By now, surely, you have heard that attendance was up at CEDIA; and yet, I have heard that everything you see there you could have simply Googled to save yourself time and money.
I could not disagree more: it is way more than a trade show; CEDIA is an event. I can write about the award-winning products and my take on the show until my fingers are bloody, but if you missed CEDIA, you missed a huge opportunity for your company. Here are three stories to show you why.
Attendees wait outside of the show floor entrance. Attendance at this year's show was estimated at 18,700.
The Accidental Meet: I brought along my lead installer and my engineer to the show, and as I do every year, I took them to a fancy dinner for a job well done. Upon waiting for our reservations, we wanted to linger on the restaurant’s outdoor patio complete with a two-story waterfall. However, there was a private event. Not to be stopped from some fresh air (a rarity in Dallas, as we had to take a shuttle to and from the convention center each day), we walked right into the party. There, we met both the owner and the representatives from IC Realtime. You see, we did not know we were in the market for them, so we would not have Googled them. Connections were made, and problems were solved.
The Education Connection: I moderated a panel (my first “teaching” experience at CEDIA) with some really brilliant people. The discussion was “Managing International and Multi-Office Projects.” These guys had boatloads of experience and even better stories. They could not express enough the importance of having processes in place. Just today, I reached out to one of my new friends about working with another local company on a project. He had some awesome tips for me and some good advice. Again—cannot be Googled.
Building Relationships with Drinks: CEDIA is a place where you are rewarded for your hard work, as is the case with manufacturer or vendor parties. This year, we have become one of ADI’s Elite, and with it came an invitation to their ADI Elite party at the House of Blues. There we met not only high-ups at ADI, but also many of their vendors—specifically the Harman group (we also met the most amazing bartender who made very yummy drinks). These relationships will drastically help our business as we move forward in the light-commercial field. As winners to giveaways were announced, the sound was off. One of my techs finally walked up to the council and fixed the issue. The fix received a slew of fist-bumps from the Harman crowd, and so ensued a great conversation that lead to talk of upcoming projects.
You cannot Google or fake a relationship, nor can you buy it with numbers. Relationships are priceless; they are the difference between someone going the extra mile for you, or just wanting to get off the phone when you are in a pinch.
Can you put a price tag on CEDIA? The show is more than products; it is about connections, and those cannot be “searched.” The products end up being the icing on the already sweet cake. As time continues to move forward, I know more incalculable connections from the show to our business will be revealed. Start planning for next year’s show in Dallas, September 14 through 17. I’ll see you there.
A heartfelt thank you to those of you that came up to me and said hello. Great to meet so many of you out there!