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  • Bill Petrie

Thoughts at the Speed of 20 Knots

Lessons learned from a test cruise on the Caribbean Sea

The week after Thanksgiving usually signifies the sprint to the final days of the year when everything slows down a bit – personally and professionally. From a work perspective, the week after the long, four-day weekend, we begin to wrap up projects, scramble to hit final deadlines, and start planning for the new year. At brandivate, that was undoubtedly part of last week – but we did those activities from the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

Last week I, along with my friend and business partner, Josh Robbins, did a week-long site visit on a cruise ship as we prepared for the first Promocations event in late April of 2023. We felt it was critical that we invest the time and money to experience the same itinerary, on the same ship, and stop at the same ports to ensure that the first PromoCruise is a game-changing success for everyone who joins us. While we certainly had our share of fun, seeing everything from the inside was essential. This meant we spent a lot of hidden time working, creating content, designing venues, and planning for the event while everyone else on the Liberty of the Seas was on vacation – an interesting juxtaposition, to be sure.

As we sailed back from the Bahamas, I took a few moments to write down my observations from the test cruise. What I found out as I typed away as the ship swayed on the way to Fort Lauderdale is that I learned some valuable lessons during the five-day trip and as this new venture comes to life:

  • Take the Leap – the world is full of ideas and, in my estimation, 90% never move out of that idea stage because people are either unable or unwilling to do the work necessary to make them a reality. Ideas don’t become tangible because you wish them to; they become real due to dedicated time and focused effort. Regardless of the reason, when you have a good idea, take the leap and work to make it happen.

  • When in Doubt, Push Forward – as ideas start to take form, there are many periods of doubt. The easy thing to do when you have qualms, especially in the beginning, is to quit. Instead, look at the reason for your doubts and seek different ways to erase them.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Change – As your vision becomes tangible, don’t be too timid to pivot from your original idea. For example, on the site visit/test cruise, we saw several opportunities to shift venues on the ship for specific events to enhance the overall experience. Don’t be so married to your initial concept that you’re not willing to make changes to improve it.

  • Choose Wisely – Over the past ten years, I’ve had the great fortune of choosing my business partners. To a person, I’ve chosen wisely, and this extends to Josh Robbins. His perspective forces me to view things differently, which makes for a much better product. Even though he’s opinionated, he’s always willing to listen and morph his views. Last, he’s a tireless worker, which I really appreciate.

Building a new company – especially one that’s both challenging and reimagining the way networking has always been done in the industry – isn’t for the faint of heart. While most people see the fun side of things like the support people gave us during the launch and the contests, the excellent merchandise from equally outstanding supplier partners, and the content from the test cruise Josh and I took last week, they don’t see the planning, the investments of time and money, or finding big and small ways to elevate the overall event experience. Candidly, it's okay that people don't see those things. However, just because they aren't seen doesn't mean they aren't wildly important.

Today, Josh is back working on all things Vault Promotions, and I’m doing the same focused on brandivate. So before I dig into the grind that is the end of the year, I’m going to take one moment and be thankful for the experiences of last week while secure in the thought that when the inaugural PromoCruise sails on April 24, 2023, traveling and networking at the speed of 20 knots will be the best experience possible because of the work that was put into the event.

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