There’re 36 signals now, spread across 6 countries. Since we’re remote, we don’t get to see each other that often. We have meetups 2-3 times a year, but I don’t view them that way: they’re reunions. Our first of 2013 was last week. When you don’t get in-person face time with your coworkers every day, seeing each other makes it special, and it’s much more fun.

These gatherings are informal and mostly unstructured. We usually start Monday morning with a quick talk from Jason and David about the company. A round of lightning talks later in the day saw topics ranging from exploring new bits of code to why we should spend less time on things. Of course, I brought some GIFs to share.

On Tuesday, Stuart Halloway came in to bend our minds with functional programming and Datomic. Kevin Hale from Wufoo showed us how they’ve raised customer support to the next level on Thursday. Big thanks to both of these speakers for spending time and sharing their day with us.

I treat the meetups as more socialization than work. The company doesn’t just stop though. For my fellow Programmers, we’re on call in shifts throughout the day, Support is answering questions, Designers are sketching away, and our System Administrators are usually brainstorming evil plans.

We used the new Basecamp iPhone app to post photos throughout the week. I loved seeing an internal live-stream of what was happening in and out of the office.

The highlight of the meetups for me really is just seeing and being around my coworkers. There’s only so much you can get over an IM conversation. The time together gives us a chance to goof off too.

I’m always a bit exhausted after a week in Chicago and happy to return home. Our next meetup is in the summer, and I’m planning on exploring the city more thanks to the warmer weather. Until next time!

Thanks to Natalie, Will, John, and Joan for the great photos.