That’s a wrap! NDC Sydney, SSW Retreat & Brainstorming Day 2022

We’ve had some huge events this year, but the biggest one was last weekend. I decided to combine NDC Sydney, an awesome developer conference, with the SSW Sydney and Newcastle Retreat & Brainstorming. It was a lot all at once!

NDC Sydney 2022

Team SSW at NDC in front of the booth
Figure: It was great to see so many SSW’ers at NDC!

We had a great time earlier this year, at NDC Melbourne …however NDC Sydney was even better for us. Our highlights were:

  • A week of awesome talks:
  • We had a cool booth with fun and different activities every day, and daily prizes were given away (the baby Yoda – I didn’t know lego was so popular)
  • The SSW Rewards App – there was a crazy battle for the top of the leaderboard to win the X-box (we had a Nintendo Switch as a surprise for the 2nd place)
  • The night events were great for hanging out with old friends and making heaps of new ones
  • The Harbour Cruise was incredible! I never get tired of the beautiful Sydney Harbour at night
  • SSW TV filmed another great set of interviews and demos – keep an eye out for them over the next month on SSW

Check out some of the fun:

Figure: Hanging out pre-NDC with Duncan Hunter and the NDC Crew, Jakob Bradford, and Steinar Braaten
Speaker Matt Wicks
Figure: Matt Wicks presenting on GitHub vs Azure DevOps
Figure: One of the cool videos created by our 365 photo both!
SSW Team with the major prize winners
Figure: Some of the SSW team with our major prize winners Michelle Mannering & Amy Kapernick
Penny and Camilla with Sophie tattoos
Figure: Again the crazy temporary tattoos came out, Penny and Camilla got matching SophieBots!
Adam Cogan interviews the prize winners
Figure: Mish Manners is full of energy. I asked her if she really needs that X-box 🀣
A dance battle
Figure: There was a dance battle option to keep everyone moving and earning points for the SSW Rewards competition
Figure: Richard Cambell of DNR arriving for the Harbour cruise with my beautiful girls, Eve and Ruby
Figure: SSW’ers past and present gearing up for the cruise
Figure: The gorgeous Sydney Habour, taken on the cruise

The SSW Sydney & Newcastle Retreat

If one week of NDC wasn’t enough, we then went straight to Newcastle to kick off our SSW Retreat for the Sydney & Newcastle teams.

It was really awesome to show the space to those who hadn’t seen our new office in Newcastle and to bring the teams together to relax and enjoy the sights.

Go Karting – Newcastle

We started the day early on Saturday with a Go-Karting re-match. I would like it on the record, that I would have come No #1 again had I not been ruthlessly slammed into a wall by Cookie!

The Retrospective in the pool – Rydges Newcastle

We of course continued the tradition of the “Wetrospective”.

This is a retrospective in the pool, where we give everyone 2-mins to speak about their personal and work highlights of the year.

This is one of my favorite bits of the retreat, hearing all the cool things that people have been doing throughout the year. Lots of well-delivered projects, engagements, weddings, house buying, and new puppies! πŸ’’πŸ’πŸ˜οΈπŸΆ

After lots of laughing, one of the more hard-hitting highlights was from Kosta’s wife Anastasia, whose thoughts were back in Ukraine and Russia. She said that she was just so grateful to be here in Australia where it is safe to live and have a great lifestyle. It really puts life in perspective when you hear about experiences like that. Aussies sometimes forget we are really lucky!

People by the pool in Newcastle
Figure: One-half of our ‘wetrospective’ group in the pool. Note my hard earnt Go-Karting Medal. Cookie was eyeing it off.

Quad Biking & Sandboarding – Anna Bay

On Sunday we took an awesome Quad biking tour with a local indigenous tour group @sand_dune_adventures riding quad bikes through the dunes and then finished off with some sandboarding for the (big) kids. Awesomely they even accommodated the smaller kids by organizing a 4WD for them to participate. My Anastasia gladly went in the car with them to ‘supervise’ rather than getting on a quad bike! πŸ€£πŸ”

We were really lucky that the weather held out. It was a beautiful view across the dunes, and nowhere near as windy as the week before when I did a recce (old army term) with Duncan Hunter!

Sand dunes
Figure: Some of the sandboarding crew
Figure: Richard Campbell from DNR and I had a race to the bottom – who do you believe won?
Figure: What a beautiful place to bring the team

The SSW Brainstorming with Richard Campbell – SSW Sydney

I was so happy when my good mate Richard Campbell told me he could change his flight back home to Canada, and stay for a little while longer. It meant that he got to enjoy the retreat with us, but also MC our brainstorming day. It was nice to take a step back from this role and share it with Richard.

Throughout the day we worked on some really cool ideas for improving the company via tech, and there were some great presentations at the end which we live-streamed to the rest of SSW offices. If you want to see more about how to do this at your company, check out this SSW Rule:

Special thanks to @coatsy (aka Andrew Coates), for joining us for the day. His unique input on Microsoft products and capabilities was so helpful to all the teams working on solutions!

Figure: Getting the brain’s trust together in the SSW Sydney office

Phew!!! That was a lot to fit into 8 days but it was a great experience!

I can’t wait to see you again next year! That’s a wrap!