By Corey Moss

Step right up for the first interviewprizes awarded!

Entering the Orlando Convention Center, after posting the first AV Road House [Resurrection] podcast and eating a quick lunch at the hotel (I arrived in Orlando Wednesday morning), I made my way to the NEC Display Solutions booth for the opening discussion of the show with good friend Keith Yanke. As always, I’m met by PR Marcom Exec Harvey Henao (of Tech Image) at the booth to set up the interview, and we did so in a spot where I could also charge my smart phone – NEC got it with charging stations at the show (I stopped over various times for charging and conversations).

It was of course a terrific interview with Keith — and the clincher? As the very first interviewee, Keith won a prize – the stroopwafel I got on the United flight from Dulles (big shoutout for The AV Life fave snack food United!).

The picture is of my laptop edit on the plane of the new AV Road House [Resurrection] show pilot, with that stroopwafel.

Just how much does this swag cost?

Heck, we all love swag at trade shows and I picked up some truly excellent stuff at InfoComm ’19. It was a full three days of interviews and bag filling with booth gifts, and snacks. You see, there are those who I know in marketing and PR who do worry a bit about me and my (what I will be marketing soon as the) “InfoComm Diet” – a Kind bar for breakfast and it just unravels from there to cake and ice cream (you’ll hear more about those faves here).

My good friend Peter Herr at Shure is always great to talk with, we missed each other when I came to Illinois in March (a stopover at HQ in Niles for a tour and a podcast – check it out here), however we did make sure to catch up at InfoComm. He introduced me to the new Shure world of “Sound Extraordinary,” and presented me with a swag gift. I looked at it and determined that it’s not your usual giveaway item, that there might even be a price tag on it. I mean look at it…

And listen to our conversation about it on The AV Life from InfoComm ’19 (along with other great conversations).

Hot, sticky, sweltering – what else?

Upon getting to the Crestron booth on day one for a scheduled appointment, as usual you stare into a sea of humanity. Try to find the person you’re scheduled to meet with, along with the PR and marketing people. So with steely determination, after popping some of those famous Crestron mints, I find Nic Milani and Crestron’s marketing and PR who had been looking for me as well. Nic and I talk a lot, in person, on videoconference and e-mail, and we share a lot of the same industry views. So imagine our interview at InfoComm in Orlando starts with some of those shared thoughts – about Orlando.

Of course after discussing that climate which so many love so much, we talk about some of the usual things concerning technology, perspectives and industry views. If you don’t know one of the things that Crestron is well-known for at InfoComm, it’s the Swirl event on Thursday evening of the show. I tried to get Nic to reveal who would be surprising the crowd at this year’s show (I even gave him a small reveal of my own), but he wouldn’t budge. One thing I do know – it was a terrific time had by all.

Here’s that reveal – in a tweet after Swirl.

A celebration, and cake for lunch

10 years in business, and Almo Pro A/V showed it with great pride at the show. As a part of the schedule on day one, I had on it a stopover at the Almo Pro A/V booth to be there for that celebration. There I talked with my good friend Melody Craigmyle (who I interviewed prior to the Almo Pro A/V E4 Experience in the Spring), and others at the company including Warren Chaiken, President and CEO at Almo Corporation.

It was a pretty majestic looking cake I must say, it basically spoke Almo and Pro AV. Enough said. Pieces were given out, and I made sure to get one as it’s always a sign of good luck as far as I’m concerned for the birthday person or company, and it essentially became my lunch as well. Not to worry though, Traci packed some snacks for me too – thank you 🙂

Good friends, special ice cream and red M&M’s

Toward the end of day one, traveling across the show floor to my last interview of the day, I looked forward to a good one along with some refreshments. If you listened to my The AV Tech Trade interview with Jacob Marash at Stem Audio prior to the show, you may have gotten an idea of what that was. In one of my previous interviews at InfoComm ’19 (with Shure) I said that it was beer o’clock as the happy hours across the show began, and in fact Peter Herr and I shared a Sam Adams during our interview. Here though, different story.

As I arrived at the Stem Audio booth, I was met by a badge scanner who was dressed in a Stem Audio shirt, and I allowed her to scan my badge after a couple of questions (more about that next). I was then met by the booth giant (aka Director of Marketing Ryan Root) and a few others on the team. I was there to interview Jacob, but first that ice cream surprise. I was given a cup of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream (don’t forget the green Stem Audio sprinkles), and a small bottle of Captain Morgan rum. Actually, two small bottles – one to pour and one to drink. What was even better, Jonas Rinde and his Huddly team walked into the booth, and he was presented with the same by Jacob. Which then led to a great interview, topped off by red M&M’s at the Huddly booth.

Moments like this you can plan, but maybe not totally predict the outcome. Let’s say it led to an outstanding interview at the nearby Huddly booth with Jacob and Jonas – and red M&M’s (hear it here).

What do I win, and will it hurt?

Ahh the badge scan. We all get it at the booth and love it. Well wait a minute, I’m not sure that’s 100% true as sometimes we’re thinking as the badge scanner approaches “what the heck do I need with this company’s information – I’ll never use it.” Yet she could be highly approachable (as those ridiculous booth model agencies say), and even possibly dressed fairly scantily. Forget where you may be for the moment, and imagine you’re at the auto show. Ask the badge scanner where you’ll find the Ferraris and watch her face break out in a smile, or utter confusion. Or better yet…

When I go to a trade show, I ask two questions of a badge scanner, or as we know the scantily clad ones – booth babes. The first – what do I win? Normally I get umm, or uhh, or I don’t know. Next is “will it hurt” – followed by “I don’t think so” or a laugh. Or not. I get a badge scan anyway. Expect any or all of the above from most of those show floor (at times scantily clad) booth models.

Well let me tell you, the greatest answer to my questions came at this year’s InfoComm, from a properly dressed hostess/badge scanner with company shirt at the Stem Audio booth. What do I win? “My undying gratitude,” she says. Will it hurt? “Only if you don’t do it,” she says with a totally straight face.

That’s her standing all the way to the left. Bingo Stem Audio – you win.

I’m the President, but not that President

On day two more interviews, and this one with a gentleman I met for the very first time. Those who know me get the idea that I don’t do a prepared Q&A, I just hit record and have a “conversation” that will include questions, statements, and some fun moments as well. Sometimes there are rehearsed moments, you may be able to tell what those are when listening.

This particular executive interview took place at Newline Interactive, with Chris Bradford the company’s President. Chris and I talked for a bit beforehand and instantly I came up with something. Yes ok, it was a ‘rehearsed’ moment, yet we had to stop after about a minute through the interview as he thought he might not be prepared. Those who know me do know that there is no preparation, and as I explained to Chris not to worry, just go with the flow.

And yes, at that moment he got it. You’ll hear it on The AV Life from the show, and it was a home run. Yes he’s the President of Newline Interactive – just know that before listening. And Newline Interactive does like to have fun at the show too. Great job Chris and team.

Part 2 is here.

(Note: Pixabay License – Free for commercial use).   †

With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV Media. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, Convergent Tech Talk, Convergent Week and The AV Tech Trade. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise. On LinkedIn