I wake up every darn day and do something I love, and while I think Confucious is a darn liar, because it is still work some days, I am surrounded by things that make me happy and people who make my life better. Today, instead of talking about numbers, marketing, or something that is making me unhappy in our industry, I want to say thanks to a great many people. To Travis S, Paul B, and Steve E - Many years a babytailer attending his first GAMA sat at a empty chair at the front of a GAMA dinner. Little did he know that the table he sat at was populated by the GAMA Retail Board, but sitting in that chair was the best thing I've ever done. You took this babytailer in during that show, and have been mentors and friends since I first got to meet you. You have each, in some way, made my business better. You have been the source of laughter and joy in the time I have known you all, and GAMA is better because of the three of you. It has been a pleasure to serve with you, and I look forward to building on your phenomenal work of these last four (five) years. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.
To Cole O - The first true partner I feel like I had in this business. Your passion for our industry and knowledge of our products has helped me to be a better retailer, and your friendship has value beyond numeration. Congratulations on all the exciting things that happened for you in 2017. Merry Christmas my friend, and here's to an amazing 2018.
To John W, Angela W, Patti B, Dominique T, Ian H, Kelly H, and Jessica B - Thank you all. Through the work you each do with GAMA you have made this industry a more pleasant place to do business in so many ways. It has been amazing getting to know you each over the last year, and as GAMA grows more and does more, know that it could not be done without each and every one of you. I hope this holiday brings you all happiness, and I look forward to another successful year in everything we all set out to do. Merry Christmas.
To Travis Parry, Keith Boyle, Gary Sprouls, and Rebecca Clark - I hear I'm supposed to get all kinds of animosity thinking about my nearest competitors, but you are more than competition. You are colleagues and inspirations. Together we have built a gaming community in this state that rivals any other in the country. I thank you for pushing me to be better, and Merry Christmas. To Jenna P - Thank you for putting on one heck of an amazing show every year! I look forward to my trip to the midwest every darn year to laugh with you and yours. I also love my new coffee mug, which I'll bet was your brainchild. Merry Christmas to you and yours. To Mike W, Marc A, Emily E. and Matthew B - Our companies may have had some rough patches, and if I don't say it enough, I respect the work you all do, and those rough patches are long past. Matthew has become an amazing rep, and it is my joy to call you three partners in my business. In 2018 I'm going to show up in time for the BBQ. Merry Christmas.
To Jeff Tidball - Your professionalism and enthusiasm for what we do is a joy to watch. Thank you for sharing your time and talents with this industry through both Atlas and GAMA. Your willingness to share your thoughts and ideas, and to listen to those of other people, is what this industry truly needs to be built upon. Merry Christmas, Jeff. To Jules, Ruby, Carol, Bryan, and Aman - The more people I get to know at CMON, the more I love you guys. Having CMON move from a company that, I felt, sometimes worked against the interests of my business, to a company I think of as a trusted partner, has been one of the great joys of 2017. I look forward to continuing to work to sell your amazing products within my precious four walls. Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you all. To Justin Z - Thank you for beautiful unpainted minis that have done so much revenue I feel like I should send you some chocolate for Christmas. Not only is your company providing me top-notch products, but your guidance in how people should deal with one another has been invaluable to our industry. Thank you for your time on the GAMA board, and for making us all better. Merry Christmas. To Anne-Marie - Watching you work is a singular joy. I can see the tension leave people as they interact with you, and feel it myself, and it's amazing. Thank you for always sharing your concerns in a way that makes them make perfect sense, and thanks for being open to the solutions and seeing if they can work for you.
To Charles A - I think I lost our bet, sadly for both of us I imagine. Remind me I owe you $2 when we get to GAMA. Thanks for being such an awesome partner for retailers, and have a Merry Christmas. To Scott G and Sara L - Thank you for making such a great effort this year to make sure that retailers were well-informed and could make good decisions for their businesses. Your hard work and devotion to us down here in the trenches is noted and appreciated. Merry Christmas to you both. To Michael B, Paul S, and Gary R - Your writing inspires me, humors me, and improves every day where I get to see one of your new blog posts. Thank you for sharing your wit and wisdom with us in the industry. To Cecilia N, John C, David F, Andrew Z, John N, Darren J, Nate P, Amy Z, Lynn P, Ted Y, Pat F, Brian D, Angie B, Dave S, and all the other retailers I'm forgetting but that I listen to and read regularly. Thank you for providing a boost in the signal to noise ratio. Knowing each of you is a pleasure.
To Katie - Meeting you was the best thing that happened in September! Your sense of humor is infectious, and I can't wait to hang out some in Reno in a few months. To Mike K - My numbers buddy. I've never sat in any of your seminars because all the math scares me, but your handouts have inspired me to dig deeper and deeper into my numbers and given me a new appreciation for certain segments of my business. I look forward to our continued work together on the GRD, and anxiously await the next meal we share in which you remind me I'm not always the smartest person in the room. #LOdraforlyfe! To Dawn S - Getting to know you between GAMA and when I write this has been one of the most positive experiences of my life. Your light, your faith, your ability to find the good, are all things I aspire to achieve in my life. You are a beautiful human being with a beautiful soul and I thank you for pushing me to be better, to do better. As we embark on new chapters in our industry I am comforted to know that you are by my side, and we're working to row the boat in the same darn direction. Merry Christmas to you and yours. #LOdraforlyfe!
To Robert T, Jacinda E, Kyle F, Justin F, and Jason G - I could do none of the things I do without you five. Your continued growth as professionals in our industry has made this store what it is today. It is my pleasure to call you all friend and coworker, and thank you for taking some things off my desk in 2017 so that I could pursue things like the GRD. You are invaluable to me, and to our customers. To Tim - People around here think I steer the ship, but I hope they all understand that I couldn't move this boat without you pointing out the North Star for me. Your friendship before we entered into this journey was already the best of my life, and it has only become more important to me in the years since then. I once heard that it's important to surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you, and I couldn't think of a better person to fill this role in my life if I was given every living person in the world to choose from. Thank you for being here, for challenging me, and for calling me on my shit when it begins to pile up. I am enormously grateful to you for everything you do. I love you brother. And finally, to all of you reading this. Thank you. I was playing around with Google Analytics and discovered this blog gets translated about forty times a week, half of those into French. So, a paragraph of poorly written French. Je ne voudrais pas le faire sans vous tous. Chaque personne qui lit cela motive mon désir de continuer à écrire. Merci de me joindre à ce voyage. Joyeux Noël!