Ditch the Relic in Hakuba

Last week we were delighted to host Ditch the Relic Hakuba. We combined foreign lands, foreign friends and a mission to make developer lives’ easier--and produced an amazing output of features, perspectives, and photos… starting with:


We started the week with the arrival of Patrick from Advocately. Besides being one of the nicest entrepreneurs we’ve ever met, Patrick gave us great insights into the rise of review platforms. What’s a review platform? A place where your SaaS product gets reviewed and ranked. If you’re running a SaaS business (you are, right?) you’ll want to take advantage of Patrick’s insight--that your customers write the bestest, most authentic reviews. And Advocately helps encourage customers to do just that.

Patrick helped us uncover the backcountry of Hakuba’s slopes. You might say the snow was perfect or unbearable depending on your perspective (that’s Patrick standing upright, his legs under 1m of beautiful powder).


This route took a grueling two hours our first day but on day two, that same route took 15 minutes… and we enjoyed it time and time again. Unfortunately, Patrick missed the second downpouring of powder and heavenly runs as he had to leave early.

Our other guests included James and Caleb from Optimal Workshop. Optimal Workshop provides data-driven UI optimization, but they rolled up their sleeves to pick apart the extremely tech-oriented APM needs they have. We are extremely appreciative of their suggestions for improvements on our features and integrations. We now know more about the gaps we need to close. That said, we all bonded over how UI and UX are just as important as the product itself.


James and Caleb hit the slopes, but also enjoyed other extracurricular activities, including battling it out on our local Taiko drumming video game. Along the way, we explored a few local watering holes, met other travelers and greatly enjoyed our time together.  

The longest participant award goes to James Whelton who joined us for a full two weeks! James co-founded CoderDojo (and after CoderDojo’s merger, he’s now on the board of RaspberryPi… HOW COOL IS THAT?), he worked as the CTO of Cobone (not Cubone…), and he now travels all over the world visiting dojos and solving hard technical problems. We were nervous at first to have him give us feedback, given his expertise and background, but after a few days on the slope, a few Kanpai’s and an Onsen visit, we were all feeling fairly open to conversations!

James was part of our trudge in the backcountry but man, he showed us how to have no fear. He’s got over 3m of air in this pic:


We also want to thank Jay Winder, founder of MakeLeaps. Jay has been credited with starting Japan’s movement to software as a service (so say us :-P). He’s been an entrepreneur in Japan for over 15 years and if you’ve come to Tokyo, you might have met him--he organizes the monthly Hacker News events and is generally central to the startup and tech scene in Japan. Jay provided us with tips for supporting the Japanese developer community, but we have lots more to learn. Thank you, Jay! Looking forward to our next lesson!

Thank you to all who helped share product feedback and engaged in a dialog as we led up to our event. And to Shan, we wish you and your family time to reflect. And hope that we have the chance to meet in the future!

This trip was extremely positive in every way imaginable for us! We’ll be hosting more events in the future so be sure to check out our blog and our newsletters!