November 18, 2019

The Groundbreak 2019 Buildr Recap Blog

The Groundbreak 2019 Buildr Recap Blog


If you’ve been following our blog, social media, or possess even a casual interest in the construction tech industry, you're likely aware that this year’s Groundbreak Conference occurred on October 8-10th. In the interest of efficiency, here’s the tl;dr version of Buildr’s experience at Procore’s Groundbreak Conference 2019 which took place in Phoenix, AZ:

Day 1: Booth setup then a vendor mingle.

Day 2: GBK!!! Then Buildr's happy hour.

Day 3: More GBK then a Macklemore concert.

Day 4: Booth tear down then Top Golf.

Now for a longer, more fleshed out version—with pictures (buckle up, this will be our bloggiest blog post to date)!

Day 1: October 7th

Upon arrival to the Phoenix Convention Center, the Buildr team went to work on Booth 1135–black backdrop, grey carpeting, a few black tabletops, two iMacs, the classic Buildr plug-in sign. The aesthetic approach was minimalist, a sort of Night Mode version of the Apple Store (a comparison especially aided by those iMacs). A stroll around the conference floor to look at the other booth mid-construction revealed, to our surprise, very little similarities to our own. Most of the booths were maximalist, with accoutrements, colors, and words vying for attention.

Ed, Caleb, and Mike set up Booth 1135 while a Bluetooth speaker blasts Chance the Rapper. Passersby at any given moment of October 7th would assume the Buildr team was unaware that another album was released in 2019 besides Chance the Rapper’s "The Big Day."

Last year, our Buildr booth was smaller in stature, though identical in design. This design includes our snazzy Buildr sign which makes its yearly lurch into daylight like the groundhog of Groundhog Day fame. It really ties the place together.

To further ease the construction process, the Buildr team commissioned their affixed smart TV to play a live feed of Game 3 of the ALDS between the Rays and Astros. Passersby would hear Chance the Rapper and see the game and think “Wow, these Buildr guys are clearly the take-no-prisoners renegades of booth set-up day.”

After setup, the Buildr team walked out into the oppressive sauna that is early-evening Phoenix air to a local bar where a Procore-sponsored vendor cocktail hour was sanctioned. As advertised, there were cocktails, along with popcorn and name tags. The Buildr team caught up with some old friends and made a few new ones. After drinks, the team reconvened at their Airbnb to do final prep before the first day of Groundbreak.

Day 2: October 8th

The Buildr team started the morning early with iced coffee and last-minute adjustments to Booth 1135, including making their liquor cabinet look nice. Another returning motif from last year’s Groundbreak booth aesthetic was free mini-whiskeys. They were a hit for whatever reason.

The Buildr team promoted the consumption of Jim Beam and Fireball for AFTER closeout. “You’ll need it!” Close sources have confided that many of the bottles did not make it past the conference hall, let alone post-closeout.

Conference goers would come in waves throughout the day in between speaking sessions and lunch hours. At times it was overwhelming, especially when folks were just out of hearing range and decided to move on. With just four men on deck, there could only be so many demos going on at once.

Ed, on his 107th Buildr demo of the day, is told that closeout is "not fun."

Following the conference, Buildr hosted a happy hour at a local bar called Blue Hound. Old and new friends joined the team to catch up on the day’s events over an old fashioned or five. There may or may not have been a game of bags (sometimes referred to as “cornhole” in certain parts of Orange County) that went down in which Caleb and Sully lost by 20 points in a game to 21 (pictures redacted).

Day 3: October 9th

After a late night and an early morning, it was time to do it all over again. With a full day of product pitch repetitions under their belts, the Buildr team had their demos down to a science. The only thing working against them was WiFi connectivity problems, but they rolled with it and treated it like a woe-is-me conversation starter with conference patrons who could relate. See also: living in Southern California and talking to a stranger about the rain like you’re both war veterans.

Mike found that group demos were slightly more efficient (200-800% more efficient to be exact) than one-on-ones.

At some point, someone gave the Buildr team a stern talking-to about their whiskey giveaways. Apparently Phoenix has a tighter leash on these sorts of things than Austin (the site of last year’s Groundbreak). “No, yeah, totally,” said Buildr, as they covered the remaining bottles in a tarp while already plotting the GBK19 version of prohibition-era speakeasies.

A new father himself, Caleb freely dips his toes into the waters of dad jokes.

The day ended with a high energy Macklemore concert at a nearby bar where, as fate would have it, Sully and Caleb had lost their bags game not 24 hours prior. There was a really tall guy, lots of chicken and corn, Meg won a dance battle for 25% equity in Procore (promised by Macklemore; no official word on the outcome of this windfall as of yet), a lengthy political trapeze act conversation between songs, and on the TVs indoors one could catch Clayton Kershaw solidify his own legacy against the eventual World Series-winning Nationals.

Macklemore made it very clear that if the whole "musical artist thing" ends up not working out, he'll be working at Procore. Clayton Kershaw might as well also apply.

Day 4: October 10th

The last day consisted of booth breakdown, as there wouldn’t be any conference hall time for guests, followed by some much-needed Phoenix-style Top Golf. The Buildr sign was wrapped and laid to rest once again, its job complete. Overall, the conference was both a blur and a blast—the late nights, early mornings, and  prolific product demos created the phenomenon of the entire experience feeling like one long day, and a very fun day at that. #GBK19 was a rousing success, and Buildr already can’t wait for next year’s conference in New Orleans.