Helping people find great apartments is really hard. Creating great software in an antiquated industry is also really hard. That's what we do at Triplemint, and sometimes our team has long days.
Long days are necessary when you're building a company, but long days don't mean you can't stay connected and motivated as a team. To help keep spirits up we have a little tradition that I absolutely love. After our weekly all-hands meetings, we stand up in a giant circle and all face each other. It's really nice being able to make eye contact with every member of the team and share in a moment of physical togetherness. There is no hiding in the back and no feeling of being left on your own.
To break the meetings, we use a time-tested tradition of showing support, interpersonal connection, and positivity: the high five. High fiving is a simple act that only takes a split second, but connotes so much more. It forces people to sync up and align (otherwise you miss hands and that's always embarrassing) and promotes teamwork (the only thing worse than both people trying and missing, is one person trying while the other person gives the cold shoulder... or in this case palm).
While the origin of the high five is heavily debated, most people attribute it to sports in the late 1970's. As the story goes, LA Dodgers leftfielder Dusty Burke hit a season punctuating home run in the last game of the 1977 regular season. As Burke came to the plate after running the bases in front of 46,000 screaming fans, he was just moments away from the first public high five with teammate Glenn Baker. "His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back," says Baker, now 62 and managing the Reds. "So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do." According to ESPN's Jon Mooallem.
It is fitting that the first high five capped off a moment of accomplishment, teamwork and excitement. Just the very sound of a good high five triggers an emotional flare as the loud "clap" runs through your nervous system. 40 years later, the high five still carries a similar meaning.
While we're not hitting a home run in front of a massive crowd every week at our team meetings, a high five is the perfect cap nonetheless. To give a little bit of individual credit, every week a different member of the team leads us in the big clap. That person counts down "3-2-1" and then we all high-five the person on either side of us and yell "Triplemint!".
This simple tradition started when we were just five people standing in a conference room in a co-working space and has lasted through years of changes, capital raises, new business lines and now brings 85 people together as one team every week. The moment of connection reminds us that we're in it together and that no matter the ups and downs, we're part of a team driving together toward success. One day maybe we'll even find a way to honor the first high five and have our team meeting at a baseball stadium and get 46,000 people to count us down 3-2-1!