Boulder Recap

12 09 2007

Before arriving in Boulder for the Climbing Wall Association Summit I came up with a few objectives. While I wasn’t able to accomplish all of them, I think I made progress on the most important ones. Here’s a recap:

1. Understand the Climbing Industry
There were a number of great workshops related to starting and managing a climbing wall which gave me a window into the world of climbing wall management. The presentation given by Dan Hague of Climbing Wall Management (yes that’s a company) was especially helpful. He covered the latest version of the CWA Industry Practices, which is a set of guidelines and best practices in climbing wall management.

One of the drivers of these industry practices and other guidelines is a fear of government regulation. If the primary focus of the summit was on best practices, government regulation was definitely a close second. While I don’t pretend to totally understand this issue, a few workshops on regulations and the legal responsibilities of climbing wall managers were pretty enlightening.

2. Make contacts
This was one of the primary objectives of the conference, so it was really easy to meet a lot of people associated with the climbing industry. There ended up being at least 200 people at the conference, and I was able to get well acquainted with ten or so. I did hand out a few business cards, though not as many as I could have due to the then ongoing quest for a name. I ended up printing business cards for Chisld and HangDog. In the end, I handed out my Purdue business card to most people.

3. Get feedback on my software
I wasn’t able to cobble together a full demo version before heading to Boulder, but I was able to discuss the possibility of partnering with a few sites to test the software. I also talked with a few managers about the concept of climbing wall management software. With few exceptions, everyone responded positively to the idea and chipped in with a few applications of the software that I hadn’t thought of. Quite a few were ready to buy now, and I told them that I’d be in touch once I was ready to begin testing the software.

After everything was said and done, I did end up sending a demo version to a climbing wall manufacturer — but that will be the topic of another post.

4. Look at the Boulder Rock Club, and pick their brain
No dice here, though I did find out a little bit about their management practices second-hand. So I’m still in the dark about how the largest climbing gym in the US manages their operations, but then again they’re not who I’ll be targeting initially.

5. Find out what’s already out there
I was really able to unearth a great deal of information related to the solutions that climbing wall managers are currently using (or trying to use). It seems that the folks at Vertical Relief Enterprises are the only ones at present with a product specifically geared toward climbing walls — but the reviews I’ve heard have been mixed, and I think there’s room for improvement.

Many managers that I spoke with were using one of a few recreation management software systems. FirmPOS seemed to be a popular choice, as did CheckFree/Aphelion. Other software that was mentioned was ClubRunner, FitnessTrax and GymAssistant. One owner was using QuickBooks POS for everything and was desperate for something better. So to summarize, I didn’t find a product that was already doing what I want to do with ClimbPoint — and that’s a good thing.

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3 responses

10 10 2007
Entrepreneurship and Failure « 3 Dogs Software Company

[…] failure a few months ago in regards to ClimbPoint wall management software. As I alluded to in the recap of my trip to Boulder for the CWA Summit, I had the opportunity to send a demo version of my software to a climbing wall […]

29 05 2008
Recap of the CWA Summit « Another Startup

[…] of this month I was in Boulder, Colorado for the second annual Climbing Wall Association Summit. Last year most of my goals for the summit were chosen to help me understand the climbing industry and the […]

26 06 2008
Entrepreneurship and Failure « Another Startup

[…] failure a few months ago in regards to ClimbPoint wall management software. As I alluded to in the recap of my trip to Boulder for the CWA Summit, I had the opportunity to send a demo version of my software to a climbing wall […]

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