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Attending a convention is half the experience

Attending a convention is half the experience

Jun 1, 2009 12:00 PM, Chriss Scherer
[email protected]

How was your NAB convention experience? If you didn’t attend, don’t worry, I’ll get to that. If you were there, you noted the lighter crowd, which I mentioned last month. Attendance aside, it seemed like a good show. For me it seemed to go by faster than previous conventions. Granted, I was in Las Vegas for six days instead of eight this year, but each day seemed to go quicker. Perhaps I was packing more into each day. Perhaps I was less focused on cramming everything in and going with a more natural flow.

So how was the show? The session topics looked good, although I admit I did not make it to as many sessions as I would have liked. The usual course of legacy and new technology were in the mix. Workflow and IP were the leading topics from what I saw. As usual, most topics were timely.

The exhibit floor was more relaxed, which I already have attributed to the lighter attendance. The exhibitors certainly want to get the maximum result while there, and with a 20 percent reduction in floor traffic, they had their work cut out for them.

There were some interesting product and technology introductions. The focus on data was certainly obvious. We seem to have fully embraced the idea that we work with data carrying audio, rather than audio converted to data.

But what if you weren’t there? Did you really miss out? You can find the product information online and in webinars. You can purchase the proceedings from the sessions and watch them in the comfort of your home or office. You don’t have to deal with the travel and you easily saved several hundred dollars. It makes one wonder: Is it worth attending a convention in person anymore?

The general mood this year was more focused, thanks to the suffering economy, staff cuts and slashed budgets setting the tone. But the experience of interacting with other people in a common environment is the intangible element to any conference gathering. You can do so much online, but I still believe there is no substitute for the in-person experience. This doesn’t only apply to the NAB Show, but any national, regional or local conference with a focus on informing attendees.

If you didn’t make it to the NAB Show this year, I hope you are considering other events closer to home. (We have a current list of national and regional conventions and conferences at There are some very good conferences hosted by state broadcast associations and SBE chapters. I have attended the fall conferences in Madison, WI, Syracuse, NY, and Pittsburgh over the past few years, and there is always something worthwhile to be gained at these events, even if it’s talking to someone new during lunch or chatting with a fellow attendee after a session.

I also know of some road shows that tout themselves as being purely educational despite their pay-to-participate models. I don’t hold a high regard for the content of these efforts, but I will say they at least provide a common gathering point for the attendees. Ignore the obvious sales pitches and take advantage of the professional networking opportunity.

So is it worth attending the 2010 NAB Show? I think so. And right now is the right time to begin planning to attend.

What’s your opinion? Send it to[email protected]

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