Deja Vu moments....
Board plane, run into CE industry peers, chat, try to act like there's something that really needs my attention so I can cut things short (even though we all know I'm sitting there with *nothing* to do at 30,000 feet)....
Arrive at destination, check into hotel, get a few hours of sleep, wake up and then stock up on a REALLY unwise level of piping hot caffeintated beverage and hit the show floor....
As mentioned in my prior blog post I did the trade show boogie for well over a decade, at least once, if not twice and in some years, thrice.. (Gosh I love that word - it's one of those words you toss at someone when you're feeling all Kenny Branagh and then you're forced to affect this totally fake english accent for em-phay-sisss)
Annnnywaayyyyy (the Trade Show sleep deprivationeffect also in my case manifests into scattalogical references that only make sense to me, so moving right along folks...)
I went into my Day, dreading the worst, looking out over the teeming AV guy masses, poking and prodding and doing the intense furrowed brow stare while doing the goatee'd chin rub - ooohhnng and aaahing at all the new shiny gadgets; while 30 feet away I can peripherally glimpe over at the other sea of nodding heads, keenly focused on some powerpoint or video demonstration while the speaker for the 16th time today talks about the "revolutionary something...something.. words words and words with lots of adjectives spoken with em-phay-sisss"
and I thought to myself "nothing's changed"
Jaded as I felt at that moment, I then stopped into someone's booth, some company I heard/read abut but didn't really *know* and we started doing the trade show polka, "where are you from.. oh nice... what do you do exactly...mmm hmmm... ooomm pahh pahhh ommm paah paaahh paaahhh (all the while I can see that they're giving me that vacant stare while they're looking over my shoulder to chicken hawk some more badge wearing fellows succumbing to the gravitational pull of whatever concert video du jour they're blasting at full volume 6 feet away from me)
So, just about as I'm about to silently wish whatever pox it is that I can muster on them (and myself for getting suckered into this again) Something very cool happened.... I glanced at my phone and started spotting messages from the Social Media contingent who were starting to make their presence known, a group who at this point carry their #AVTweeps moniker on Twitter pretty proudly.
Now, I'm the first to admit I'm way late to the Social Media party, but once I made the decision that I was going to focus on embracing this medium and genuinely try my hardest to treat it like my more traditional marketing efforts, I figured this was the best time to see if it was going to hold water.
And it did, it really did. Over the course of the day, I was able to connect with people from pretty much every segment of the Custom Install Industry, from Manufacturers, to PR to Reps to Integrators and the Press and I found a pleasantly odd thing occurred, every one of these people I spoke to was not only interested in our conversations but were flat out interesting people. These were people who, due to our indirect sharing of info over the interwebs, or seeing one another's missives - were able to bypass some of the awkwardness we sometimes have when we're working through the intoduction stage.
These were people I wound up having some very targeted and in depth conversations with about the industry, or their product roadmap, or a multitude of other industry specific questions I had going in. Now does that mean that my business is going to magically increase productivity by 900% or lure in the dream jobs because of a random Twitter feed - no - but it allowed me through these new and untraditional methods to remember a simple business premise - when you partner with good people, you can deliver exceptional results.
Day 1 is over and along with wicked sore feet, I walked away with a feeling that only be be wrapped up in one (surprising) word: reinvigorated
What started out with me thinking was going to be about what's new and exciting in our little corner of tech, it turns out it ended being about the most low tech item out there - connecting with people who actually do care about the same things you do (at least in businesswise)
So, to those people who contributed to my day and gave me fresh perspectives along the way, thanks... and keep twittering and blogging away.
Tomorrow I promise I'll talk about the cool gadgets....