May 19, 2024

The best team-building activity I could ever imagine, or how food and love gather people together.

The best team-building activity I could ever imagine, or how food and love gather people together.

Hola amigos! Today, I want to tell you about Selu and his family, and how they became something special for our team at 47 Degrees (and remain part of our story as part of Xebia). Selu had a little bar on the corner across from the third office of 47 Degrees in San Fernando, Cádiz. It was a tiny place, just a bit bigger than two rooms, but it became a part of our daily routine. At that time, there were about 20 of us in the office, and every day, we went there for breakfast. Selu usually made a mix of tomato and oil, like a gazpacho poured on toast, which was absolutely exquisite 👩‍🍳.

But it wasn’t just breakfast. We noticed that Selu, his wife Susi, and her sister often cooked delicious homemade food. Typical dishes from Cádiz like garbanzos con espinacas, ropavieja, puchero, papas con carne, etc. It felt like having lunch at home because they treated us like family. Then, everything changed. It's nothing serious, but we moved from our office on Calle Heroes de Baleares to a bigger one on Calle Real 40. It's just a few hundred meters away, but the reality is it wasn’t just across the street anymore. Plus, this move happened during our busiest growth period. We tried to go many times, but it was hard to align schedules.

A picture of that time, with Susi, Selu, and son

One day, I bumped into Selu on the street and asked him about "La Esquinita." He told me that the landlord forced them to close to set up a dentist clinic for his son (exactly what the world needed 🤣), and he was trying to find jobs here and there.

Selu had been on my mind a lot that week, and suddenly, I thought… What a moment! We have such a big place (the office of 47 Degrees, now Xebia Spain, is a little building in the middle of downtown San Fernando), so why doesn’t Selu bring us home-cooked food every week? I called him to discuss the idea, and he was all in. YAY! We found a solution that worked for both sides.

What happened next, I honestly did not expect.

We started organizing Selu’s Day weekly, and every single Wednesday, we placed a pot in the middle of the kitchen. We organized ourselves in a spontaneous way (I was a Boy Scout, and it reminded me of the dinners we used to have at summer camps). The amazing side effect I didn’t anticipate was the change in our people’s mood.

The conversations, the energy, the topics—everything turned into an experience. And there’s a true fact:

The most humble act is to serve food to others.

So, taking a big spoon and serving food to your colleague is an action that removes egos and competition. In our Mediterranean culture, lunchtime is for talking—not about work, but about family, life, and sharing jokes and laughs.

Want to create a good team environment? Forget the ping-pong tables. Take action with the community’s purpose behind it. That will boost your company’s culture in a way no any AI tool would be able.

Because of this, when the Xebia board came to Cádiz to evaluate our company, we organized a lunch on our rooftop. Guess who was cooking? Selu and his family ❤️

And we are still doing this! Just this past week, we had papas con carne and gazpacho. It was delicious! 😋

Selu is linked to our history, and we to his. He even has his own avatar in our Slack, and when he started his new business (yes! La Esquinita de Selu is back, baby!), they wore t-shirts with the 47 Degrees avatar.


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