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On the Street Where You Live

I have a great idea. And this idea, as most great ideas, comes from frustration.

I have a great idea. And this idea, as most great ideas, comes from frustration.

In my case, it’s my poor sense of direction. My brother can stand in the middle of nowhere and point north. I get lost as soon as I exit my garage. I am “geographically challenged.”

So what does this have to do with wire and cable? Well, not much until you put me in the middle of the NAB convention.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the NAB Show. Where else can you see 1,600 vendors, hawking everything you can imagine for audio, video or broadcast? I sell more wire and cable by simply visiting potential customers, manufacturers, system integrators, than any other show. Where else can a wire and cable (or anything else) vendor get over 100,000 potential customers in one place? Nowhere except every April in Las Vegas.

Where am I?

Then there’s the NAB booth numbering scheme.

At least, I suppose there is a scheme. I’ve never figured it out. And I have wandered aimlessly, looking in vain for a specific booth. In more than a few cases, I have wasted what little spare time I have trying to find someone. And being “geographically challenged” sure doesn’t help.

So here’s my solution (and, yes, I have sent this to the people who make the floor plan at NAB).

Make an imaginary grid of 10-by-10 squares on the floor of each hall. Across the width, these 10-foot divisions are named. Booths can be big and small, with the big ones covering many of these imaginary squares. Wherever these “streets” do not fall in a booth space is a name. Since the halls are not as wide as they are long, I suggest a full alphabet of streets across the width (maximum 26 x 10 ft, 260 feet). Down the length of the hall the grid is numbered, so there’s no limit there.

And the alphabetic grid is not just letters, but names. I suggest names of famous figures in audio, video, radio, television and other electrical pursuits.

Here’s one possible list for the North Hall:

A. ArmstrongB. BellC. CrosbyD. De ForestE. EdisonF. FarnsworthG. GinsburgH. HenryI. InceJ. JenkinsK. KellogL. LamarrM. MarconiN. NipkowO. OhmP. PoniatoffQ. QuadratureR. RangerS. SarnoffT. TeslaU. U-maticV. VoltaW. WestinghouseX. XLRY. YagiZ. Zworykin
The cross streets are numbered from 1 to as far back as the hall gets.

So if I tell you that my booth is at the corner of Tesla and 53rd, you pretty much where it is before you set off to find it. Actually, I would say North Tesla and 53rd, just so you start in the right hall.

Sure, I have many alphabetic lists of famous names that don’t repeat, so you could even figure from the show book that Tesla Street only appears on the North Hall.

Big booths could take up many squares, so you could even tell them where in the booth you want to meet them Jenkins and 13th might be the corner of the Sony booth. Hey, I get lost in the Sony booth by itself. If someone told me, “Oh, that new Sony mixing console is at Kellog and 17th,” I’d bet I could find it.

Whether or not vendors have street names inside their booth is up to them, but it would sure help us wanderers.

And did you look at that list? Do you know who those names were? (Or what the non-names mean?)

Give yourself a little test. Go down the list and tell yourself who each person was and why you should know them. Bet you don’t know them all.

And I have a different list for every hall. I would ask the NAB for a small section in the show book where I could have a paragraph on each name. Without these guys, you wouldn’t have a job!

What do you think? Do I have a workable idea? Tell the folks at NAB.

Of course, it would take a couple of years before this could be implemented, so there’s no hurry. And, in a couple of years, you could meet me on the corner of Zworykin and 115th (at the very back of the hall) and we’ll discuss other names that should be added next year.

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