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All Work and No Play Makes ScyllaDB a Dull Monster

Following a week of ScyllaDB hands-on training, ScyllaDB Summit, and internal meetings, the associates of ScyllaDB had two days to relax, unwind, and have fun in the beautiful city of Sonoma. Over the past year ScyllaDB’s team has grown by 68% which meant a large contingent coming to ScyllaDB Summit were new! ScyllaDB monsters converged from 13 countries all over the world and speak at least 15 languages. The fun days provided the perfect atmosphere to get to know our colleagues and allowed everyone to bond and develop long lasting friendships.

Our internal event planning team paid attention to every detail making sure we were fed, entertained, and enjoyed all that Sonoma had to offer. A big shout out to the Operations team for their hard work and dedication to make sure everyone had a good time! Well done!

The bonding activities started during the two days of internal summit meetings before the fun days even happened. The Operations team provided activities which allowed us to break the ice, and get to know all of the new people who had joined over the past year. We played a form of get-to-know-you Bingo, interviewing our co-workers and learning all the talents and interests our associates have beyond the office. Our hobbies are as diverse as our origins. We enjoy activities such as running, ping pong, ice skating, swimming, snowboarding, riding horses, bicycles and motorcycles, and playing billiards, checkers, guitar, and saxophone. Some of us woke up early or stayed up late during the week in order to enjoy them as well. Our Solutions Architect Tomer played the saxophone in one of the local clubs and received wonderful applause. Bravo Tomer!

Everyone had the chance to sample the cuisine and drink locally grown and bottled wine. Some of the activities we did over the two days included a choice of two hikes, building bicycles for disadvantaged children and a scavenger hunt which tested our logical thinking as well as our knowledge of mechanics and physics.

Take the Path Less Traveled

Both hikes were enjoyed by all given the weather was sunny and cool. The easier hike made use of the Sonoma Bike Path, a paved path which lead to La Casa Grande, the first home of General Mariano Vallejo who was appointed as the first Commandante General for California by Mexico when it gained independence from Spain.

Another highlight on the hike was to pass Depot Park which was once the site of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Depot. The park contains original boxcars and a caboose which are situated in front of the Depot Park Museum (there was no time to enter). The museum contains many historical artifacts about the Sonoma Valley Railroad Company, which used to operate this railroad line. Also visible from the hike was the Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery. The hike culminated in the beautiful and historic Sonoma Plaza surrounded by Sonoma City Hall (pictured) and numerous shops and restaurants and beautiful fountains and benches and areas to rest and relax.

Another hike went to The Montini Open Space Preserve (a state park recently established in December 2005). The preserve is covered with oak woodland, large rock outcroppings and open grasslands. The large trees provided shade and made the hike enjoyable to all. The preserve features oak woodlands and grasslands which provide homes for animals important for preserving the ecosystem and natural heritage of Sonoma County including deer, moles, red-shouldered hawks, red-tailed hawks, plus both acorn and pileated woodpeckers.

How Many ScyllaDB Monsters Does it Take to Build a Bicycle?

The ScyllaDB Fun days not only provided opportunities to bond and work together, but it also gave us the opportunity to contribute to the local community.

The ScyllaDB monsters broke into teams of 10 and worked to Build-A-Bike ® supporting children with a low SES who attend Sassarini Elementary in Sonoma County. Once the bicycles are delivered to the school, it is given to the child as a reward for working hard and to celebrate their success in the classroom. Before each team began, four judges were selected who added humor and reality to the game. The teams went to their stations, created their flags and then began to build and decorate their bike. The team names included CoreDump and Unicorns and each team showed their creativity and enthusiasm. The activity had a twist to make it more competitive and fun. Instead of giving each team the exact parts they needed, the judges held some of the parts. In order to get these precious packages, each team had to solve a puzzle. However, sometimes solving the puzzle resulted in a judge giving you a part you already had. When this happened, you needed to go to another team and negotiate a trade. Some teams decided to get creative with their engineering efforts (Simon Helberg, watch out!), and in the end 10 complete bikes were made (5 girl’s bikes and 5 boy’s bikes). Of course if ScyllaDB herself had helped us we would have finished much faster as her multiple tentacles would have been useful with putting the parts together.

The best bikes are built on a solid frame. So it didn’t surprise us at all that the name of the girl’s bike was: Huffy Seastar. Coincidence? We think not.

As you can see from the photo we enjoyed this activity tremendously and cannot wait to see the look on the children’s faces when they receive these bikes! We hope the kids are inspired by STEAM and pursue a career in the sciences.

The Race of a Lifetime

The second day of fun featured an Amazing Race activity where teams of 8/9 ScyllaDB Monsters all took different colored bandanas, a backpack with clues, and an egg and ran all over Sonoma to find clues, solve puzzles, and record epic scenes such as: a victory dance, the twist, an epic Star Wars fight scene, lumberjacks cutting down trees, doing the macarena and the robot and more! Points for spying on other teams (recording them recording themselves) were given and extra points were given if you found the points of interest indicated on the postcards in the puzzle pack. At the end of the race the teams were given an identical set of items and had to construct a package for their egg so that when dropped it would not break. Only 3 teams succeeded in this task and one of them, the green team was the winner! The day culminated with some free time so that everyone could get lunch on their own and make their way back to the hotel before departing for the airport.

The fun days allowed the ScyllaDB team to unwind, relax, energize, and most importantly bond. The bonds of friendship that developed over these two days will create opportunities for better engagement and collaboration in the future. We went to the airport and when we got home we discovered two things: first, ScyllaDB Monster plushies make great kids and dogs toys and, second, we can’t wait to see gather again next year!

Response from all across the company was enthusiastic. As our VP of Sales Rich Nigro said, “The organizing team rocked and the camaraderie was equal to the task!” Shlomi Livne, our VP of R&D added, “Year after year you are raising your bar. I can’t wait to see where you will take us next year.”

Want to be part of the fun? Check out our job openings!

About Laura Novich

Laura, a Technical Writer Manager at ScyllaDB, has 15 years of documentation experience for start-ups and fortune 500 companies alike. Before joining ScyllaDB, Laura was a technical writer at Verint Systems and Red Hat where she documented for the KVM and Fedora projects. She is passionate about open source projects, innovation, and special needs children. Laura has presented at technical writing conferences, contributed to the Open Source magazine, and is currently writing her first book.