The Meeting @ Aspen

  Last Monday, I got to hear TA McCann (founder, RivalIQ) kick off UW’s Entreweek 2014 with a speech on the power of networking (slides here).  He speaks all over the country on entrepreneurship and you can see more of his presentations here on slideshare.

  He also recommended a bunch of useful networking tools for managing contacts like Rapportive, Fullcontact, and Newsle.  I tried all of them out but they’re all currently in Beta, so until they get finished I’m still going to use my excel spreadsheet to manage my contacts…but these sites look really useful so keep an eye on them as they get more mature.  

  He also mentioned something called “The Meeting” in Aspen – apparently it’s a 1-day outdoor industry conference where there are panel discussions and presentations about the state and future of the industry.  The best thing about this meeting is that they post videos to the public, so you too can share in their knowledge!  We just missed the 2014 edition of The Meeting, but you can watch the 2013 videos on Vimeo here.  Here’s an example below, with a panel on “The Strategy of Building, Marketing, and Selling a Brand” with reps from some heavy hitters from the industry like Red Bull and GoPro.  

  At about 20 minutes in, the conversation gets really, really good. 

  More info on The Meeting here at the Aspen Snowmass event site.  Looking forward to this year’s videos and attending in person next year!

Outdoor Industry Research

  If you’re like me and passionate about the Outdoor Industry, you had better be following the latest trade and industry news!

  • SNEWS (Specialty News):  Outdoor Industry, Fitness, Yoga industry news site.  
  • Outdoor Industry Association (OIA): Market research and advocacy for outdoor sports.  Great place for data and numbers and get educated.
  • SIA – Snowsports (Snowsports Industry Association): Snowsports-specific news and market research
  • Jeff Harbaugh and Associates:  Blog by a consultant for the outdoor industry.  His MarketWatch column has been running for like 20 years, and is a great source of info from an insider’s perspective.
  • Grist:  Environmental news.  The fate of the outdoor industry and the environment are linked, and is only going to get more and more important as time goes on.
  • Transworld Business: Boardsports-specific trade news for those of us who like standing sideways.  Amazing resource even if you don’t!

  Works great with news aggregators like feedly!

Three Startups that help you get outside

  Do you love exploring and getting outside, and do you like sharing your passion with other people? Or have you always wanted to do something adventurous, if only you had other people to go with?  I was the latter until I moved down to LA and met some amazing people who took me under their wing and took me outside.  I wouldn’t be snowboarding, rock climbing, or hiking if it wasn’t for some truly amazing friends who taught me how to tie my snowboarding boots, to pull on plastic, and to glissade down from a 12,000′ peak in a trash bag.  These are powerful memories, and I absolutely love helping people get outside.  But until recently, your options for finding adventure buddies were all over the place: you could go to a sport-specific meetup, browse online forums, or go post your name on a bulletin board at a local specialty shop.  Pretty intimidating if you’ve never done this kind of stuff before!

  Luckily, 2014 has brought some new services that might inspire you to make that leap:


    How was this domain name not taken already? provides beautifully curated stories to inspire folks to get outside, but primarily offers adventure travel and guide services.  The site is just getting off the ground, but the growth potential for the adventure/guide services is cool – think of it as a AirBNB for travel and adventure, where you have an option to go with a pro service or stay with a local!  Really could have used a guide in Costa Rica, instead of going there and trying to use my rudimentary Spanish to get from the airport to the mountains.  Downside? They made a great video (above) but the rest of their content is pretty light right now.


   Information, information, information!  Outdoor Project is a one-stop shop to inspire you with trip ideas and to help you plan your next trip…and it’s the most well-designed and functional site out there.  You can get camping fees, driving directions, trip reports, hike duration, permit requirements…everything you need, all in one place, and right up front.  You can add things to a ‘to-do’ list, get detailed maps…the list of features go on and are incredibly useful.  They also add instructional/educational videos – because knowledge is power!


   A startup based out of Denver that describes itself as  “a social network for people who love the outdoors.”  Basically, it’s a way to find adventure buddies!  It’s been successful in building a community in Denver and Salt Lake City, and recently hired a community manager for Seattle.  The advantage of doing this instead of a Meetup is that you don’t have to join a bunch of different Meetup groups for all your activities, you can just see what events are going on and join up (or start your own).  As much as I like Meetup, this is more specific to me and I love the spontaneity.  

Is this the start of the outdoor club? Thoughts on Little Si

  After an invigorating career day at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, a couple of us MBA students decided to go do a sunset hike at Little Si, just off of exit 32 on Hwy 90.  We tore up Little Si in about 40 minutes, and then sat around at the top for a while and watched the sun set over the Olympic Range.  We were hoping to catch the Aurora Borealis, but we didn’t know that there was no way we’d be able to see it.  

  A couple of us are thinking about starting an outdoor industry club here at the University of Washington.  With such amazing companies in the local area and so many opportunities for fun in the outdoors – why hasn’t anyone done this before?  The opportunity to start something new and pass something down to future generations is also extremely tempting and motivating.  We have an Olympic biathlete, a Colorado ski patroller, and a ton of other talented folks with a passion for the outdoors in our midst.  Why not us?  Why not now?


Winter 2014-2015 Outdoor Industry Recruiting/Conferences

You must always be ready to interview, folks!  Photo courtesy of Martin Moreno
You must always be ready to interview, folks!  Photo courtesy of Martin Moreno

  Are you interested in a career in the outdoor industry or action sports?  If so, you might want to check out online resources like Malakye or Outdoorindustryjobs and throw your resume out there.  But we all know that online resume databases can only take you so far, so take it up a notch by going to one of Malakye’s “Shmooz” events – free job fairs for the outdoor industry.  While this isn’t an MBA-specific job path, it’s an opportunity to learn about the industry and get that foot in the door!  And remember, Foster MBA students get up to $300 reimbursed for travel to job conventions, and I think snowboards/skis fly free on Southwest (just saying).  They tend to have these events in conjunction with major industry conventions.  I’ve outlined a list of the conventions where Shmooz events have been held in the past, the scheduled 2015 dates (as they come available), and estimated times when you can register to Shmooz.  

Note:  The Shmooz itself is free, but if you’re not in the media (personal blogs don’t or in the industry, you can’t attend the industry conferences.  You can, however, go do some post-conference networking while enjoying some Wasatch powder.  I’m counting on some forward-thinking snowsports company to do on-mountain interviews.  Somebody get on that!

Winter (check in December):

Agenda (5-6 Jan 2015, Long Beach, CA) 

Categories include lifestyle, streetwear, contemporary, women’s, accessories, action sports, outdoor, footwear, and both surf and skate hardgoods. The show also includes peripheral marketing events, industry parties, and the Agenda Emerge conference. Agenda Long Beach is attended by 10,000+ buyers, media, distributors, and influencers from 49 states and 50 countries. If you are only able to attend one trade show this year, it should be Agenda Long Beach!

Previous year’s Shmooz event info

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (20-24 Jan 2015, Salt Lake City, UT) 

Discover new winter sports products, apparel and gear. This popular outdoor gear trade show featuring the best of the sports market, is held twice a year so leading outdoor industry manufacturers can introduce winter and summer outdoor products. Attracting thousands of buyers, top winter and summer sports manufacturers and the newest innovative outdoor gear, this outdoor market is the place to be! 

Previous year’s Shmooz event info

SnowSports Industries America Snow Show (29 Jan – 1 Feb 2015, Denver, CO)

For six decades, the SIA Snow Show has been bringing the entire snow sports market together in one place, making it the most important trade event for the entire industry. Showcasing the latest trends, innovations, product lines and styles, the SIA Snow Show represents the only global event where over 1,000 brands are presented in an authentic environment both on and off the snow; all powered by the passion and culture of snow sports.

Previous year’s Shmooz event info

Summer (check in June): 

Agenda (TBD July 2015, Long Beach, CA) 

Previous year’s Shmooz event info

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (4-8 August 2015, Salt Lake City, UT) 

Summer Market is committed to delivering the widest and most comprehensive outdoor buyer demographic that has open-to-buy and a passion for the outdoors. Summer Market is the largest outdoor sports show of its kind, and caters to a specialty audience. OR Summer Market takes pride in the outdoor conference offerings – providing education to retailers, reps and manufacturers to improve business.

Previous year’s Shmooz event info

Fall (check in August):

Interbike (September 2015, Las Vegas, NV)

The Largest Annual Gathering of the Bicycle Industry in North America.  The Annual Interbike International Bicycle Exposition is where the bicycle industry gathers to to celebrate, educate and conduct the business of cycling. 

Previous year’s Shmooz event info