I’ve been waiting for a long time to make this podcast for you. This is Kristin Carpenter-Ogden, and it’s pretty late on a Tuesday night here at Outdoor Retailer 2016 in Salt Lake City. It is almost midnight, and I–tonight was the night I did Pitch Fest. And because I have allocated so much time on my content streams over the past six weeks, I thought it would be very meaningful–I hope it’s meaningful for you. It’s meaningful for me to let you know how it went because it’s over now. And honestly, I’m safely tucked back in to my hotel room and–what an amazing experience. This is going to be a short solocast. It’s almost, like, it’s not really, like, a breaking news story, but it kind of is. And as an ex-journalist, I love that.
So I would like to just start to talk about just the weight that has been lifted off my shoulders after this pitch was done. And when I read about companies who are doing upwards of 200 to 300 pitches to VCs and different entities because they are so driven to make their idea work–I mean, I’ve only done one. I just wanted to throw it out there first and foremost–wow. I have nothing but respect. This was a humbling experience that was amazing, and I would not trade it for anything. But wow. You know, you’re out of your comfort zone, and good Lord, like, let’s do something that scares us everyday. Like, we love to read those things and experience it and feel like that’s us, but when you’re really in it like I have been, it’s a lot.
And when I say, like, I have been, it’s nothing like–this is a first world problem, big time. I’m just so fortunate to have Verde and my employees, number one, and I love what I do. Our clients are amazing, and all of that. But this opportunity that Deanne Buck and the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition, now called CAMBER–awesome rebranding, by the way. Yeah, it was an incredible opportunity. But I just want to be completely straight up. It was also a bit excruciating because as passion-driven entrepreneurs, we take these things so personally, don’t we? We really go as far and long as we need to to bring out dream to fruition. I’m tired, I’m sure you can hear that in my voice. And yeah, okay, here’s how it went down.
All right, so I got there at about 11 this morning, 11:30. The event didn’t start until 1:30 so there was a lot of pacing around. And again, it was great. I’m not at all complaining, but all of us were just feeling nervous. The rehearsal that we had on Monday night was not the best. I think that we all were in our heads a little bit too much. And we got up there and we did what we did, and I’m very, very grateful that we did it because we’re able to actually, like, be in the venue and understand what it’s going to be like in the microphones and all that. Great. Always, always do that if you can. But the next day when the actual event happened, they threw this amazing introduction with some very powerful drummers, and it was an incredible experience. Frankly, the room was standing-only. It was a very perfect size room. It wasn’t small, it wasn’t big, it was perfect. And the acoustics were awesome, it was very powerful.
And there were eight of us sitting there in this, like, on deck, waiting to go. And they split it into four. So the first four of us went, and then the second four of us went. And there was a break in between. I thought it was pretty funny, being the Outdoor Industry Women’s Collision. At the break, the bathroom line was literally almost around the corner. Like an amusement park, right, but that is just the way it goes, I suppose. But we started at 1:30, and we ended it 4:00 sharp. They were very good. The emcee was fantastic, everything was great. But I had to sit there for a good 2 1/2 hours enjoying my peers’ pitches, but also just trembling around my own.
And this is what I did to keep myself where I needed to be, okay? Because I knew a lot of you listening may have been there or will be there around pitching. And it occurs in boardrooms, one-on-one, at coffee shops, etc. Or a pitch fest. So what I did is I literally would just–I’d get all in my head and I’m watching things I’m not even really in my body now. I’d say, “Okay, pull it together and be present.” And I would look around and I would just feel this sense of gratitude wash over me. And I’d look at this crowd, and every single person in the crowd wanted us to win. They wanted us to succeed, and it’s really the truth. So the second I was able to connect with our people like that, it actually wasn’t that scary.
But then I would watch another person go, and I’d be like, “Oh, I get in the future, I get in the past, and I would freak out again.” And I would just correct myself in the center. And once I got back into the present moment, it was all okay. I’m not kidding. You should try this. I’m not perfect at it, but it really helps so much. It’s just, “Okay, I’m here now, and this is an awesome experience. I’m stoked to be here.” And as I said, everybody was just wanting us to win. And it’s very true. So I finally got up there. And I definitely did a lot better than I did in my rehearsal. I even had fun, and that was my goal. But at the same time, there was a part of me that I just–my mother used to say before I even understood watch she meant–you’re your own critic.
This is a very real podcast, not scripted whatsoever. And again, I’ve been waiting for weeks to share this with you. Like, the second I did it, I wanted to get back in front of you and share this. I definitely am my own critic, best worse etc. But okay. So I’m out there in front of them, and I did my five-minute pitch, and the questions I got, those were the hardest part, okay? So I value every single panelist and judge’s feedback. Everybody who asked a question, it was an exceptional question, I was stoked, they were interested. Great, great questions. And apparently, I’m not charging enough for what I’m doing. And that’s tough when you’re serving entrepreneurs. But that was a big, big takeaway for me. And that was the main one.
But at the same time, I get a sense that I don’t know if my–what I’m doing for a business model necessarily fits with what the CEO of REI or the former CEO of backcountry.com or–I mean, it was a–all-star panel of judges. My thing might not fit into that because mine is truly a passion-driven business. And I don’t necessarily feel I need to scale. I wanted just do good work. And that’s okay for right now. It may evolve into something else. So I value their feedback, but at the same time, I definitely feel like I understand where I can go with this. And I’d love to hear your feedback, frankly, dear audience, like, what is it you want to see more of? That’s what I would love most right now is to hear from you. And I’m just going to throw this out there right now.
Like, if you could send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what is it you want to learn more about and what can I do, that would be the biggest takeaway out of this whole thing. Because honestly, my seven colleagues who pitched have scalable businesses that could reach to the point of the size and REI eventually. And mine maybe could, too, but I’m more in it for creating an impact and creating a support mechanism for our industry’s growth because this industry is giving me everything that I love in my career, and I want to give back. That may not be the most–the approach is going to win me the most revenue or profit, I get it, but at the same time, it’s heartfelt, it’s passionate, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart and soul.
So just know the experience was amazing, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. One of the hardest things for me, honestly, was at the end of the event, the judges gathered and they pulled together all their feedback. And I’m just going to share this with you, and it’s not, like, my most shining moment. But they gathered their feedback together, and then Jill Layfield who was an amazing tech entrepreneur hopped up on that stage [inaudible] again and was, like, “Okay, we’re going to share best and worst–not worst–best and here’s what you can work on for each company.” And for Intrepid, it was good [inaudible], you’re supporting entrepreneurial innovation, which I will do for as long as I am breathing. This is so important.
The thing I could improve on was figuring out a way to scale something that’s scalable–a way to make money. I get it, I totally do get it. And my mentor even said maybe that should be a non-profit. And honestly, I’m open. I’m just being really raw with you guys. I put so much into this. My day job with Verde, it’s not a day job. It’s also consuming me. But when I think of Intrepid and what it can bring back to our markets, I can’t not work on that, too. So to me, it should be about the money more than it is. To me, it’s about making an impact and continuing to further this amazing market that I’m in. And, yeah. My takeaway around what I can improve was come up with a better way to make money, basically.
It was worded a little more harshly, and that’s okay. But I know they had their heart in the right place, and it was busy, etc. But it was a bit of a heartbreaker, so I just am going to leave you with that. And if you have anything to share on that, I would sure love it if you’d reach out to me because honestly, this is a moment of reckoning for me. Not negative, not positive. I’m just looking at it as I have energy to provide, to create positive results. And dear audience whom I adore, if you want to choose to share with me how I can make it better, I’m all ears. Okay.
So overall, that was the whole thing that I went off to the Verde company dinner, Colorado state happy hour. All these things were great, but I have to tell you, the whole thing is I look back on it now having a little bit of time between when it finished and now. An amazing experience, and something I will support for the duration of my career was an amazing experience, for sure. It was a fabulous program. But wow, is it a lot of work. I just can’t not do the minimum. I have to do everything I can. So looking at my average time in the day etc., the fact that I’m a mother etc., I have to be very judicious about where I spend my time. So I want to hear from you. Where do you want me to spend my time. If you want me to do something that I’m not doing now, or less of something or more of something, it sure would be fabulous for me to hear from you right now.
And just know I’m not going anywhere because this podcast is my favorite part of what I do. I want to enable you to discover the amazing, creative brains in our market. So I’m going to continue to do that. But at the same time, I’m in a bit of an inflection point. and I bet a bunch of you who have pitched or are getting ready to might understand exactly where I am, and I love that I went through this experience so that I could be there with in the trenches, frankly. But I would give you feedback if you ask me, and I sure would love to get your feedback. So thank you so much for being here and for choosing to listen to this. I know you’re busy.
And just know this is a very humbling podcast to record. I spent so much time trying to do right by the outdoor industry and the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition now called CAMBER. Great organization, honored to be a part of it and in the PitchFest, however, I just want to hear from you what you want to hear from me, frankly, what can I provide to you that’s most important, where you [inaudible] so that I can recalibrate and understand where I should focus and make this exceptional for you. That would be great. Thank you so much. And I appreciate your listening and tuning in. And know that just like you, I’m experiencing the highs and the lows. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 20 years in these markets, and it’s literally peppered with highs and lows, lots of risk management, nothing that isn’t like a great thing to be involved in. like, awesome, here I am.
But sometimes, it’s tough, and tonight’s one of those nights. And that’s a great thing, too, is [inaudible] opportunity, so. You would take some time and to share with me what you’d like to see. I would sure love to provide that back to you.
Thank you so much, and until next time, everybody. And I’ll do this too, I promise. I’m not BS-ing you. Go big.