I must say the first day working for Canonical certainly was unique. Imagine 8 hours on a plane with nirvana's "I'm on a plain" looping through your head while your knees are shooting pain down your legs.
"I'm on a plain..., I can't complain..."
And so it began. Monday morning came with little jetlag and it was time to face the music1. The opening session revealed Canonical was a sizable company2 -- more than I had realized. I can't imagine a better way to have begun than to meet everyone face to face in Budapest. Having the first meeting be a physical one really helps jumpstart productivity from that point onward. Phone calls and video conferences don't cut it in this regard. A physical meeting will enhance all future communications and break down confusion and differences of opinion.
I can attest to this fact having seen it firsthand on a separate open source project. The core team was split on several decisive issues for a long time until a physical meeting was agreed to. Once everyone arrived in the same room, it turned out that many of the differences weren't so different after all, and we were able to come to an agreement to move forward. The productivity gains in working with the remote team members upon there return home was instantly enhanced. Something as simple as placing a name with a face goes a long way towards building a relationship.
In due time, I returned home having learned my lesson on international travel after spending 30 hours traveling for a 16 hour trip. Check your itineraries closely!
1. Sorry, I really couldn't help myself. Puns are puns...