It was an entirely positive experience, filled with practical lessons for startups, people who work from laptops, and remote teams. My teammate Tal wrote about The Nerds on Vacation Effect, which basically describes the huge boost in productivity, even when surfing almost every day.
Tal talks a bit about the why behind The Nerds on Vacation Effect. And, I agree with him. Being totally relaxed in an idyllic setting allowed me to push out 6 hours worth of code in 4. Well, I can't prove that. But, it certainly felt as though I was accomplishing more in less time. Maybe seeing the beautiful weather from our "office" and checking the surf report in the morning was enough to push me to work more efficiently.
In any case, I'm hoping to test this effect a few more times. Maybe it won't be surfing, but some other idyllic setting like being close to hiking, biking, yoga or a nice knitting chair. Whatever takes 100% focus away from work.
There's lots of talk around about if remote teams work or not. I'm most definitely a proponent. I don't like cities, buildings or concrete. Even though I love technology and building for the web, I much prefer being near nature and in small towns. And, I think there are plenty of successful companies out there, proving remote works.
For a remote team to actually work, I think they need stronger ties than a team sharing office space. The culture needs to be strong and present for every team member. And, those people, though living in different areas of the world, need to be able to get along when they all get together and share a house for a couple weeks!
If you're running a remote team, I highly recommend you take a look at getting those Nerds on Vacation! Once, twice or four times a year. Whatever, just get some facetime.
Laptops == Lifestyle
Being able to work from a Laptop is a fact that I am immensly grateful for. Most of the world is now connected via WiFi, even off-the-grid huts. Being a part of a remote team means I get to work and live in a trailer on a farm, join the team in Tofino to work and surf, and eventually I'll try being a Digital Nomad.