have to information through the internet, we began to figure out the difference ways we could hone our skills and combine them to produce quality content.
It became very clear to us that in order to sync up and work together, we had to communicate with each other effectively. There are many ways of communication that can help keep projects organized (such as Slack, Trello, Todoist, etc.) but there's nothing quite like in person conversations that can solidify a vision and/or infrastructure within a team. We're all guilty of being stuck behind our laptops in remote locations, enveloped in our work and cut off from each other. "I don't want to see your face, and you don't want to hear my voice, so I'll just see you on Slack." But weaknesses become very apparent when things start to fall in between the cracks and frustrations begin to emerge.
"I don't want to see your face, and you don't want to hear my voice, so I'll just see you on Slack."
Feedback and constructive criticism, whether it's being given or accepted (or denied), is not only important to our overall creative output, but also essential for our business. It's difficult to give feedback properly via e-mail or slack messages. This is why we find it necessary to travel to new locations to get away from the city and focus on team building. Meetings can be a complete waste of time since most tasks can be done via e-mail, and we've all been in situations where we've asked the question "Was this meeting necessary? Maybe just e-mail me next time?" But building company culture takes an investment in both quality time, opportunities for honest & constructive criticism, and even company resources.
Vasquez Rocks was the perfect get away for us because we were able to flex our creative muscles outside of the office, and outside of projects that are client focused. Armed with a Sony A7, Sony 6500, Canon 5D Mark III, and a DJI Mavic drone (courtesy of Albert Halim) we set out to capture quality photo and video content. During our shoot and on the drive up, we had conversations about certain tweaks that we could make to service our clients more effectively, to helpful critiques of our roles as business leaders and designers. Within the past few weeks we have had several all hands on deck moments where we just had to buckle down and meet specific deadlines, so it was refreshing to get outside and talk about how we could manage our work flow differently. In fact, this trip was so successful that we decided to do short trips like this more regularly. There's only 5 employees at Creative Squeeze, so many people are surprised at the amount of quality work we're able to produce, but it all stems from a team where each member doubles down on their individual strengths. However, it would be difficult for us to be efficient if we didn't give each other specific feedback or take moments to just breathe and create. If you work closely with a small team, we encourage you to take small, stimulating trips to re-sync with your crew by communicating through internal feedback & constructive criticism.