On January 13, promotional products business and sales software provider commonsku (PPAI 522077) hosted its sixth annual skucon conference in conjunction with The PPAI® Expo at Las Vegas’ Keep Memory Alive Center. Targeting “innovators, explorers and dreamers” in the promotional products field, skucon drew more than 300 industry professionals to the one-day event.

“We are so thankful for the entire lineup of speakers, sponsors and to the community for gathering together to share in an experience that not only celebrates the success of the entrepreneur, but also encourages each other to strive for real innovation,” says Mark Graham, commonsku’s co-founder and chief platform officer. “skucon has become a unique story simply because of the caliber of professionals who thrive at the edge of inspirational change and then openly share their passions and experiences with each another. We couldn’t be more proud to play a small part in gathering this incredible tribe together.”

commonsku is releasing all of the content from the 2019 skucon conference on its blog, with a new video published each week. The first installment features opening speaker and former PPAI board member Larry Cohen, CAS, of Axis Promotions. Cohen, who started his business from his kitchen table and grew from $1 to over $50 million in annual revenue, cautioned his audience to be careful how they define success. “How you define success and failure is critical to winning, psychologically and monetarily.” He adds, “‘Recognize that we are in an industry with so many opportunities. We can minimize rejection if we’re smart and strategic.”

A new feature introduced this year were 10-minute segments called “skucon stories,” during which Gillian Hammond with BrandFuel, Inc., Kevin Mullaney with Brandito, Steve Rone with SnugzUSA and Britney Godsey with Gold Bond, Inc. shared stories from the trenches. Also, at skucon, Pierre Martichoux with Chameleon like co-hosted a conversation with Bobby Lehew of commonsku, “Inside the Mind of the Creative Agency Entrepreneur,” which explored what it meant to be a true agency to your customers. Panelists included Kat Magner with Canary Marketing, Lee Fine with juice marketing and Yvonne Lyngass Zeeman with Monarch and Company, and the topics ranged from creative consultation and partnerships to the true DNA of a promotional agency.

Eric Granata with ROBYN took attendees on a journey through advances in tech frontiers as it relates to promo including the Internet of Things, virtual reality, 3D printing, AI and more.

Jay Busselle and Charity Gibson and the Promochat team brought the water cooler conversation from Twitter into a live experience with a rapid-fire round of questions answered from the audience.

Andy Thorne and Sarah Penn from Outstanding Branding shared how to “Dream Beyond Borders and Build a Global Brand.” With offices in Amsterdam, London and New York, “Team OB” shared the ups and downs of building a brand that transcends countries and presented to the North American audience the potential of growing big and thinking beyond borders.

Luke Freeman of Wizard Creations took the audience on the roller coaster of risks and failures, inspiring the audience to try and try again. From his experiences on The Apprentice, Shark Tank, Billion Dollar Buyer and more, Freeman shared the key to thriving amid the woes and wins and mostly, how to fail forward until you finally succeed.

To close the day, Ryan Moor from Ryonet and Allmade challenged conventional wisdom and charged attendees with thinking outside the box and creating their own niche. “Be true to your core, serve first, be worth following, creative experiences and mostly,” said Moore, “go big and don’t stop.”