Repeat Attender: Why I Keep Going Back

The Mountain Lab's Scott McGuire explains why he can't stop, won't stop, going to Rendezvous.

By Allison Woods October 27, 2015

Ever wonder who goes to Rendezvous? Everyone from CEO to newly hired retail employee, with a sprinkling of invited guests, and a dash of random outdoor industry people. Why do they go? What do they expect? What do they take away? We asked them, starting with The Mountain Lab’s Scott McGuire, whose been going to Rendezvous for years. Here’s why he keeps going back.

OIA: Tell us about yourself. What’s your story?

Scott McGuire: I am a consultant–one of those folks arrogant enough to believe that their background and experience is broad and deep enough that others want to pay to access that knowledge. I’ve spent 20+ years in the industry, from early days as a retail employee/guide/dirtbag, then sales, marketing and product roles. I’ve worked in startups and for industry giants. Today, I run The Mountain Lab, a small brand strategy consulting business. We are go-to fixers for brands that need a solution beyond their wheelhouse.

OIA: Why do you go to Rendezvous?

SM: The first reason I go is for the connections—at Rendezvous, you have the time and space for those meaningful conversations with peers that you simply don’t get at the trade shows. Second, I find it a great place to take the temperature of the industry. How are other leaders seeing its current and future state? Is the general tone one of optimism or concern, and what’s the basis for that? This is a key point of insight as we work on strategies, and it helps us understand some of the C-suite mindset. Finally, it’s to be inspired. I find that being at Rendezvous shifts my mind away from the day-to-day and into thinking about the “what could be.” This is essential for thinking critically about the long-term needs of the industry and our clients. I come away not fulfilled with gained knowledge, but with an extensive list of follow-up reading and research. Rendezvous injects this motivation into my daily life, and the aftereffects linger for months.


Rendezvous 2016 is happening in Denver, Colorado. There’s still time to register.

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OIA: What you’re still thinking about from Rendezvous?

SM: There is always work to be done to better our space. I use an iPad to take electronic notes of every session I attend. Then I schedule time to go back and look them over every few weeks. By going through this process, I find I keep finding nuggets of wisdom to focus on well after the event is over.

OIA: What could there be more of at Rendezvous?

SM: I’d like to see more programs where there are smaller groups in “think tank” mode around the industry and then the capacity to share this back out to the group. I find that having several hundred highly passionate people about our industry in one space is a great catalyst for dialogue on potential, and it would be nice to capture some of these conversations.

OIA: If you could have any other job in the outdoor industry, what would it be?

SM: While I love the exposure to different programs, business and structures that are presented when consulting, I do also miss the deep connection to a single brand’s development, from team-building to seeing a brand come to life through all stages of development. Leading a brand is definitely on my radar, whether it’s stepping back into an existing opportunity, or creating my own from the ground up.

Rendezvous 2016 is happening in Denver, Colorado. There’s still time to register.

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