As a DCIM solution provider, the Graphical Networks team makes the occasional appearance at industry trade shows. Our most recent show was Data Center World in Las Vegas. While there, we learned a few things to share that you may be able to use next time you’re taxed with attending a trade show. Shows such as Data Center World are a great way to learn, network with top industry leaders and to explore powerful technologies happening right now.
As Data Center World and trade show veterans, we have our fair share of war stories from the trenches. We’re happy to draw upon them to give you some tips that may just make your next show a little easier, enjoyable and productive.
Tip 1: Don’t Dress for Success
Data Center World, for us, means a whole lot of standing around in a relatively small area. The good news? We actually like each other so that’s not really the issue. What is? Our feet. Don’t wear your fanciest shoes to these events: wear your most comfortable ones.
Tip 2: Don’t Go Home a Loser
Forget networking. Forget technology. Forget education. Who wants to hit the big time? At Data Center World, we developed a reputation for being ‘those guys with all the business cards’. Why? We love all the raffles at trade shows. Your business card doubles as your entry for these raffles – so don’t forget to bring a bunch. Of course, business cards also come in handy for networking with industry leaders while saving you time filling out forms (but who cares about that when there are raffles!).
Tip 3: Don’t Cheap Out
We understand the temptation: you find a cheaper hotel room further away from the conference. It all makes sense on paper. Why not walk a little, get some exercise and save some dough? Don’t do it. Trust us. One year, one of our guys booked us rooms that might as well have been at the top of Mount Everest. We didn’t talk to him for a full year. We were tired out after standing and walking Data Center World all day and the last thing we wanted to do was take a hike through Vegas back to our hotel rooms. So: don’t be that guy (although we are on speaking terms with him again).
Tip 4: Go V.I.P.
Act like you own the place. If you know of a company you want to get some face time in with, schedule an appointment to meet ahead of time. Don’t get caught waiting around for someone to make time for you. You have better things to do. At Graphical Networks, we are always happy to take appointments in advance to ensure we give attendees the best experience possible.
Tip 5: Don’t Be a Slacker
Data Center World was huge this year. If there’s a product your company is interested in, there may be multiple vendors available at the show. Do some research first to maximize your time: come prepared by knowing a few questions you want to ask each vendor.
Tip 6: Don’t Go Crazy
Brochures. Literature. Don’t go crazy trying to read every single thing right then and there. We have a bunch of literature we give out – and believe it or not, we don’t expect you to read it all right then and there. Bring a folder, take it home with you, and give yourself some time to fully digest.
Tip 7: Don’t Get Lost
It’s a good idea to check out which vendors are on your must-see list ahead of time. Once you know who you want to see, find out where they’ll be located on the floor plan and map out the best route through the show. Don’t get lost trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Tip 8: Skip Rush Hour
Sometimes, our booths gets pretty full (we’re popular, what can we say?). By now, we’ve learned there’s an ebb and flow to trade shows. If a booth you’re interested in is a little too crowded when you stop by, save yourself some key time and stop by at the end of the day (when traffic is a lot lighter). So: see you later on in the day?
Tip 9: Let Loose
The most recent Data Center World was held in Vegas – actually, many trade shows are. If you happen to be going to Vegas for a show, here are some tips for making the most out of your time there. Graphical Network’s Director of Sales, Fred Koh, is also our resident foodie and pro yelp reviewer. Fred’s top picks for post-show relaxation? American-inspired Stack, at the Mirage, has some great happy hour deals. If you’re hungry for a burger to write home about, make sure to hit BLT Burger Bar, also at the Mirage. Fred swears by the pizzas Spago by Wolfgang Puck serves up, right next door at Forum Shops. If you feel like venturing a bit further into Vegas, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria by Batali and Bastianich at the Venetian shouldn’t be missed. For the ultimate steakhouse experience, dine at Craftsteak at the MGM Grand…Fred says it’s worth every penny (we guess we trust him).
Tip 10: Bring Your DCIM Mojo!
DCIM Mojo? What’s that? Find out and stop by our booth if we’re at a show you’re attending. Get our autographs: they may be worth something someday. Plus, we can give you some more restaurant suggestions, help you find the closest Walgreens and… oh, and we can help you manage and optimize your data center assets, too.