Techies, Tradeshows, and Trinkets

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So I hear you really want to go to this fall’s awesome tradeshows. See all the coolest new fancy gizmos that promise to make life easier and better. Learn best practices and methods from world-class peers and professionals. Listen to talented speakers that can motivate, inspire, and inform. Socialize with people in your same role at other organizations who truly understand the politics, complexity, and stresses of your job role. Not to mention get out of the office for a couple of days!
 
Yeah...I bet you do. Well tough beans, puddin’ pop. Because Dad said no. There’s no money left over in the piggy bank this year for extra-curricular and nonessential activities. You maybe didn’t even bother to ask, because you knew the answer – or maybe they just weren’t buying what you’re selling. You gave it your best pitch, but they heard things a smidge differently:
 

What you said VS. What they thought
1.       New Technologies | We can’t even manage the stuff we have.
2.       Great Keynote Speakers | If it’s before 10 a.m., you’ll sleep through it or go sightseeing.
3.       Represent the organization | Why would we send you, again?
4.       Meet the Vendors | Bring back free pen lights, koozies, and stress balls to further clutter up the office.
5.       Networking/peer knowledge share | Seven jack/cokes at cocktail hour (see #3).
6.       It would be beneficial to my expertise and productivity | You really don’t feel like working this week.
 
Okay, so maybe they have your number on a couple of those...I won’t say which.

For the chosen few who managed to get the rare green light or perhaps have your boss pushing you out the door to attend a tradeshow, you should count yourselves lucky. You whine about the travel and messing up your routine, but I’ve seen the way you walk the tradeshow floor with your mouth hanging open, looking at all the big lights and flashing booths. I’ve seen those giant tote bags of swag you lug around like a selfish Santa… Oh yeah: I’m onto you. You’re just like my toddlers, complaining on the way there and crying all the way home.
 
But enough about you. To me, a tradeshow is a chance to dig my way out from my underground cube lair and breathe the non-recycled air of customer satisfaction. I get to see the glowing faces of customers who use Bomgar on a daily basis, not simply a phone call or, more often than not, a three-sentence email. I get to add the human element back into my job, and I. am. all. over. it.
 
I understand that we’re not all extroverts. But one of the greatly misunderstood aspects of folks in technology is that people assume you are an introvert. I’ve found that to not be the case at all. IT experts enjoy connecting with others and speaking about their experiences whatever the vert category they fall into, and it just so happens I love to hear about them. To me, we might as well be at Comic-Con with how enthusiastic people get when they walk up to the Bomgar Booth.
 
Whatever your situation, I’d love to see you at Fusion11 next week or EDUCAUSE in October, and I’m sure I can hook you up with some slick Bomgar swag. (Mention you read this blog post, and I’ll pile some more on.) Look for the guy with the spiky hair and black glasses.
 
Hope to see you there!
 
-Nate Q.