New Relic’s product offsite is the highlight of the year for our engineering, development, SRE, and support teams, along with many of their peers from other areas of the organization. It’s the chance for Relics from around the world to make connections and share new strategies, great ideas, best practices, and much more.

And somehow, even as New Relic keeps growing, this annual event keeps getting better: more useful, more rewarding, and more fun.

From the moment the more than 500 attendees arrived to a large banner that read “Welcome Nerds,” this year’s event was no exception. We brought together more than 500 people to beautiful Sunriver, Ore., for three days of meetings, presentations by both executives and engineers, and recreational activities ranging from fly fishing to lock picking. The event featured more than a dozen general sessions and 25 breakout sessions, with topics ranging from “Containerizing Databases” to “The Neuroscience of Inclusion.”

welcome nerds sign at the new relic engineering offsite

The Year of Thinking Big

So what is it all about? According to New Relic Chief Product Officer Jim Gochee, it’s not work, it’s not a pool party, and it’s not “trust falls.” First and foremost, it’s a technology conference, where we get the chance learn more about New Relic, our growing suite of products, and how we build software. More than that, Jim told the crowd, it’s an invaluable opportunity to think deeply about the future, to run experiments, and to take risks. “2018,” he said, “Is the year of thinking big.”

jim gochee engineering offsite

Chief Product Officer Jim Gochee: “2018 is the year of thinking big.”

Chief Architect and VP of Engineering Nic Benders, who co-chaired the program, noted that New Relic is now 10 years old, and it’s time to update the vision that the company launched with back in 2008. “What I want people to feel like when they leave this event,” he said, “is that they are the founders of a giant new startup. That they are founding the New Relic that will exist 10 years from now.” Oh, and that it’s the best tech conference they’ll attend all year, and that it’s better than all previous Product Offsites.

mikey butler and nic benders engineering offsite

Nic Benders (right) is joined on stage by New Relic SVP of Engineering Mikey Butler.

That part seems to be a success. Senior Software Engineer Sebastian Ramirez called this the “best Product Offsite ever,” citing the quality of the talks, the scenic venue (complete with a fleet of bicycles to make getting around fast and easy), and the event’s seamless organization. He was especially interested in the presentation “Who We Are: Diversity and Inclusion at the Core of our Core Values” by software engineers Alexa Stefanko and Emily Bookstein, which showed how diversity, equity, and inclusion can help make New Relic successful.

In the beginning just five engineers attended our first offsite, but now it has evolved into a uniquely New Relic event that both represents and advances our technology culture. Everyone who was here won’t forget what they learned. And everyone else can look for adaptations of the best of the sessions to show up in the New Relic blog in the coming weeks and months.

Check out photos from the event below:

sun river new relic engineering gathering

group of new relic employees at the engineering offsite

person speaking at the new relic engineering offsite

employees playing poker at the new relic engineering offsite

employees playing ping pong at the new relic engineering offsite

karaoke at the new relic engineering offsite

game night table

campfire at the new relic engineering offsite


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Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite,, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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