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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Company Christmas Party

I love that new commercial they show during football games where the guy backs over another car and he and his girlfriend start fighting, and they each turn into the other's perfect 10 mate, and she's like - 'oh, this is what you want. I'm perfect the way I am....etc...". It cracks me up.

We had our first company Christmas party on Friday, and it was pretty cool. I'd guess 70 or so people, many driving over a hour each way to get there. Probably a 1/4 of the attendees had never been to the sticks of Eldred NY.

It wasn't a party for our homeowners, it was a party for our team - and pretty much the whole team showed up for beer, wine and food at Baker's Tap Room.

I mean the guy who makes our reflective 911 signs at the Ambulance Auxillary, the guy who puts our gutters up, the cleaning company, 4 reps from our electrical company, 5 from our plumbing company, our architect and his friend who he must have paid to act like his girlfriend, the president of ProBuild Lumber, the President of Jeff Bank, the county Planning chairman, and really just about everyone who makes the Catskill Farms clock tick - too many to shout out by name or trade. It was a real tribute to our efforts.

Some of the people there have been with me for 5 or 6 years, since we were just a little company, barely surviving, taking the knock-down punches on a weekly basis, uncertain which would be the final blow that put us on the mat for good.

There's a large sampling to choose from - lack of money, world-wide real estate crash, some instances of just plain insanity from a few of our clients, vendors/employees/tradesmen who let us down or frankly just screwed us, interest rate increases, construction insurance, real estate taxes, lack of help, computer system meltdowns, impossibility of financing homes during 2009, or just keeping control of a fast growing business- and that's the stuff I can come up with quickly. A couple of the real good ones can't even be mentioned because of their delicacy and lingering raw feelings.

One of the secrets to our business is the fact that I like building a team as much as I like building and designing homes, or selling these homes to amazing people. The reward for me watching our team grow, mature, get better, execute more precisely, -watching the individual efforts grow and become broader in perspective.

At the end of the night, Janice my assistant asked me I got a lot of pictures. I mean, I'm a big picture taker, especially of events like this. But I hadn't even lifted my camera all-night - it just seemed pointless to try to capture the sense of the ambition, journey and accomplishment that this party signified. It's one of those occasions where a picture cheapens the reality by being unable to capture the essence of the moment.

So, here's to 2010 - a historic achievement against all odds. Kind of the same as 2009. I guess I shouldn't forget to mention 2008 was kind full of headwinds as well.

Someday, when we get some economic tailwinds, then watch out- then we will really be something to watch.

Wife's out of town with Lucas. I got to get back to Call of Duty: Black Ops.

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