Pool of workers on Cloud 9, but not in over their heads

What’s the secret to success for a company that made BizWest’s Mercury 100 list of fastest-growing companies for a possibly unprecedented sixth time in a row?

“We work hard and play hard,” said John Augst, co-founder and president of Boulder-based Cloud 9 Living LLC. “We know we have to work hard to create these good times.”

Good times indeed, if their antics at the May 22 Mercury 100 awards event at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield were any indication. Seizing on offhand comments by employees Shea Brazill and Alan Barber, who said they’d jump into the Omni’s outdoor pool for $100, Augst offered the money – and seven Cloud 9 team members took the leap, in full business-casual attire.

Cloud 9, with offices at 4999 Pearl East Circle, Suite 102, contracts with more than 1,800 companies nationwide to offer “experience gifts” – everything from driving a race car and flying a fighter plane to spa packages, balloon rides, raft trips and cooking classes. Its 70 percent growth from 2011 to 2013 ranked 23rd on the latest Mercury 100 list of Boulder Valley companies reporting revenue of $2 million or more.

The Eye noted that Augst himself did not take the plunge, but he had an explanation: “I had to keep the money dry!”

You gave them cash on the spot?

“No, I added it to their checks,” Augst said in a telephone interview five days later. “I just ran payroll.”

Wait, what? They’re going to be taxed on this?

“Nah. I gave them about $130 so they’ll have their $100 after taxes.”

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