Sin City. It’s quite a place. There’s something floating in and around that desert air that attracts fun and… a little mischief. But that’s neither here nor there. Having the Nevada landscape as the backdrop of the second Team Lasso retreat was fitting, to say the least. Chasing sunsets towards the bright lights. Wandering crowded streets and lonely alleyways. Blasting down the highway and creeping down side streets. We saw it all. We did it all. We stayed moving.
This was the second Lasso team retreat. The first was in Joshua Tree earlier this year (although it feels like years ago). Since then, the team has grown in size and our vision has grown with it. If there’s strength in numbers, this is proof. The idea of these retreats is to get us all together as a team and feed off each other’s tangible energy for a few days. Brainstorm, create, discuss and ultimately have a good time as a unit. As long days turned into longer nights, it was admirable to see the motivation and positivity that coexisted amongst the group. There was no weak link. The lack of sleep turned us into machines. We each knew the mission at hand and charged through every sunrise and sunset with smiles (and maybe a few slight hangovers). Every day was an opportunity to Lasso Up and Stay Moving and that's exactly what we did!
The majority of our small-but-growing team rolled into the desert for the retreat. Our two newest members, Brooke and V were back home handling business, as was our king of customer service, Ed. Each of them were rightfully missed and we can’t wait to all be in the same place at the same time sooner than later.
As for the rest of us... we had a lot to cram into the fourish days we were facing and without skipping a beat, got straight to it. We split our time between retreat activities—AKA bro’ing down, making moves, taking over the world—and the PPA Championships at the Darling Tennis Center, which was a few miles away from the Las Vegas Strip. During the days at the tournament, some of the crew would break off to shoot other projects around LV—we truly made use of every second, every day!—while the rest would hold down the Lasso tent to speak with enthusiasts and curious onlookers about Lasso products.
After breaking down the tent for the afternoon following our first full day at the PPA event, we could've easily rolled straight back to the hotel for some rest and recharge, but we were all eager to stay moving. Rob Owens (Lasso COO and Co-Founder) and Partha Unnava (Lasso CEO and Founder) suggested we take advantage of the huge sports park that surrounded the facility we were at and simply play around for 10-15 minutes before heading back to the hotel. We had a football, soccer ball, a frisbee... endless green turf. What more could you need? We took to the field like rambunctious youth messing around before a practice and soon realized we couldn’t stop. Those 10-15 minutes quickly turned into an hour-plus of touch football and I don’t think any of us knew how much fun it would actually end up being. We left a little blood and sweat on the field and all felt like kids again while bonding as a team—separate teams ;)—but a team nonetheless. From there, we chugged a cooler full of CaliWater and then it was showers, jacuzzi and pool time back at the hotel.
After some showers, we found ourselves back in the hotel lobby, which naturally became the meet-up spot. We had our first team dinner that night, enjoyed some food and drinks and soon after hit the streets to scout photo/video locations for our shoot the following night. Our creative team had their eyes and ears on high alert, keenly searching for backdrops and locations to shoot. With that said, our entire team is full of creatives and we really put forth the effort as a crew while scouting. Roaming around the Las Vegas Arts District offered handfuls of great locations and settings, inspiring each of us in different ways. Feeling confident that we were prepared for the shoot, we officially called it quits and eventually got some sleep.
Friday morning came fast. Breakfast and coffee all around. We hopped in our cars and went straight back to the PPA event for another day of cheering. The crowd at the PPA event was starting to fill up as fast as the freeway did that morning. Even our hotel, which was a decent distance from the city center, was getting flooded with groups of wild, neon outfits, as EDC was happening at the same time as our retreat. Yes, that EDC. Somehow we all forgot our glow sticks and pacifiers, but… no harm, no foul. We were on a mission.
It was another successful day at the PPA event and we all enjoyed some time in the pool and jacuzzi once we got back to the hotel. "What's Lasso? What's Lasso?" Walking around with such a powerful group of individuals in matching Lasso shirts quickly caught the attention of the hotel staff and guests and we spread the Lasso love all over. By the second day, we had officially taken over! Soon enough, the group chat was firing and we were all eager to get moving and shooting. Partha's room in 15! is what the text said. As I opened the door, flashes were firing off, furniture was moved and music was already blasting. We all rolled in wearing matching Lasso bomber jackets (out soon!) and immediately felt the vibes. As a team, we were the talent, the creators, the producers—every box was checked.
The night was young.
Friday was the busiest night by far. We immediately got busy shooting a short film and handling a photoshoot with the team in Nev and Partha's room, which had access to the roof outside, then out to old Las Vegas / the Arts District we went.
With three cars and one mission, we hopped in our Lasso Office Simulator (the same place our team meets every morning for our daily stand up) to coordinate how we would be shooting in real time. Teamwork makes the dream work, and this team made it happen. It was insane. It was awesome. It was a huge success. A few close calls with the police didn't shake us a bit. The streets were ours.
It was well past midnight by the time we got our last shot and called it a wrap. It was late, we were all tired, but at the same time, we were fired up. While I assumed I'd sleep like a baby that night, it was quite the opposite. I was just too excited and with a reluctant smile, I accepted it. No rest in Vegas!
Saturday came quick. The long day quickly turned into another long night. After a little wining and dining on the second floor of this rad little Italian restaurant, we hit the Venetian and conquered an Escape Room—truly as a team—before wandering under the flashing lights of Vegas in all of its glamour. I felt like Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation, head out the window, all smiles, taking it all in. After the escape room, half of the team hit the Strip for some late night shenanigans, including Alex and I who basically crawled into the airport early that morning for our before-the-sun-rose flights. Carter was already down in the lobby patiently waiting for coffee as we hobbled in to fetch our shuttle. The Machine (now AKA Dante) needs no sleep!
Sunday's schedule looked a little different for everyone. Some flew home early, some returned rental cars, and some spent a few remaining hours at the PPA event before driving west towards the sunset. Eventually we all departed with the desert landscape behind us in one direction or another.
And that's where this story ends.
Building a brand is one thing. Building a family is another. Trips like this really take us across the boundary from co-workers to true friends, and it's a crazy feeling to experience first hand. They say when you truly love your job, you'll never work a day in your life. If that's true, then it's safe to say I haven't worked a single day since I started. And I don't plan to ;).
Quotes From The Team...
I've never spent five days in Vegas before, and I didn't know how the experience would go. I knew with my team around, we were going to have a great time. Spending the days at a pickleball tournament we were sponsoring and the nights running around the town was a mixture of two totally different sides of culture. The most exciting moment for me was a video shoot we did with the team on Friday night, when we made a movie. We drove around the streets shooting out the back of Scott's truck, and we grabbed some epic shots in an abandoned parking lot. To be honest, my life has never looked more like a music video than it did during this retreat, and I think that's the goal of these things. Live it up, enjoy the moment, and then take something from it to bring back to real life. My takeaway - be yourself to the fullest and let the world figure out how to handle that. People respect individuality.
Our Las Vegas company retreat accomplished many goals for the team. We supported our partners and athletes at the PPA national championships, we captured a bunch of brand content, and we were able to work and move as a team all together. Harmonizing as a group gave us the opportunity to riff off of one another, ideate together and add fuel to the brands mission and goals. As a team we were able to stay moving all weekend to build trust and synchronicity that can be challenging working apart form each other. Moving and acting as a team is absolutely necessary to creating and maintaining a positive brand movement.
Vegas was a go! As we rallied around the PPA Championship at Darling Tennis Center pickleball event, we found ourselves in a world for the most part that doesn’t promote family or friends. The influence of Las Vegas was not going to keep Lasso from being the family that we are. We are fortunate enough to have added  people to the Lasso family. Ryan, Alex, V., and Brooke. Although V., and Brooke could not make the trip, they were there in spirit and text. As the pickleball event was built around the art of teamsmanship, rallying and winning, so too was our retreat. Through the long hours, the moments of victory and customer connectivity, our Lasso family was able to lock arms and stay the course through it all. Our team growth was greatly magnified at breakfasts and dinner, and we connected in a friendly game of “Touch Football”, utilizing our strengths as we do in our business life. At the end, it was high fives and great memories forged by the Lasso crew. Did I mention we made a movie?! Take THAT! Additional notables are the updated nicknames for the crew: Partha AKA “Butterfly” | Scott AKA “Valid Viking” | Rob AKA “Deebo” | Anthony AKA “Finisher” | Sri AKA “Lil Shug” | Brian AKA “B-RIP” | Caleb AKA “Doug” | Ryan AKA “Ghost” | Alex AKA “Shooter” | V AKA “L” | myself AKA “Dante” and Brooke to be determined.
Movement is progression. Movement is power. Movement is LIFE. Lasso is life.
That is Lasso… More than gear.
One of the coolest things on this trip for me was to meet the new members of our creative team & be a part of experiencing their visions come to life in real time.
The team photo and video shoot was sick! I love that we are doing things our way! Our brand image and narrative in our product category is unmatched and continuing to evolve.
As a team, we really did an amazing job of working together across all aspects of the retreat. We normally work apart from each other but to see us come together physically was awesome. We’re just a vibe. What can I say?
Vegas for me was an introduction, a birth, a new beginning. Joining a team of people who I would rapidly find to be some of the most genuine, kind, honest and like minded individuals I’ve ever met. To share a common goal of building something. The sense of community and shared vision allows me to excel at what I am capable of far beyond what I had imagined.
Vegas was more than a trip, it was the start to a new chapter in my life.
Lasso did Vegas right! I unfortunately cut my participation short on what was an amazing time with the Lasso Crew, but the time I got to spend with them was a blast. We arrived Wednesday evening and had a great dinner to welcome the crew to Nevada before getting into some shenanigans back at our hotel.
Thursday was our first day at the PPA Championships. We set up shop to show off our socks and educate people about our awesome compression technology and #StayMoving mantra. In between those sessions, we got to cheer on our Lasso athletes with Jay Devilliers and Anna Leigh Waters as they made their way down into familiar territory deep in the tournament ladders. We wrapped up day one a little early with a quick pick-up football game that really brought out all of our competitive spirits. Back at the hotel, the sell continued as we spoke to other guests lounging poolside about our socks as they noticed the matching Lasso jackets taking over the grounds. A little later we broke bread again (after getting mixed up on which restaurant we were going to) and took a walk down Vegas' artsy Old Town District. We ran into some crazy cool graffiti and ended up crashing a local party in an eclectic tie-dye shop (maybe finding some inspiration for some future socks?) Overall it was a great time for my brief appearance and can't wait for the next one.
The Lasso family went to Vegas to spread the Stay Moving Mission. We were able to connect with the Pickleball community and participate in the intensity of the competition. We gave away over 100 pairs of socks to the community and automatically took over the tournament. Then we took over Old Vegas to Stay Moving. Overall, a blessed trip.
The most memorable day for me was the photo/video shoot night. For me, that was my first time going through a production like this as a "model". I've been around a few in the past but never in one. There was a moment during the shoot where I was watching members of our team expressing themselves through the clothes they were wearing and their personal interests coming out in different mediums. This was a new way to have fun. Most of the team goes through these types of events and I was really happy to be a part of it. One of the funnier moments was when we were driving around old Vegas and realizing we were about to pass a cop with Alex in the back of Scott's car.
The biggest success we achieved team building-wise was our pick-up football game. At first, it started off as a random touch football game but as we started playing you could see teams beginning to come up with strategies to exploit weaknesses with each team. Watching players exceed expectations and others pushing through bumps/bruises and slight injuries.
Having Lasso on everyone's minds after the tournament. We accomplished a wonderful execution of one of our first full team events. It was awesome building out the items we needed for the event. As well as the whole team backing each and everyone on the team in the heat of a battle.
The main highlight of my trip was getting the chance to break the work-from-home cycle and spend time with the people who I exchange work with every day.
I loved it all. Even though this recap was written from a wider scope—from a more personal perspective, I really enjoyed every second of it. Reconnecting with the team, having the chance to work and hang with our new team members, wandering the streets and moving non-stop. All the conversations by the pool, all the dinners, the visible teamwork at the PPA event and anything we were generally doing—we have a great team and everyone is clearly here for one another. Shooting on Friday was a major highlight. It's fun to confidently do things our own way and see the results. Sneaking on the roof. Turning heads everywhere we went in our matching kits. It was non-stop energy and I wouldn't have changed a thing. Here's to screaming louder in 2022!