Catalyst 2015 Las Vegas Trip

Dan DeSmidt -

My girlfriend, Ruth, and I just drank a jug of table wine. Right now “we” apparently is a strong statement, so for the time being lets just say I find myself utterly content and “crows feet” happy when I hear her laugh at the story I am about to divulge to you. For those who do not know, the body language that indicates somebody is truly glad is not shown in the actual smile but by the crow’s feet at the corner of their eyes. That’s a nifty way you can tell if somebody really thinks you are funny or not. I digress…
My bosses pulled me into their office roughly two weeks ago and informed me that I had been doing so well that they would be adding on to my responsibilities and bringing me along with them on a business trip to Las Vegas. Needless to say I was ecstatic. To be honest, I had never been to Vegas nor had I ever actually gone gambling before, but by noon the following Monday I had accomplished both. Amid the choreographed water shows and the rattling craps tables, roughly 300 executives for some of the largest ecommerce companies in the world were trading business cards and sharing laughs. Good thing I packed my Versace shades. This was an education and I was taking notes.
Several keynote speakers including Robert Herjavec and Scott Wingo illustrated the headwinds that Internet retailers like us will be experiencing in upcoming months. They revealed retailing trends and innovative ways to leverage the use of mobile devices to better understand our customers. They encouraged young CEOs to burn ships and then test the waters around them…
… Looking back, I am not sure if you had those in the right order, Rob, but I still enjoyed the speech ;)
We saw friends from other companies succeed and we made new connections that will ultimately help our company grow. We learned innovative ways to make your shopping experience convenient and enjoyable. We worked hard. Several companies came together and threw a party at the Drais Night Club where women in leotards danced around in giant floating beach balls while CEOs argued business strategies over mai tais. I learned from the best how to shoot the shit with influential business owners and even got to cut a rug alongside a few. 
It’s funny how millionaires can be just as terrible at dancing as the rest of us, but it is true. The next day 300 plus hungover executives scrambled out of bed to furiously scribble down more presentation notes while chugging coffee. We had one final "networking lunch" and before you know it we were back at the Proozy headquarters putting what we learned to the test.
All in all it was a fun trip. It was an intense trip. My first business trip was filled with ecommerce compatriots that live and die to provide the best service they can, some of which while still dressed in Oakley bikinis at the edge of a pool. When I unpacked at home later that week, I noticed that my myriad Ralph Lauren t-shirts and reebok superior polos were as worn out as I felt and it reminded my of a quote from one of my favorite musicians.
“Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been.”—Jimmy Buffett.

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