Tyk takes Rhodes: Our annual retreat recap

Guess where we’ve just been?! Last week, Tyk took to the sunny embrace of Rhodes, Greece for our annual retreat. Yep, we’re not your average “let’s meet in an office” crew; we take over islands! Our mascot even traded its usual attire for a toga – because why not?

But it’s not all sunsets and souvlaki. Picture this: Our Tyklings bonding over team-building akin to an Olympic sport and diving deep into enlightening workshops and hackathons.

What does this all mean for Tyk and our users? It means a renewed focus on how we can make our software better, how we can be there for our customers, and how we can build out our platform. This year’s retreat cemented ideas about our existing product and our long-term product vision in the minds of all of us.


Boat party! 


Let’s hear from some of the Tyklings on their standout memories and learnings from the retreat:

What was your favourite memory of the week?

James, COO – I’d point to this quote, which encapsulates a lot of what Tyk is about. And the Tyk retreat is where we REALLY lean into it:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.” – Steve Jobs.

Jia, Solutions Architect – The human experience. There was a sense of community and collaboration from every single team member that I worked with during the workshops and activities during the week, and it was so fun just to spend time with genuine people.

Georgie, People Advisor – I absolutely loved galavanting around Rhodes for our treasure hunt! What a cool team-building experience!


Scavenger hunt: gallivanting around Rhodes Old Town


Amber, Sales Development Representative – Meeting everyone in person has to be my favourite part. Being able to collaborate across departments in such an open setting helped me to think in different ways. I came home buzzing and excited to jump back into work. Also, my confidence has grown from being part of this experience; never having done a retreat before, I was a little nervous, but everyone was so welcoming and fun!

Allan, Head of Delivery – Building connections with people and understanding who my colleagues are is always the best part. Behind every role is a person and a story, and I love that.

Ioana, Marketing Campaign Manager – My favourite part was observing how Tyklings are wildly different in their nerdiness yet genuinely curious about others’ perspectives. We love food, get competitive, and stay up late, but we genuinely shine when discussing how our part fits the big puzzle we build together. I have yet to meet a Tykling who does not get wide-eyed and excited when explaining what they do. And genuinely encouraging.

Jessica, General Counsel – I particularly enjoyed the more technical sessions (typically more difficult for me) that were super accessible and engaging. I love that I’m taking away many ideas, plans and goals (plus imagination!) for the rest of the year and into ’24.

Yaara, Head of Developer Experience – What I liked the most about the retreat was Tyk’s grand hackathon. It was a unique event where everyone, regardless of their role, participated in solving various challenges, from coding to presentations. This inclusive approach showcased Tyk’s commitment to diversity and collaboration. It also allowed us to improve personal connections, emphasising the value of direct interactions in our digital age and highlighting the transformative potential of collaboration with a shared goal.

What did you learn from this experience?

Jia, Solutions Architect – I learnt a lot about how we could work more effectively and efficiently across different teams at Tyk. Speaking to team members in person instead of Zoom helps open discussions in a productive way.

Jen, Visual Designer – This retreat was when I finally had a lightbulb moment of fully understanding exactly how the product works and how each part fits together. I came away genuinely feeling that I’d learnt about our product and its’ roadmap and that the tech sessions that I think are out of my depth aren’t after all.


Collaboration in action!


Zeynep, Sales Development Representative – I learnt that Tyk has many wonderful people eager to create a safe space to ask questions, share ideas and learn from each other. I feel much more enthusiastic to reach out to people when I’m curious.

Jess, General Counsel – Lots of learnings! I learnt tonnes more about different teams. Each session felt like a snapshot into the life of a particular department – and it was cool to think outside the box in discussing team/focus area drivers and pain points. The sessions expanded my imagination and showed the value of cross-team input into discussions.

Amber, Sales Development Representative – When running around Rhodes, I learnt that I am super unfit 😂. There were loads of new things, but most importantly, I learnt not to shy away from topics that may be too technical for me.


Scavenger hunt: team orange glasses 


Andy, Senior Product Manager – I learnt to look where I’m going when running downhill on rocky trails… and I realised that I know a bit more about the product than I thought I did. In terms of specifics, I learnt about Domain Driven Design and Wardley Mapping – which I was oblivious to only ten days ago.

Flor, Full Stack Developer – The retreat was a great insight into Tyk as a whole, and I learnt a lot talking to other Tyklings about topics unrelated to work. It was fantastic to get closer to colleagues and empathise with each other.

Collaboration unleashed!

Tyk retreats have been part of our DNA since our first year and are invaluable to our development as a business – a chance to step back, connect as humans (yes, we’re not all just code and floating heads on video calls), and figure out how to make our platform even more mind-blowing for our users.

In those seven days of Tyk magic, we laughed, we learned, and we left with a renewed energy and commitment to our craft. Our Tyklings fully immersed themselves in the retreat vibes; let’s just say the dance-offs and brainstorming sessions were a hit –  and, as we look forward to the next one, one thing is crystal clear: we’re gonna need a bigger boat for our famous boat party!