Today I’m sitting here, manning my own booth, at the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators Conference at Gillette Stadium. I’m here exhibiting Balefire Labs, which by now you know is my ed tech startup that provides an online service reviewing educational apps according to instructional quality. We’re up in the Red Level Press Box, with a glorious view of the field. And it’s a beautiful fall day.
This is the first “real” tradeshow that I’ve done so far for Balefire Labs. In my previous corporate job I attended gobs of tradeshows. But as a senior manager of learning sciences, I didn’t do any of the heavy lifting. I pretty much just showed up, gabbed to customers and colleagues, talked to the press, and that was it. So getting ready for this show and then doing all the schlepping myself was a rather rude wakeup call for me of just how much goes into this. And keep in mind that I only have a six-foot table and some laptop pedestals! Not even a big booth!
So here are some of the things I should have been grateful for when someone else was doing them:
- Thinking about everything that would be needed for the tradeshow and making the list.
- Shopping for the things you don’t already have…like a poster stand and candy to give out.
- Printing the things that need to be customized for the show…like postcards with attendee promo codes.
- Making sure you have the basics on the booth….like electricity and wifi.
- Shipping the gear or driving the gear to the location of the show.
- Showing up in the exhibitor area at the crack of dawn to get everything set up (and the bags stowed away in an place where the mess can’t be seen).
- “Manning” the booth all day (wearing those sturdy “show shoes”) and being available to answer any potential customer questions, often without bathroom breaks and certainly without a lunch break.
Sigh. I miss the old days sometimes.
(A special shout out to Erin Stevens and Carol Conte, to whom this post is dedicated. I miss you guys!!)