Vivun Kickoff 2022: Chamonix Edition!

Sam Wortman

Vivun is 100% remote-first. But that doesn’t mean we never see each other. Early in February, the entire Vivun team came together for our company kickoff in one of the world’s most beautiful locations—Chamonix, France. 

Over the course of a week at the Heliopic Hotel & Spa, which we completely rented out, the team enjoyed team bonding activities, group work, winter sports, delicious dinners, an inspirational talk by one of the world’s most accomplished mountaineers, fun after-parties, and more. Every friendly face from the elevators to the sauna to breakfast and beyond was a Vivun one. 

We had much to toast to as we celebrated the end of the fiscal year with 4X revenue, becoming a multiproduct company, moving into EMEA, and surpassing 100+ team members.

One of our core values is “Be Different.” And that’s the value we embraced by bringing 100+ team members to France. It was critical to leadership that the team gathered safely, and through rigorous testing standards, they prioritized our health so the team could have a truly unique and incredible experience even during the Pandemic. What were once Zoom-relationships blossomed in IRL. We even got to hear Vivun’s amazing origin story told in parts by each founder. (It started as a vision to end B2B selling as they knew it in a sleeper van in New Zealand!) 

Let’s dive into this action-packed week!

Think Big During Group Work

Vivun’s kick-off was organized by morning sessions where team members tackled big ideas in groups of ten and afternoons and nights were full of winter activities and fun dinner parties. The mornings weren’t our typical day-to-day work, we were asked by leadership to complete 8 missions, where our opinions and suggestions would be considered. We discussed Vivun’s core values, what the ideal title for Sales Engineers is, roleplayed with team members using the Eval by Vivun platform, reimagined pricing and packaging models, and beyond. 

These missions surfaced noteworthy ideas, and the diversity of the topics offered each team member a variety of opportunities to learn and lend their expertise and shine. In each group, leadership listened and wrote down team member insights. One of the main purposes of these exercises was to mobilize team members to give their input on topics they wouldn’t usually be at the table for. Matt Darrow, CEO and Co-Founder of Vivun, stressed the importance of having our voices heard and considered in Vivun’s overall architecture and blueprint for the new fiscal year. 

Break Out The Winter Gear (& Maybe a Robe)

After group work and team lunches, there were so many exciting activities and excursions it was hard to choose just one—downhill skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, a massage and afternoon at the spa, wine and cheese tours, chocolate tours, and leisure time to explore the beautiful streets of Chamonix and take in the stunning French Alps.

As hard as we worked, we played harder. From friendly competition on perfectly groomed slopes to scaling mountains of ice, we sampled everything Chamonix had to offer. One afternoon, we took a break from the mountains to go on a team scavenger hunt that took us to every nook and cranny of the village. Who knew Chamonix had a casino? 

The Dinner Parties were Lit

With so much energy expended on the mountain, by the time dinner rolled around, everyone was hungry (and thirsty). Each evening, started with cocktails and French pastries and cheese at the hotel bar, and then the whole team would walk through the village to dinner at restaurants like Le Cap Horn. We mingled beyond our teams with colleagues who we may have only seen on Slack or worked with briefly. Dinner was a time to really get to know each other away from the screens and work. And for every dinner, there was an after-party in a cave or at a bar with a good DJ and drinks—and lots of dancing! 

Scaling the Mountain No Matter How High

The last day was truly special. After breakfast, we filed into the conference room we had worked out of all week to listen to Ed Viesturs, the only American to have climbed all 14 of the world’s eight-thousander mountain peaks, and the fifth person to do so without using supplemental oxygen. He took us through the mental and physical challenges he faced on and off the mountain to accomplish his goals. He said, I like things that are difficult…Things that are really challenging, things that really maybe take a long time but really push me to my limits. Many of us related to his story both professionally and personally and found his attitude and perspective inspiring. 

Dinner was unlike any place I’d ever been. It was in the most breathtaking location—a glacier—in the center of the French Alps. At 5 PM, with no idea where we were headed and the only instruction being semi-formal attire, we boarded a coach bus outside the hotel that took us to a train station in town. A few minutes later, we were whisked away in an old, charming train car up and over the mountains as the sun set. We ate at a restaurant perched over the glacier, danced to a Jazz trio, and reminisced on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

A common theme surfaced in our conversations that night. We felt that we were part of something different—the future of the B2B workplace.

We returned home refreshed and excited to continue building and supporting the modern-day buying experience.

Sound like a team you want to be a part of?

We’re growing like crazy, so check us out! We’d love to hear from you!

Want to see more from the trip? Here’s an awesome video that captures it all.

Thanks to the team at Moniker for helping us organize this incredible trip!

Sam Wortman February 22, 2022