One of the great things about the Inc. 500 conference is the friendships you build with other Inc. 500 CEOs and executives. This week I was at a call center industry conference in Orlando Florida with John Ratliff, CEO of Inc. 500 member Appletree Answering Service (also one of my biggest competitors). Earlier this year when we realized that we had back to back conferences together John offered to fly me to Savannah for the Inc. 500 conference in his 4 seat Columbia private airplane. Then on Tuesday morning John and I realized that we had a whole day between conferences so John suggested we make the trip to this year's Inc. conference a bit of an adventure. Sometimes it's so much fun being an Inc. 500 CEO.
I had never been on a private airplane before and was quite nervous. The smallest plane I had been on was an 18 seater and then I flew in the back. So getting into a four seater and sitting next to the pilot was a totally new experience.
Our adventure started with a quick trip down to the Florida Keys for lunch (a place I had never visited before). The weather was perfect and the sky had very few clouds. We made the trip in less than 2 hours and their were almost no bumps along the way. As I sat at the restaurant overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, I was in awe that I could wake up in the morning in Orlando and then lunch in the "Keys".