Early in 2000, Visual Networks bought the startup I was working for at the time, Avesta Technologies. Not long afterwards, they announced that the entire merged company would be going to Cancun for a week in May. It struck me as an insane waste of money. We stayed all-inclusive at a big resort hotel, with Visual picking up the tab, including airfare. Looking back seven years later, it seems impossible that we ever actually got to do this. Here are some of the things I remember about the trip.
I roomed with Uday Menon, though I didn’t actually see much of him there. He was a Smalltalker, our resident Trinity Model guru. Great guy.
I missed the mostly-developers pirate cruise ship and rode with mostly sales and marketing folks. They were nice enough, but I couldn’t help feeling I had missed out.
I walked on the white sand beach in moonlight bright enough to read by. It was so beautiful. One such walk was with Casey Comeau, who’s an amazing person, and a very good listener. I’m not sure what it is, but I always felt like I’d known her a lot longer than I really had, and I could trust her very easily. But even so, I didn’t really go into the problems with Michelle, which were on my mind and bumming me out. I can’t remember precisely what we did talk about.
HR divided everyone (yes, everyone) into karaoke teams for a singing competition. My team also included our CEO. We were assigned the Shania Twain song “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.” Basically it was a setup for the big boss to make a clown of himself, to the amusement of everyone. I didn’t know the song at all, none of us seemed to. They wouldn’t even let us try to learn the song in advance. But then somebody arrived and said she knew the song, and would sing it while we all just did backup swaying and stuff. She did a pretty good job, and we guys were in drag so everybody got to chuckle at the CEO. But it turned out that our savior wasn’t on our assigned team, so we were disqualified in shame (or whatever — I can’t say I was emotionally invested in the outcome). I thought she had just arrived late.
I sat in a hot tub in the wee hours with about twenty other people. We all belted out the theme from “New York, New York” at the top of our lungs. I did my best vocal imitation of Sinatra. Very out of character for me, at least in public, but I felt pretty camouflaged in the crowd. It felt kinda liberating.
I got a bit sunburned — and also a bit hung over — and opted out of the “day trips” that were available to us on our last day. I floated in the shade instead.
In between all this I also attended some large meetings on our product lines and corporate philosophy and direction, and also some small meetings with the doc team. Michael and I were on a crusade to get everybody using Frame+SGML. I cemented my place as the technical one on the doc team, the goto guy for all things related to help and HTML in particular (and for Trinity to a lesser extent), even among programmers. I loved that.