Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tradeshow booth

After having spent more than 20 “Business Days” in a year (almost a business month to be precise) manning tradeshow booths, now I have become a self-proclaimed expert at Tradeshow Booth Management (TBM). Before I start charging you guys for opening my mouth, I thought I give you all a free preview of what to expect (after all, you guys are my loyal audience!).

So what exactly is a Tradeshow?

Officially – Tradeshows are events to put the customers and suppliers in the same location so that meaningful conversations evolve naturally and you have a better prospect at forming business relationships. I know, I just made that up – but well – that is the spirit of a Tradeshow anyway.

Unofficially – It’s an event where bargain hunters and senior people with lots of free time on their hand come looking for well-made goodies and free gifts to collect from all the booths out there and eat good food. Rest of the time, try to catch up on some winks here and there in the conferences or pretend to be working hard while checking your Facebook. If nothing else, then it’s a place to court your potential employers and look for industry connections who can introduce you to those.

Now for some background. Presently I sorta earn my living by telling people how great is analytics and how everything will change the moment they start analysing stuff in their organization. I am mighty impressed by what I sell and most of the times, I do sound and am completely genuine. But, I am not pretty, handsome, attractive or anything that can make someone stop and notice me. Mediocre at best and with a smile that can even cause me problems at the remotest of places, I do not exactly qualify as a “booth” candidate.

Though my company invests in attractive goodies and we have a brightly colored (read tempting) goodie bag I only encounter goodie-bag seeking tradeshow delegates approaching me. The true “potential” customers either shy away or are too busy in pretending they are busy and not interested. So all day (and sometimes all night) I stand there waiting for the perfect customers to come, only to give away goodie bags to cheapskates.

Here is my advise to companies buying booths in Tradeshows:

  1. Don’t waste your money and your employee’s time. You might as well treat them to a spa. At least they will be happy
  2. If you still plan to waste your money, then put a good looking (read – beautiful or handsome) employee who will attract hoards of people by their killer looks
  3. Prominently display your goodies, but have a strict policy on giving it to only those people who are ready to listen to your boring 20 minute Powerpoint presentation on how amazing your product and your company is. The goodies should be “earned” not given away!

And why am I writing this? I just spent an entire day grinning into the void and listening to an irritating jingle coming from a booth next to me. Now I can’t freaking get the tune outta my mind. To top it all, my legs and back hurts because of standing in a suite for 10 hours doing absolutely nothing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Urban Forest

For over the last 5 months I have been using this device to consciously track my steps, the floors I climb and my sleep. It serves as a constant reminder of how lazy I generally am and encourages me to get my daily dose of 10K steps and 10 floors. I know it is just a glorified (read expensive!) pedometer.

Now doing 10K a day requires moderate effort like taking occasional casual walks during lunch and late in the night. However, what amazes me is – Singapore as a country is so vertical that doing 10 floors a day is absolutely effortless. Most of the times, my first 10 floors of the day are done even before I reach my office just because of the maze of stairs that I have to climb to go the train station and then change trains at the interchange and finally walk down to office.

Never before in my life do I distinctly remember having so many places that I had the option to take stairs. It is truly amazing to see how built-up this little island is and how vertical spaces have been used!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Got myself a new pair of swimming goggles. It is sort of an annual event. Whether I swim or not during the year, I always buy a new pair. However, the kind of goggles that I buy, over the period of several weeks, become increasingly foggy till one point of time I am swimming blind with goggles on my eyes. So they only serve the purpose of protecting my eyes partially from the chlorinated water.

Anyway, the new goggles now clearly show me what I actually swim in. Swimming pool waters seem to have the most disgusting things floating around. Besides all kinds of human excretions there are dead insects, band-aids and other kinda filthy objects – the less said the better.

With the new goggles now, I can clearly see where I am going and what I am headed into. This slows me down tremendously as I try to dodge, avoid or turn course to keep me away from it. Now frankly speaking, it’s the same water I have swam in for the past several years. The only thing that has changed is my vision of the reality.

This is sort of analogous to what happens to me in real life. When I have clarity of thought and a very good idea of what is gonna happen to me in the future, I am scared, and I slow down in my pursuit of happiness. But when I have no idea what I am heading into, and the future is all foggy with me running blind directly into it is the time when I perform to the best of my abilities. Yeah a philosophical post but resonates with my general fear of the future!