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The in face meeting is actually incredibly important. I've been remote for 7 years and it is just so important to put a "face" to a person. You get to bond on a personal level that is really hard to do remotely, even if you've been working with someone for years. As a strong remote advocate there really isn't a replacement for face to face communication, which is why I support annual summits.

Face-to-face meetings are valuable (GP agrees). Requiring get togethers in unique exotic locales, not so much. It's a huge perk for some, and a not-insignificant cost for others (with most "regular" people probably somewhere in-between, but giving in to the peer pressure of emphasizing the glamor). Oh and it seems to inevitably blur this whole work-life balance thing people claim to care about. (Not to mention it's a bit of a bad habit, carbon footprint wise, and a dubious use of investor money.)

If a company just picked a logically geographically central place (per its employee base), reserved a reasonable hotel w/business suite or rented an office for a week, that'd make a lot more sense and be a good bit fairer imo. Let people who enjoy exotic locales do so on their own, and not as a (required!) perk. Bonus, you're now being more serious about avoiding monoculture at work too (not everybody enjoys exotic travel, and companies that de facto require it will end up selecting for it).

Ideally work will pay for a summit (although day to day expenses are unlikely to be covered). If you were a single parent, it would be extremely tricky to work out, though. In my case, I have to fly 12 hours to get to the office of the company where I work. Virtually anywhere on the planet would be easier to get to :-)

There is a bit of an advantage to "exotic" locations, though -- shared unfamiliarity. If it's new for everybody, then everybody is learning at the same time. It gives you something in common. Having said that, though, I've had discussions with the team I'm on where a lot of people would love to get together in a relatively boring place where the only thing we could do is code together. That has a lot of advantages too and I'd be surprised if you couldn't get some backing from other teammates to try it at least once.

The issue isn't the personal financial cost - the whole point is (if it's an exotic trip) that it's a paid perk, for people who enjoy it, and a (non-monetary but real) cost to those who don't (and who'd probably just prefer a bonus to having their company buy them an expensive trip they don't want).

And yes, boring but neutral (non-exotic, non-expensive) locations seem like a reasonable ideal for a business trip - that's essentially what I'm advocating. They can also be unfamiliar to all, if you think that helps - it doesn't have to be the Bahamas to not be somebody's home turf.

But there are, as I've explained, good reasons for it to be something other than the (expensive, particular-lifestyle-centric) glamor most tech companies push - larger reasons than the neutral ground piece. It alienates more than it includes, and burns money (sure not yours, but you'd rather your company be prudent, or at least let you spend money on things you want) and carbon to boot.

Also, I'm not vilifying all exotic travel - just the habit of entangling it with work, as it becomes a heavily asymmetric perk and a significant cultural filter/selector (for a certain sort of "living life" crowd - again, not bad people, but not the only sort of people in the world). I'm all for places giving vacation time, and paying well enough for employees to pursue their interests, be that the Bahamas or rare book collection or anything in between.

> it is just so important to put a "face" to a person.


Blind people can be productive members of a team without ever being able to do that. And yes, there have been productive teams made primarily or even entirely of blind people.

If you want to argue instead that it's important to put either a face or a voice to a person, well, I think deaf-blind people would argue with that, though I don't know much at all about that community.

My comment wasn't meant to alienate blind people, far from it. To elaborate further, being able to see someone outside a meeting (since this is where most interaction really occur when remote) means things like small talk occur and you get to know your co-workers on a more personal level. This personal connection is what really matters in the long run and being together in person is what drives building those connections.

This is not really about faces as such, but there is something about physical presence in the same room that cannot be replicated through telecommunication alone. Call it chemistry or whatever you will, but I notice that whenever I've spent more than a few months without physically meeting my co-workers, I start getting increasingly out of emotional sync with them.

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