Setting Intentions, Building Connections: Highlights from Marco's 2023 Offsite

We just had a New York offsite / year-end celebration with 8 Marco team members, of our 20 person team.

For some, it was the first time meeting in person despite working together for 6+ months. For others it was a reunion after spending too long apart.

In just a few days, we tackled a large Customer Journey exercise, some impactful team-building exercises, and some personal + professional 2023-24 reflections. Not to mention some good ole’ fashioned shuffleboard.

If anyone wants to see the actual landing page for our offsite in the Marco product, you can check it out here!

It was very fun 🕺🏽, but even more importantly a really important experience to boost team connection and reenergize people about the mission we’re solving at Marco.

Our Intention

At the outset of our offsite, we consciously set our intentions.

Now, setting intentions might seem a tad whimsical - but hear us out: 1) At Marco, we're all for a bit of whimsy 🤝, and 2) it's as crucial to set intentions for a gathering as it is to establish our business goals (OKRs, KPIs, etc.).

These intentions guide how we allocate our time, whether it's for team-building, brainstorming, or simply enjoying a festive gathering with colleagues.

A common challenge our customers encounter when setting intentions for a gathering is the tendency to overreach.


Often, their goals encompass 2-3 of these areas. Initially, I too fell into this trap, aiming to blend Collaboration and Strategy, Team Connection, Celebration, while also providing a chance for our team to recharge.

This year has been particularly intense, especially for those of us in the startup world. Thanks to insights from Court Roberts, our Experience Design lead at Marco, we honed in on a primary objective of Team Connection, with a secondary focus on Collaboration and Strategy.

The most valuable outcome was the opportunity to connect and strengthen the relationships that foster empathy in our daily collaborations.

Customer Journey Session

I'm inspired by Brian Chesky's dedication to the customer journey, to the extent of hiring a Pixar storyboard artist to redefine it.

"I often find that to reinvent an industry, you do not take inspiration directly from that industry, you need to look at orthogonal industries. For us, the orthogonal industry for travel was cinema. I actually literally hired a storyboard artist from Pixar. We had him storyboard the perfect Airbnb experience”


We embarked on a customer journey exercise, initiated with Brian Chesky’s 2023 Winter Release video on product features.

Our journey in the unique market of employee connection, now focusing on company retreats, has been enlightening. We delved into each phase of the customer journey, exploring enhancements from sales and product perspectives.

Some insights simply can't be gleaned from a 4-hour Zoom call. This session, purely work-related, was incredibly fruitful for our team.

Powerpoint Night: Lunch Edition

This is a classic “Marco Ritual,” masterfully curated by Court Roberts.

If you've never experienced a PowerPoint night (as I hadn’t), it involves creating presentations about personal, often quirky interests. Highlights included:

  • Flaws in the Harry Potter Storyline
  • Crafting the Perfect Espresso
  • My Obsession with Cleaning
  • The Ultimate Skincare Routine


It was a delightful way to understand our teammates better and pick up some excellent skincare tips!
Find Your Rhythm x Rhythm of Happiness

Caleb Spaulding, whom I recently met for coffee, led one of the most engaging creative and team-building sessions I've experienced.

Caleb would start a rhythm, encouraging a group to follow with hands, feet, or chest. Gradually, he'd integrate different beats, aiming for harmonious drumming.

Different team members took turns leading, culminating in a session that left us all feeling lighter, happier, and more connected.

As a music enthusiast, this session rekindled a sense of playful collaboration that I hadn't felt in a long time.


2023 Recap and 2024 Reflections

We concluded Thursday's offsite with reflections on 2023 and our aspirations for 2024, aptly timed as we approach the new year. I'll delve deeper into this in a future post.

2023 was a year of growth, challenges, and resilience for both me and our team. We're entering 2024 stronger, sharper, and more energized than ever.

Here's to a year filled with personal and professional milestones 🤠🖤


The Future of Culture in your Inbox