Nate geocaching-hiking-mountains

Geocaching HQ Employee Spotlight: Nate Irish

This is part of a series of blog posts shining a spotlight on the people of Geocaching HQ. We hope to show you the “geo-who” behind the “geo-what”. :-)

What is your name?
Nate Irish

Yeah, but what’s your Username?
I have two: My lackey name is OpinioNate, and my player name is Nate the Great. In the old days most Lackeys had two usernames but I think now it’s more common to have one.

Nate geocaching-hiking-mountains
Nate the Great on a mountain high

How did you come up with your username?
Nate the Great was a nickname given to me by my grandfather when I was little. He used to make short little poems about me like, “Nate the Great is never late to eat the food that’s on his plate”. That is still mostly true, but I try to make the plate smaller and have more green things on it. Being a grown-up can be a drag sometimes. OpinioNate because I have a lot of opinions, obviously.

What is your job title?
Currently, I’m the Product Manager. I’ve had around five different titles in my twelve years at Geocaching HQ. In the past I have been a project manager, quality assurance tester, community manager, discussion forum moderator, merchandise distributor manager, and way back in the day I stuffed Trackables into little yellow envelopes and drove them to the post office. These days the postman comes to us. We’re in the big leagues now baby!

Go Sounders, Nate, and baby
We’re in the big leagues now, baby!

What does your job title actually mean? In other words, how do you explain what you do to someone that has no idea what you do?
I lead a team of six people whose mission is to identify product opportunities to support the game of geocaching. The product in this case is our website and mobile apps. When we do our job correctly, the output is new features that simultaneously serve the needs of our community, our company, and the game of geocaching itself. That’s a very tough thing to do, but we work hard to achieve that balance.

Tell us about your geocaching style (exotic locations / quality over quantity)?
I’m definitely a less-is-more cacher. Usually when I travel, I sort by Favorite and look for a cache that is high terrain and is medium or large in size. I love to see the best and most extreme of what geocaching has to offer. Gadget caches are pretty high on my list, as well as anything inside a cave.

Nate the Great Papa
Nate the Great Papa

What’s something that surprises you about geocaching – whether it’s the game itself, working at headquarters, or anything else?
I love learning about some new local geocaching lingo or hiding style. For instance, in the Chicago area they used to have a lot of “Superman” caches. It’s when you tie a fishing line to a preform container and sling it over the branch of a tree. Then you reel in the line so the container is way overhead and secure the line against a tree knot or whatever. Everyone there knows what to look for when “Superman” is the hint.

Superman geocacher
Nate the Great – Superman geocacher

What’s the best piece of geocaching advice or information you ever learned?
Let someone else stick their hand in there first.

Geocaching Laura Yoga

Geocaching HQ Employee Spotlight: Laura

This is the first of a series of blog posts that will shine a spotlight on the people of Geocaching HQ. We hope to show you the “geo-who” behind the “geo-what”. :-)

What is your name?
Laura

Yeah, but what’s your Username?
cruisinhughesin

Geocaching Laura Van
“I like to cruise around in a DIY camper van my boyfriend and I created.”

How did you come up with your username?
It was actually a name given to me! I like to cruise around in a DIY camper van my boyfriend and I created—it’s a great way to explore new places. :)

What is your job title?
HR Manager

Holly & Laura Geocaching Photo Booth
Yes it’s true—our HR crew may definitely contain awesome.

What does your job title actually mean? In other words, how do you explain what you do to someone that has no idea what you do?
I lead our HR team at Geocaching HQ, which includes managing our recruiting efforts, benefits, and professional development, among many other things. Essentially, I spend my time ensuring that we provide everyone who works at Geocaching HQ with the things they need to be happy and effective. At a company like ours—where we literally play where we work—it’s a delight to be in this role!

Geocaching Laura Yoga
Sometimes finding a geocache is a real stretch!

Tell us about your geocaching style (exotic locations / quality over quantity)?Over time I’ve learned that I’m definitely a social geocacher! I like to be out with friends when we’re looking to earn smileys. If we’re having fun and looking for geocaches, it doesn’t matter how many we find most of the time.

What’s something that surprises you about geocaching – whether it’s the game itself, working at headquarters, or anything else?
I was surprised to find out that Signal the Frog is actually an epic dancer!

Bri & Laura Geocaching Original Stash
Always bring a pen!

What’s the best piece of geocaching advice or information you ever learned?
It’s basic but a tried-and-true piece of advice—always, always bring a pen.

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Geocaching.com Hamsters Go Big Time

Geocaching.com Hamsters

Rumor has it Geocaching.com internet servers are run by cute, hard-working, squeaky-voiced hamsters. Now you can have a Geocaching.com hamster of your own. Your hamster could either be a Trackable or commemorated on clothing. The hamsters just launched  their own products today. You know you’re kind of a big deal when you have your own merchandise line. But the humble hamsters weren’t always big time.

The hamsters toiled running Geocaching.com (Groundspeak) servers in obscurity for years. All that changed six months ago. Thousands of geocachers watched this first Geocaching.com hamster video as the site received a server upgrade in May. Instantly the hamsters were a hit.

Hamster Trackable Tag

Two lucky geocachers even adopted retired Geocaching.com hamsters used in the video. You can follow the adventures of one the hamsters in Germany on the blog, “Karlson the little hamster from Groundspeak.”

Now Shop Geocaching is introducing hamster themed merchandise. Customers outside the United States can ask their local Official Groundspeak Distributor for hamster merchandise. You can buy Trackable Groundspeak Hamster Tags.  You can also purchase hamster shirts.

Detail on Hamster Shirt

If you’re interested in watching the hamsters in their natural habitat, you can watch all three Geocaching.com hamster videos at the end of this blog post.

As far as what’s next for the Geocaching.com hamster, a lot of folks are asking. The answer may just rhyme with “bleacher tankth smoothie” (feature length movie) … or could that just be another rumor?

Hamster Shirt

 

 

 

GEOCACHING.COM HAMSTER VIDEOS

This is the first Geocaching.com Hamster video launched in May of this year. Geocachers discovered the history of the hamster rumor and learned more about the server upgrade.

 

Geocachers in Europe sent hamster food to Groundspeak Headquarters when the servers were slow during one week in the summer. We thought it was hilarious and wanted to thank them, including a cameo by Geocaching.com Co-Founder and CEO Jeremy Irish. This is the response video from Geocaching.com posted on German blogs. Ironically since the hamster food arrived the servers have been faster than ever. Hmmmm…  (Please do not send any more hamster food)

 

The video you see below is the “Down for Maintenance” hamster video which will appear when the site is briefly down for performance upgrades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Tips to Attending a Mega-Event

Editor’s note: Groundspeak Lackeys traveled thousands of miles from H.Q. this year to share smiles, shake hands and make geocaching memories at more than a dozen Mega-Events worldwide. Nicole Bliss, a.k.a. Louie Bliss, attended Mega-Event Catalunya 2011 in Calella, Spain. Nicole has been  a Lackey helping geocachers in customer service since 2010. This is Nicole’s account of the Mega-Event. 

Nicole and Signal

Oh Mega, My Mega! Catalunya 2011

I recently attended Mega-Event Catalunya 2011 in Calella, Spain and represented Groundspeak. It may have been my fifth Mega-Event, but it was my first international event.  I was surprised at how Mega-Events can be so similar 5,000 miles away from each other. There were still the same activities: discovering Trackables, shopping for merchandise, dinner events and, of course, lots of caching. I even attended my first flash mob – one of the best parts of the event! Yet, international events can be so different; everyone speaks different languages and cache descriptions are all in the local language. The difficulty rating goes up at least a star for foreigners. It helps that many geocaching phrases are universal.

With an international event, it was amazing how many countries were represented. I met cachers from Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, UK, Canada, France, Netherlands and Spain. I was the only American. I spent so much time with a group of French cachers that at one point, I felt like I was in France instead of Spain.

I learned a lot about what to plan for when attending a Mega-Event. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, listen up! Here’s 7 tips for attending a Mega-Event –

Catalunya 2011 Flash Mob
  • Check to see if there are any additional events nearby. Plan to arrive a day or two beforehand to attend these events and find nearby caches.
  • Plan your routes ahead of time. If you are a Premium Member, you can sort by Favorite Points so you’ll know which are considered the best local caches. The event organizers may even publish a new GeoTrail for the event so it is a good idea to run a Pocket Query on the day of the event.
  • Check the event forums to see who else is going. It is much more fun when you meet new people or go in a group. I cached with a few different groups and had a great time.
  • Are you attending an international Mega-Event like I did? I suggest learning the major phrases of that language. It can still be overwhelming, but it is much easier and the locals appreciate it. I was surprised that Barcelona and Calella, Spain primarily spoke Catalan and my Spanish was almost useless.
  • Make time to see the tourist sites. There’s a Mega-Event there for a reason! Of course, you can cache along the way.
  • Considering organizing a Mega-Event? Check out the Knowledge Books article on Mega-Event Classification.

    Cataluyna 2011 Community Dinner
  • After the event, log your Trackables quickly! Too often, Travel Bugs have gone missing from events because they are forgotten.

In the end, I realized geocaching is a language all its own. No matter what our native language is, we can understand each other perfectly.

 

Upcoming Mega Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Geocaching Vlogs and Online Videos – The New Horizon of Caching Media Part II

[Editor’s Note: Make sure to obtain cache owner permission when featuring a specific cache and spoilers. Include a spoiler warning if a spoiler is absolutely necessary.]

Geocaching video blogs (vlogs), as well as YouTube-based video series, have become hugely popular in the geocaching community. The Geocaching.com YouTube channel receives thousands of viewers each day and the Geocaching.com videos have been viewed nearly three million times so far. Vlogs and other videos created by the community showcase the diversity, creativity and intelligence found in the geocaching world.

Vlogging has become an exciting way to share geocaching experiences. We now invite you to enjoy Part II of the “Geocaching Vlogs and Online Videos” blog post. This post introduces you to three popular English-language geocaching vlogs and their vloggers. Part I, which featured geocaching vlogs from around the world, can be found here.

Vlogger Joshua Johnson

Mayberryman, or Joshua Johnson, is an American geocaching vlogger out of Minnesota, USA. With more than 40,000 views on his site, Joshua is capturing the attention of geocachers and non-geocachers around the world. According to the vlogger, “the beauty of online video is that it is global, so I think it is fun for people to see geocaching in different places of the world.”

Joshua spends much of his free time recording his caching adventures and posting them on his vlog for all to see. He says his vlog has enabled him to “connect with cachers all over the world through this medium.  An example of this is a video collaboration video where a cacher named Captain Hardy from Norway shot a video of him sending the Travel Bug my way.”

Joshua says one of the goals of his is videos, “is to make the viewer feel like they are caching along with us.” Joshua also hopes to use his vlog to “share with the world the incredible hobby/sport that is geocaching… to introduce others to the hobby through the videos.”

Vlogger Headhardhat

Headhardhat, or Andrew Smith, another popular English language vlogger. Andrew has posted videos on YouTube for years. He has more than 60 videos online and has had more than 370,000 hits to his YouTube site. He sees his vlog as a “teaching tool to educate geocachers from all levels of expertise.” Andrew has found that creating a vlog has been beneficial to his personal geocaching experiences as well as the community’s.

He says, “I have heard everything from thanks for planting the seed to go out geocaching, to making things smoother for others as they ventured out, to saving several marriages and bringing families together.” Andrew’s vlog has connected him to people all over the world. According to the vlogger, these connections make geocaching “that much more fun because I get to share my experiences with others.”

Joshua and Andrew all showcase geocaching in the English language. They are among a more and more geocachers flipping on the video camera and sharing their adventures, tips and geocaching tricks online.

You can start sharing your experiences right now. Share your videos, pics and geocaching expertise (or geocaching questions) on the Geocaching.com Facebook page.