Published on June 11th, 2014 | by Ryan Estes0
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. - Albert Camus
Notes with Rob Auston
We recently won the $10,000 platform prize from Heroku at the LAUNCH Hackathon in San Francisco.
Established September 2013
Please describe a typical workday.
I like to get up early and get in a run or bike ride first thing. I’ll then catch up on some email over breakfast and pick one personal and one business task that I have to get done that day. I usually ride my bike into the office by 10am and work until 7pm.
What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
The biggest challenge is prioritizing everything that needs to get done with limited resources.
What do you find most enjoyable?
I started Auckland Outdoors because I believe that experiences are the most important things in life. At Auckland Outdoors we talk about how it’s not about the things you have, but the things you have done.
I’ve been fortunate to have some great experiences in my life. Everything from hiking the Appalachian Trail for a week to simply doing a nighttime mountain bike ride at Green Mountain in Golden.
What I really enjoy is seeing the smile on someones face the first time they get on a mountain bike or sit around a campfire with friends. This is really what Auckland Outdoors is all about…making it easier for people to have outdoor experiences.Are there any negatives to your job?
There are daily challenges and setbacks of course, but I believe these are the things that make me a better, wiser, and more disciplined leader in the long-term.
How many hours do you work in a typical week?
I’d guess around 60.
Which seasons of the year are toughest in your job?
People in Colorado want to be outside all year round.
How would you describe your business culture?
I don’t think culture is something that needs to be written out and defined. It is really all about one thing…the people you hire.
How much do you work at home?
Just nights and weekends. We have some office space at Thrive in Lodo.
How much vacation do you take?
I was just in China and Japan for three weeks, but that was the first real vacation I have taken in over a year.
How did you get into your line of work?
I was never really interested in technology growing up. I actually studied Economics at the University of Michigan. However, when I went to work for Accenture they sent me off to learn Java for three months and I actually enjoyed it.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I’m not sure, I liked G.I. Joe and Transformers a lot.
What lessons has your work life taught you?
Working at Accenture was probably the most valuable job that I’ve had. I worked in all areas of software development from writing code to project management. This was a great foundation because I understand all the different roles on a project…I’ve done all of them.
I was the first technology employee at Exclusive Resorts and I learned a lot about startups. Being around the founders Brent Handler (Inspirato) and Tom Filippini (NextGreatTrip) for a few years really helped shape who I am today.
My last job was at Vail Resorts where I managed the enterprise integration team. I worked on integrating all the different applications across Vail Resorts and did some of the early prototyping on EpicMix. The most valuable thing was really understanding how the business worked. Specifically, I spent a lot of time in their rental shops, which is really important to what we are doing at Auckland Outdoors.
When do you plan on retiring?
Did you enjoy school?
Not until college.
What kind of student were you?
I wasn’t really that good of a student until I got to Michigan. I’m not sure exactly what changed, but I was fortunate to be surrounded by some really smart and motivated people. I think that rubbed off a bit on me.
How would your classmates remember you?
Umm..I had a lot of fun in college.
Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life?
Not a teacher, but at one of my first jobs I remember one particular manager. I was doing a half assed job of mopping the floor one day and he stopped me and said, “Rob, if you are going to do something, do it right.” For some reason that has stuck with me.
What was the happiest moment of your life?
I don’t have one specific moment, but most of the happiest times in my life have involved outdoor experiences. The most recent was crossing the finish at the Chicago marathon last fall. I felt like I could do anything. I think that is more related to it being my first marathon though. I didn’t quite feel the same when I finished the New York marathon three weeks later.
What is your earliest memory?
Watching the street sweeper go down the street outside my childhood home in Toronto.
When in life have you felt most alone?
The first half of 2012 was probably the toughest time in my life. I was dealing with some really bad back pain and in the span of about three months, my grandmother passed away and I found out that I only had one kidney…oh yeah, my girlfriend broke up with me as well.
What does your future hold?
From an Auckland Outdoors perspective, we are headed to Harbor Springs, Michigan for the summer to join a startup accelerator called Coolhouse Labs. At the end of the summer we plan to raise a seed round to grow the team and help more people have outdoor experiences.
Personally, the next big thing for me is the Marine Corps Marathon this fall in Washington, DC.
Sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from cry’n. Tweet @denverpodcast the worst job you’ve ever had with the tag #myworstjob to register to win a complimentary float from A New Spirit Wellness Center and Spa!
Summary: Auckland Outdoors is a marketplace where you can rent outdoor gear for your next adventure, as well as list your own gear for others to rent.