It involves a famous comedian, a Mexican toast, and a lot of mezcal.
You’ve seen the hashtag.
Every week when Friday rolls around we post something about our team, or our office, or just some terrible freight puns with the hashtag #ForagerFriday. You might think “oh that’s just some fun marketing thing” but you’d be (mostly) wrong. Forager Friday is actually a storied institution, one with a rich history and deep importance to our company’s culture.
And it all starts with Andy Dick.
Forager’s humble (shared office) beginnings.
When Forager was just a wee, pre-seed stage startup, we shared an office with fellow Chicago tech company Cameo. For those of you who don’t know about Cameo, it’s an app that allows users to pay their favorite celebrities for personalized video shoutouts. The business relies on a pool of famous talent to entice new users and provide content.
As a result, it wasn’t uncommon for said talent, mostly minor celebrities and professional athletes, to visit the Cameo office for totally killer parties (that we never even dreamed of crashing, sorry Steve), and office tours.
In a bizarre twist of fate, on the same day that Forager moved its first load, a certain comedian happened to be in the Cameo office. And he happened to be in the mood for Mezcal.
“We had just moved our first load, so I went back to my apartment to get the team a bottle of mezcal to celebrate,” says Matt Silver, Forager CEO, who had no idea this was an interview.
“And as I walked back through the Cameo office, I saw Andy Dick sitting there and thought, you know, here’s my chance to have a drink with Andy Dick. What better way to commemorate our first load than to have a drink with Andy Dick?”
We can think of a few better ways, but none so iconic.
“Matt did go out to grab us a bottle to celebrate” confirms Forager co-Founder Jordan Salins, who was there for the inaugural Forager Friday “and then he showed up with Andy Dick. Zero explanation. We rolled with it.”
“We did a shot together, took some selfies, and overall had a great night” says Silver. “I think it was so fun we just wanted to keep the tradition going.”
And thus, “Mezcal Friday” was born.
Arriba, Abajo, Al Centro, Pa’ Dentro
The tradition of drinking mezcal on Fridays continued after that fateful night but remained a simple celebration of a week well worked. Traditions were added, like a very loud party horn at four o’clock to signal the beginning of the festivities, but for the most part it remained unchanged. Until the toast.
“One of our first employees introduced the toast,” explains Forager COO Jessie Essman “we have a lot of Foragers from Mexico on the team, so one day he just announced that he was going to teach us the toast of his people.”
“In his defense it was already seven or eight o’clock by the time he said that,” clarifies Silver.
That toast is commonly used in Mexico when drinking Tequila. The version that early Forager shared went like this:
Arriba, Abajo, Al Centro, Pa’ Dentro
Which roughly translates to:
Above (glass lifted high), Below (glass lowered down), To the Center (glass held out), For Inside (drink!)
The toast stuck. So much so that, when the team moved offices in late 2019, it was immortalized on the kitchen wall, so visitors and new members of the team could easily follow along:
As Forager grew and the team expanded from five to fifteen to thirty plus, it became necessary to institute a weekly company-wide meeting to keep everyone on the same page.
“Eric Lunt actually suggested holding our allhands on Fridays to cap the end of the week,” says Essman. “It became part of Mezcal Friday to have this big meeting and give positive shoutouts. It was actually really fun and informative. Eventually people were excited to sit in the conference room and go over our pipeline.”
“We’d do our big meeting, then do our toast,” Silver elaborates. “It made the meeting feel like a team activity. Like our successes and failures were shared. Like we were all in this together. Sure we drank a bunch of mezcal, but it was very wholesome drinking.”
“Our marketing director really didn’t like us calling it “Mezcal Friday,” for obvious reasons.” Says Silver.
And thus, the far more work appropriate – and marketing approved – “Forager Friday” was born!
The name and traditions stuck, and Forager Friday evolved from a little happy hour into a celebration of all things Forager, complete with a special toast, a loud airhorn, and a weekly social media post.
And now you know the history behind the hashtag. So let’s all raise, lower, hold out, and drink down a glass in honor of another Forager Friday well spent.