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COMMENT Surviving IBC by Larry Jordan I long ago lost count of the number of trade shows I’ve attended -- it runs into the hundreds. From small table-top affairs to massive shows like IBC, NAB, CES, and many others now long forgotten, I’ve attended shows, exhibited at shows, and covered shows as press. In this article, I want to share my experiences on how to make the most of attending a trade show. GOAL Your goal in attending any trade show is not to prove how fast you can walk the fl oor, but to learn what’s new in the industry. Even more importantly, you need to learn what you don’t know. Trade shows like IBC are the perfect location to see an entire industry all in one place. They allow you to discover new trends or new technology that will drive the industry in coming months. GET READY WHERE TO LOOK Wear comfy shoes. IBC is huge beyond words. You are going to do a LOT of walking. It is impossible to have a good time if your feet hurt. Since the media world has completely redefi ned the concept of casual dress, no one will think less of you based on your shoe style. Certainly, the huge booths at the front of the hall deserve your attention. They are showcasing the technology that all of us have heard of, with very slick stage demos featuring professional presenters, and some very cool toys on display. And as a note for those of you who have been living solo inside an editing suite for too long, booth staff would be very grateful if you wore a clean shirt and took a bath before arriving. PLAN IBC is vast. If you’ve never attended before you can’t begin to imagine how big it is. The best way to maximize your time is to visit the IBC website – http://www.ibc.org - click the Visitors tab and fi gure out the key events and vendors you want to see. Allow extra time to move between booths. The crowds are big, too, and rapid movement is impossible. Plan your sight- seeing route. However, once you complete your “must see” list, its time for serendipity to kick in. The exciting parts of any trade show, for me, are around the edges. These are the folks with great ideas and no budget, who have pooled all their credit cards and bet the ranch that they have a new idea for the industry. These are the booths that are fi lled with passion, commitment and hope. They are hidden at the edges, in the small corners, sandwiched between the “big boys.” These are the places where you need to spend time. ASK QUESTIONS While it may seem cool to stroll the hall, seeing all and asking nothing, this is really a dumb way to work. Every exhibitor has mortgaged their crown jewels to pay for their booth. They are eager for people to talk with about their cool products and ideas. So, unless the booth is swarming with people, stop and ask questions, even if you don’t know what they do. I used to take great pride in “showing how smart I was.” This meant that in many trade show conversations I 38 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 93 SEPTEMBER 2014