BroadSoft Secrets Unveiled: Connections #1
By Michael Tessler, Managing Partner
Connections became THE event every year at BroadSoft. We never expected to create twenty years of memories with our customers, partners, and our employees!
When we organized the first Connections in 2003, we did not know how many people would show up. After all, this was our first event and we were starting out with a handful of customers.
Many of you are familiar with the Connections that we ran at much fancier hotels and resorts that included The Diplomat in Miami, FL.
Our first Connections was held at a very low cost hotel outside of Scottsdale. I think the place was called Chandler. We were quite surprised that we had about a hundred and seventy-five people attend. We were amazed by the number of international guests we had which included a large Australian and New Zealand group.
In fact, we were able to secure a number of sponsors for the event. These were simpler times where all the sponsors got simple tabletops to set up their exhibits. Of course, the first day of the event (like many that came after) started on Sunday with local recreational activities which included one networking activity.
You might be envisioning a vast green golf course or a sunny day by the pool. Instead, we hosted a Jeep Tour in the desert of Arizona. Now, this would have been fun, except for the fact that the executive team (Scott Hoffpauir, Bob Weidenfeller, Scott Wharton, Ken Rokoff, and Greg Callanan) decided to spend the weekend before in Las Vegas. And in true BroadSoft style, we partied all night and then went straight to the airport Sunday morning.
When we arrived at the hotel, the rest of the executive team went to bed. Guess where I ended up? Yep, you guessed it. I was forced to go on the Jeep tour with our guests. I was stuck on this large jeep with a huge hangover. It was hot and bumpy with the extra special stop in the desert to handle six shooters. Each time the gun fired, I thought my head was going to explode!
This was the beginning of the Disconnections tradition. After that first year, we realized that it made more sense to host Disconnections AFTER Connections. Now, that didn’t stop us from having ANOTHER party at the end of the event.
Our guests from Australia and New Zealand we’re especially rowdy. Not surprisingly, a few of them ended up jumping from the Tiki Bar into the hot tub. Wild! Also, special mention to one of our early sponsors, @David Shein (Holly) from Australia who supplied the evenings entertainment which included a comedian and lobster tails from Australia. Many of us still remember those crazy lobster tails to this day.
After the evening event ended, everyone retired to the tiny bar that was next to the pool and started ordering drinks. The only problem was that the bar closed at 1 AM. To work around this, I ordered a hundred shots to be poured and put on the table near the pool. The poor guys were able to close up the bar before our guests noticed.
The party got a little out of hand with most of the guests and our team landing up in the pool fully dressed. I got thrown into the pool with a fleece jacket that Telstra had given a bunch of us as gifts from the event. Obviously, fleece in the pool is not a good idea. I had to take it off before I started to drown. I ended up leaving it at the bottom of the pool. Sorry Telstra!
The next morning, when we checked out, the staff handed me my fleece like it was brand new where it was dried and cleaned. A lot of folks had to get their cell phones and other valuables replaced at the company’s expense. In the following year, as a joke, we handed out baggies so people could put their cell phones in them.
Admittedly, very few of us remembered the content and the program from the event. However, we left with memories of the amazing networking and partying that took place over the two and a half days.
While we created some crazy memories, little did we know this was the start of an experience of bringing together the UC industry in a way that created lasting relationships.
Did you attend that first Connections? What are some stories you remember from BroadSoft’s first Connections? Share your memories and/or pictures with us!