Surviving tech trade shows

Surviving tech trade shows

Authors Michael Roney and Michael Utvich have experienced and listened to enough war stories about computer trade shows to write a book. Their Guerrilla Guide to High-Tech Trade Shows: The Underground Resource for Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity offers a satirical look at how to get through the trade show day. The authors explain a trade show as a "virtual city" with its own "mores, manners and culture". But they are cities which exist for a few days and then disappear. In their description, they say, "It's a village filled with such beasts as the aging-but-friendly famous has-been jock who deliberately mispronounces the names of his sponsor's products to mitigate a total, brazen sellout. It's where pony-tailed men and crew-cut women wear spray-on spandex exercise gear and promote Platinum Buns software."

Basically, the authors say there are two ways to deal with a show - the "sucker way" and the "guerrilla way". A guerrilla never pays for meals. He or she takes advantage of corporate sponsorship or brings the boss to lunch knowing the boss will insist on paying.

According to the authors, the guerrilla automatically tells exhibitors he or she is a dealer. This gets you all the freebies you could possibly want. Guerrillas get to know public relations people. They have the ability to get you to any event from a breakfast meeting to a fancy dinner. And guerrillas always have an escape plan from any event, long boring conversation, or the entire trade show floor.

The guide also includes a "Gonzo Tour of off-beat sites" to visit in various convention cities. "Sometimes it's important to just get away from it all," explained Roney. "This group of trade show people forms a bizarre subculture and I think they will find our guide informative and entertaining."

The $US12.95 book (ISBN 0-679-76961-7) is 208 pages. It can be ordered from on-line US bookstores.

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