We’re starting to sense a pattern. More evidence is piling up that throwing a lavish party or corporate offsite is one of the leading indicators that a tech startup is on the verge of a reckoning. The latest example: our story today about the recent struggles of Amazon aggregators, which opens with this detail about a retreat in Mexico that the biggest startup in the category, Thrasio, threw for e-commerce entrepreneurs in January:
In between, attendees were encouraged to try out watersports, boat rides and other activities, one person who went told The Information, the most popular being four-wheel driving on nearby sand dunes. Everyone got a gift of Clase Azul Reposado, this person said, a high-end tequila in an ornate white-and-blue china bottle with a bell on top for drinkers to ding after taking a shot. Thrasio footed the bill for all the accommodations, activities, food and booze.
A few months after that boondoggle, Thrasio laid off employees and replaced its CEO. It has plenty of company in the eyebrow-raising–events department. E-commerce software startup Fast last August hosted a splashy event in Tampa, Fla., to launch a local office, complete with a Jet Ski rider doing backflips, as we reported last month. Our story ran shortly after we broke the news that Fast would shut down.