Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Trade Shows

Tomorrow, I'm off to a trade show, not of my own volition mind you, but to take a meeting.  Some people are in town for the big event of the year, which is the big benefit of living in the NYC area and I do need to get in touch with them.

In general, I'm not a huge fan of trade shows.  Everyone is there to sell you something.  For every great product you see, there are ten which are inferior or identify organizational failings in your own company you cannot fix.  I remember one year heading off and seeing a tool remarkably similar to our own for tracking people and data.  Since we billed our tool as state of the art, it was a little disappointing to see how many more reports and tracking features we wanted were in our competitor's tracking device.  Sometimes, it is just demoralizing. 

In my last two jobs, I was unable to attend the yearly trade show for the last three years.  Last year, I was in Philadelphia and by in Philadelphia, I mean living there Monday to Thursday.  I couldn't get out of going down to Philly for my project and if I could, at the time I couldn't justify driving there to and from each day, though little did I know two weeks later that would be my lot in life. 

Two years ago, we were forbidden from going, like small children.  Admittedly, after working seventy hours a week since May, I was not interested in piling on a trade show or a score card or a lunch salad onto my plate.  Still, I did not like being forbidden from going, as if I was a truculent child requiring a good scolding for my failings.  But I did get out of going to a trade show, which was not nearly worth the pain I suffered otherwise. 

Three years ago, I was all set to go, working in New York and really shouldn't have had reason not to go.  However, we had a problem, a problem, as the technical wizard and workflow savant I needed to fix.  So, I spent three days fixing problems by day and doing the dinner circuit by night.  The dinner circuit was actually better than the trade show, because I did get a good meal for my efforts in the dog and pony show, though admittedly, I also remember crying in a cab on the way to the train station at 11 PM, knowing nothing was fixed or solved, but tomorrow and an hour and a half on the train still loomed. 

An Olympiad ago, when I did get to attend, I spent half the day at the show and half the day trying to find a quiet place to direct things back at the office, since you can go nowhere without trouble coming to find you.  But I did a lot of walking, realized I didn't know nearly as many of my peers as I thought, and otherwise came home with a bag full of useless knick-knacks, pens and for some reason, an inflatable globe.  I never used the globe, but somehow felt it prudent to bring it home, where I eventually wisened up and tossed it in the garbage.

So, who knows what tomorrow holds, but hopefully, it will only be as tacky as the inflatable globe.

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