Fall is the season not only for budget deep dives and strategic plan development, but also for industry event travel. Whether buying events that gather like-minded retailers together or inspiring leadership summits, these are some of the best-of-class annual events in any industry remotely related to Outdoor Recreation.
I have faithfully attended the OIA Rendezvous since 1999, when it was at the Sundance resort in Utah. I met many an industry iconic leader there, as well as so many I am lucky to call friends and colleagues now, some 15 years later.
It’s an awesome, inspiring event and always has been, so not being there this time was not an easy decision for me at all… some of my best business ideas, most inspired learnings and greatest memories of a great outdoor industry came at Rendezvous. It’s very much worth the price of admission, which is not insignificant.
A partial quick-hit list of what has happened for me at Rendezvous’ past –
- Inspired to launch Green Steps Program at OR, creating a ‘best practices’ listing of one hundred brands making a difference adopting more environmentally-friendly show elements like Paperless Press Room, PCR aisle-carpet, and wind energy power to the OR show.
- Discussions that resulted in launching Backcountry Base Camp, the revised and re-focused On-Snow Demo that identified and prioritized backcountry ski and hardgoods buyers
- PR and Communications decisions made on site, outdoors in the rain, with key discussions with key industry individuals.
- Meetings with folks who have moved through the industry into interesting and influencial roles, and are now close advisors and partners in my current business.
- Working shoulder to shoulder with industry leaders and friends on building a new trail, cleaning out a polluted river and a dozen other good works projects for the local citizenry, building comraderie and expanding my network
- Witnessed an industry personality full-on break dance at an evening party
- Invaded nearby gatherings with industry icons to see ‘just how they do it’
- Played music late into the wee hours with brand leaders, specialty retailers, reps and Association directors
So why am I not going?
Sometimes it’s just time to SHIFT. Yes, it’s a pun. Sorry… but it is appropriate too. I’m sure I’ll be attending Rendezvous in 2016 (Denver, from what I hear…).
SHIFT is a relatively new event (now in it’s 3rd year) in Jackson Hole, WY, that gathers the country’s leaders in Land Management, the greater Outdoor Industry, and the Conservation Community for 3 days of breaking down barriers and moving beyond the silos that I see hinder collaboration and cooperation in the outdoor recreation ecosystem of organizations. I could not afford to do both events, and they are also the very same week, although technically possible to do both. As a business-owner on my own dime, it just didn’t make sense. Not to mention Yvon, Metcalf, Luis, Juan, Luther and a slew of other thought-leaders from the greater organizational ecosystem of Outdoor will be there to air out the opportunities for cooperation and collaboration.
Christian Beckwith, the force behind SHIFT, is the former editor of the American Alpine Journal, and co-founder of Alpinist magazine. He is joined by friend and colleague Yoon Kim, who is producing the Outdoor Bloggers Summit in cooperation with SHIFT. I’m attending in support of this new concept in hopes that I can help connect the dots between the silo’d sectors of our recreation economy, as well as encourage diversity and inclusivity to take full advantage of the current trend-winds in our favor. I see it as the key to the future of our industry, nothing less.
To all my friends, colleagues attending Rendezvous next week, I will most certainly be there in spirit and will gladly trade notes afterwards on the highs and lows and everything between to share and better our industry intel, together.
p.s. – there are other relevant B2B and B2C events that are worth considering this Fall… (HEADS UP; SOME ARE INVITE-ONLY)