This is part two of a series discussing the power of the relationships you can make at an in-person trade show. After attending InfoComm 2021, I decided to write about my experience. You can find part 1 here. Enjoy!
I arrived at the show shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday morning, Oct. 28, Day Two of InfoComm. This morning was slower than the previous one, but that left more space to move around and see/meet more exhibitors around the show floor. In fact, Wednesday was a great day as I had also seen and said hello to Gary Kayye (51) and Steph Beckett (52) from THE rAVe Agency as they were broadcasting live from the middle of the show floor.
This meeting, like so many others at this show, was not planned. I just happened to see them and walked over. Even though I have been working with them for about eight months, I finally was able to meet them in person. As I continued to walk around that day, I also saw an Airstream RV in the middle of the Leon Speakers booth (which you don’t see at many trade shows):
That morning around 9:30 a.m. EST, I walked quickly to view one of the virtual events on a large screen in the events section on the other end of the show floor, titled “Tortured Terminology.” This session was moderated by David Haynes, at-large director from the Digital Signage Federation with the following panelists: David Nussbaum, CEO of PORTL; David Title, creative director at Bravo Media; Kim Sarubbi, VP of media from IoTecha Corp and Chris Riegel, CEO of Stratacache.
Since I had mentioned the company PORTL before in my writing, I was interested in seeing how the session would go and what the feedback would be from the audience. I was very impressed with Nussbaum’s responses, considering he was in his studio based in California at 6:30 a.m. PST. He also was playing live demonstrations in the background, which reminded me of this SNL skit.
The rest of the day went very well; I met an acquaintance formerly with Haivision, Anna Kozel (53), now with VuWall. I then went back to the booth and spent time listening to a lot of the Kramer team’s interactions with people in their booth so I could better understand our combined value to help present during future meetings. Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, I would guess the company had a few hundred attendees stop at the booth. Based on what I observed, the theme of the show was low quantity, but high quality of attendees.
At the end of the day, we left to meet some people for drinks and networking. Most people showed up for at least 20 minutes or so – Sheri Hurley from Wachter, Steph Beckett from rAVe, Scott Walker (54) from Waveguide, Peter Kim (55) and his four associates: Gianni Restaino (56), James Pfenning (57), Dan Baker (met the night before at Topgolf) and Chris Feldman (58), all from LG. It was quite literally a Happy Hour!
There was even more networking to be done later that evening at a VuWall event Anna had invited us to earlier. We spoke with Anna, Paul Vander Plaetse (59), Maryse Montagne (60), Stephanie Balayan (61), Pierre-Yves Desbiens (62), Christian Cooper (63) and Francisco Provencio (64) from VuWall as well as two other people, Samuel Recine (65) and Angela Cox (66) from Matrox. I also had the pleasure of seeing Gary Kayye and Morgan Lawrence (67) from THE rAVe Agency. Although the VuWall executive team is from Canada, we set up a day and time to meet in NYC to learn more about how we can work together. My friend (Henry Mestre from AKRF) and I did not stay too late, as we had to get up early for our next adventure, which included driving all the way back home.
We left shortly after 7 a.m. to drive down south a few hours to visit Primeview (one of our partners) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its new showroom was recently completed with our CMS software managing content on its LED ribbon, connected to a video controller which is connected to one of our media players.
We met with Chanan Averbuch, EVP sales, and his local team to see how the facility was set up (very clean with a lot of different types of display technology). The company was preparing for its first large tech event, which I would attend (more on that in part 3 of this series).
During our trek back North (my first time driving in a car from Florida to New York), I noticed a few things:
- There is very little change in scenery when you are traveling north on the highway from Florida until you get to New Jersey (when you see all the factories). The trees on the side of the highway, most of the signs and the highway itself all look the same.
- We stopped along the way and tried to take a few naps at different rest stops with various types of vending machines. The bathrooms were much cleaner than I thought they would be (thanks to all who clean).
- We did take a detour very late on Friday night off the highway to see the attraction, South of the Border, in Hamer, South Carolina, just south of Rowland, North Carolina. It’s the halfway point between Florida and New York!
(By the way, I worked in film/video production from 1986-94 and the entire location looked to me like a television or film set — everything was closed, all the outside lights were on and there were very few people on the lot.)
At last, we arrived in New Jersey on Saturday. I took the ferry to Manhattan, then took a bus to Penn Station, then took a train to my town’s station, then got back in a car and drove a few miles home, completely exhausted. However, I was very excited about all the relationships and potential projects I could now follow up on. It was a great week, but the story’s not over yet!
Stay tuned for part 3 — coming to a rAVe [PUBS] near you!