The most embarrassing first event of the Summit was the Inside Account
Views expressed by Entrepreneur Collaborators are their own.
Image Credit: Summit Group. Image from a long time after the events described in this article.
As a new entrepreneur with almost zero connections or resources, I’m frustrated for a group of other entrepreneurs associated with me. So I called 20 entrepreneurs who reluctantly agreed to come to the ski trip I was offered to host. This is the first story related to it Summit Event – A small meeting with 3,000 people over the next decade growing to more than 250 events and it will change my life.
But in the beginning, I knew I needed to show people a good time. It’s not easy.
I landed in Salt Lake City on a crisp, clear Friday afternoon in April 2008 – just two hours before my guests. I rented Suburban and went to a convenience store to pick up some snacks for their arrival and for the first time in my life proudly bought beer.
By the time I got home to unpack everything seemed to be set. I now have beer in the refrigerator and it looked like a mountain of snacks on the table. And this Is A mountain of snacks for one person. This weekend we will probably have a night of beer, I guess, And everyone has one.
When guests started coming in, I kindly visited the rental house for each new person who came.
“There are no plans this weekend,” one guest told Joel Holland as we headed into the kitchen. “The idea is for everyone to get to know each other. A big party all weekend! I proudly opened the refrigerator door to reveal twenty-four beer cans.
A beer case? Twenty people? It is, Joel thought, One Hell of a Party is going.
Beer has historically proven to be an excellent social lubricant in uncomfortable settings for young people, and those 24 cans almost disappeared as soon as guests found out they were sharing rooms with strangers.
What anyone could feel at this point was a deep sense of nausea.
Ricky Van Wein and Josh Abramson from College Humor immediately eased all the inconvenience and decided it would be fun to create more. When the group piled up in a few cars and went to a high-end restaurant where our mom scouted for dinner, Ricky and Josh were already making a plot.
The crowd gathered around a long table, putting me on the head. When I got up to go to the bathroom, Ricky and Josh quickly told everyone their plan: they would hand me a white card to put in front of me when I sat back down. They asked the rest of the group to play.
I came back to the table and sat in his seat, and gave the Maitre D ‘award-winning performance. “So sorry,” he said remorsefully, gently placing the note in front of me. He was very sincere and it was clear that there was a problem.
“Elliott, what is it?” Josh grew up.
“I just got a weird card,” I said.
“What does it say?”
Your attire does not fit the standards of the club and we request that you change it immediately.
“Oh, you have to change,” someone called.
“I have no extra clothes in the car!”
“Well, where’s the nearest store you can buy?”
“I do not know.”
“But you Have Change. ”
“What’s wrong with my clothes?”
“Look at your shirt. This is not fair. ”
“This is a button down shirt. Same type You Wearing. ”
“It simply came to our notice then I do not know Same. See Color Your shirt! ”
This continued until every inch of my dress completely parted to the shape of my collar. My frustration increased until everyone burst out laughing.
I closed his eyes and laughed reluctantly. Then I started laughing along the table. At that moment all the tension that had accumulated from where everyone came from came out. Lively conversations grew around the table and everyone began to relax until the evening and connect on a deeper level.
It was a better bonding experience than I thought. After that no one wanted to share the bedroom with others. There was so much to rehearse and laugh at, at my very expense. With the exception of more snow and less poison ivy it looked like a summer resort.
The next day, everyone hit the slopes. Sam Altman, the future president of the Y Combinator and the founders of Vimeo and TOMS shared stories of their struggles. They are learning about each other’s best business practices and how to balance work with their personal lives. Each one sheds light on past failures and what can be learned from them. By the end of the weekend, everyone is familiar with everyone’s businesses and the articles that make them up. Some of the guests even started a lifelong friendship.
But maybe I learned the biggest lesson of all. Most people are afraid to throw an event, set up a meeting or even send an important email – unless it’s perfectly designed – you should not leave yourself out unless everything is flawless.
I realized in that moment that the most important quality of being at an event is the space for the unplanned – the room for the naturalness and randomness that creates sparks. This is the difference between the most polished apple you can find in the supermarket and the slightly injured organic that fell from the tree. Brush it and the roadside apple taste will be infinitely better.
Just as I mercilessly picked up the phone to call people, I threw up following an event that even my friends thought was insane trying to host – and now I have 20 new friends. At all.
In fact, they really liked me.
When my guests left the mountain, they asked me if he would arrange another meeting for everyone on the road for six months. This idea never occurred to me; I could not withdraw even a single weekend and it would take him months to pay off my credit card debt. After I said goodbye to the staff, I got a phone call Good luck The reporter asked how things were going. As the call ended, the reporter asked one last question.
“So, what’s the name of your event?” Asked the reporter.
I did not feel the need to name a ski trip. Why should I name the trip? My name is not for meeting with friends on the weekend, so how is it different?
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You hosted an event. What’s in a name? ”
“It simply came to our notice then. It actually has a name. . . ”
“Okay, what’s that?”
I looked at the North Face jacket I was still wearing from the weekend and read the words from the sleeve.
Excerpted from the book Do not make small plans: lessons like thinking big, dreaming and building a community By Elliott Bisno, Brett Lev, Jeff Rosenthal and Jeremy Schwartz. Copyright © 2022 Elliott Bisno, Brett Lev, Jeff Rosenthal and Jeremy Schwartz. Published by Currency, the printing arm of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.