A Series of Unfortunate Events or What it Takes to Organize an Apify Teambuilding

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Apifiers vs. the bad luck - who will win? Not to spoil the good fun, but nothing can stop an Apifier when teambuilding is at stake. Well, almost nothing ;)

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, as Murphy’s law states. And everything did go wrong just before our team-building retreat in the Czech Krkonoše, or Giant Mountains – from Covid and flu to injured feet and sprained ankles, and hitting all levels of Apify, from CEO to the event planner.

But what are challenges, if not an opportunity to stick together and improve our problem-solving skills? After all, Paulo came all the way from Brazil, Gabin descended from the Arctic Circle, Misha made his way from Poland, and Pavel traveled from far away Brno!

Read all about the misfortunes our Apifiers had to face (and the silver linings) before they could enjoy their well-deserved hiking break in a 4-star hotel – because at Apify, we party as hard as we work *wink wink* 😉

Five Apifiers in mountain gear standing in the snow on top of Sněžka and smiling.
Fighting the bad luck together

The Curse of the Injured Foot

The odds were stacked against us, but at Apify we always find a way to overcome challenges together. We were all waiting with bated breath for our team-building event in March. But a series of unfortunate events wreaked havoc upon our meticulous planning.

Our CEO, Jan Čurn, was Covid-stricken just four days before the event, following a rare break in the mountains of Austria. Then our People Ops Manager, Lucie Zlatohlávková, and her family fell ill. On top of depriving them of their trip, we also lost two drivers to get Apifiers up the mountain.

Then one after another, as if by some strange curse, Apifiers were afflicted by a series of leg and foot injuries. Shattered glass in the foot, sprained ankles, torn tendons. It was carnage, with all the cases coming one after another. One of the victims was our key event planner and office manager, Kaja Jánošíková.

Photos and messages of injuries shared by the Apifiers who couldn't partecipate in the team building.
At this point, nothing could surprise Kaja's inbox anymore

Further reports of Covid and flu-related sickness were still coming in. Things were not looking good for Apify’s retreat to the Krkonoše mountains, but the event managers were undaunted by the obstacles and continued to work hard to get us all to our destination.

But the darkest hour is just before dawn...

As the saying goes, the darkest hour is just before dawn. The first ray of sunshine came in the form of Paulo Cesar, a senior web automation developer, who arrived in Prague from South America for the first time, having never before left Brazil.

Another bright light came in the form of another senior web automation developer, Gabin Desserprit of France, who had come to us from beyond the Arctic Circle in Norway to join our assembly.

A third beacon of hope came from Poland in the form of Misha Murasovs, a technical writer and frontend developer. Then the three musketeers became four with a visit from full-stack developer, Pavel Doleček, who came to us from another strange and foreign land: Brno!

Apifiers in mountain gear standing in group on top of Sněžka, with Pavel and Marek in the foreground.
Choose your fighter: Pavel from Brno
Paulo from Brazil standing with a group of Apifiers in Sněžka.
...or Paulo from Brazil?
Gabin in short sleeves standing with other Apifiers on Sněžka.
Gabin is here to save you from the tough choice

The streak of bad luck finally ends

Things were now looking brighter, and come the first day of the event, everything was in place for the fun, food, fitness, and frivolity that ensued. Our 4-star hotel was replete with all the facilities needed, and there was hiking aplenty in the stunning Krkonoše mountains.

After three days and two nights away, everyone got back home in one piece, even though a few of us had taken yet another beating from Covid and a small handful of us were abandoned by SARS-afflicted drivers, left to find our own way home. But everything turned out splendidly in the end thanks to our brilliant organizers and the perseverance of all Apifiers.

Apify ladies taking/making a path of their own

Team-building for international teams - overcoming the challenges

Arranging a team-building event for 50+ people internationally is not an easy task to accomplish. Consider the "little" side factors such as keeping track of COVID-19 tests, arranging transportation and payments, juggling activity preferences, and even fighting jet lag. But we made it - not in the least part, thanks to our talented Happiness Manager Kaja (read her career story), who managed to arrange all that from the premises of her couch. And thanks to her new assistant Helena, for whom our series of misadventures turned into a baptism by fire.

Legend has it that one only goes to Sněžka, the highest mountain in the Czech Republic, to stand there for a few long moments and then happily trot down. Why? Because climbing this 1,600+ meter-high rock is usually a strange combo of misty, freezing, and windy weather. Generally, it can be an unpleasant place to be. However, some of our Apifiers were very committed to breaking the streak of bad luck. They did it by the heroic act of waking up as early as 3 am to meet the sunrise. Míša and Honza were able not only to catch it in all its glory but also come back and make another round to Sněžka for good luck. This time, together with the rest of the albeit still drowsy team.

Apifier Míśa wrapped in a termic blanket watching the sun rise outdoors.
An early bird gets the best views

Unfortunately, we couldn't go skiing, although the weather was unusually benevolent towards us throughout those two days. Other than hiking, our activities included but were not limited to enjoying the hearty Czech food, playing board games, trying out exquisite cocktails, and bringing some moves to the only club in town. And while we were missing many of our colleagues who couldn't make it at the last minute, we will surely make up for it in the future.

Group photo in the snow of the Apifiers who made it to the top of Sněžka.
Conquering Sněžka🇨🇿 (or Śnieżka🇵🇱) on a sunny day
A nice teambuilding recap boiled down to numbers


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