Geek convention ;)

Got to work/visit a trade show in Tel Aviv this week for work.  The 2010 High-tech Technologies trade show, the biggest in Israel.

Visited a lot of booths,  shook a lot of hands, had a lot of people give me their business cards.  Competitors were there, customers were there, suppliers were there.  At our booth we had a demonstration film going on a loop…after the first hour I would gladly have strangled the narrator.  We turned the volume down, which was actually a good thing, as it made potential customers come into the booth to hear it, and we could then sit them down at one of the tables with food and an espresso to talk business.

One of the major perks of a trade show is the freebies – almost all the companies give away little gadgets with their logo, in addition to drinks and munchies.  At the entrance to our booth we had pens to distribute, and sugar-free candies with our logo on the wrapper.  Those who actually sat down with us, exchanged details, etc, got a disk-on-key as well.

Most companies distributed goodies at their booths, although some wandered around giving things away as well.  There were a few of these women tooling around on motorized skateboard thingies giving away information packets and toys…

What the costume has to do with anything at all escapes me, except for the fact that it hides the wheels and motor moving her along.

I didn’t bother collecting balloons or candy.  Balloons  because I didn’t want to travel home on a crowded train shlepping balloons when I had other things to shlep, and also I wasn’t sure I wanted to knit while holding balloons – very iffy logistics there, and candy because with the exception of a few kinds of chocolate I really don’t eat candy.

I made out like a bandit on tote bags and pens.  Tote bags in eight different colours, some with pockets, some with fasteners….very handy as knitting bags.  😉  And a pen supply for the next year, I think.

The mug was also a giveaway, and the other gadgets?   The silver keychain is for supermarket carts, the orange doohickey opens as a brush for cleaning a keyboard, and the white?  Well, that polishes eyeglasses!  Does a good job, too.

One experience surprised and disappointed me.  There were lots of trade journals and magazines represented, as well as major business and economic publications.  When I approached the booth for one of the latter, the young woman began her spiel about a special offer for trade show participants, a discount on subscriptions, bla bla bla, and showed me just some of their specialized journals…some for this group, some for that….she told me they also have a special magazine for women in high tech.  When I asked to see it, since she had stacks of samples of all the others, she said that she didn’t have any with her, because they had assumed that most trade show participants would be male.  I raised my eyebrows, looked at her, and quietly said “Well, that was a fatal mistake, now, wasn’t it?”   She looked back at me, and just as quietly answered “Yes, it was a fatal mistake, and I wish I had had a say in the matter.”  After a moment she turned and started her spiel with some other people standing there…she understood quite well that she wasn’t going to get any of my money.           Stereotypes and discrimination live on.

The whole place was pretty packed.  By the end of the day we were all tired, there were fewer people but the noise level was just as high, after some booths had been distributing glasses of beer all day.    I headed for the train and the ride home with my loot.  The following day there was an organised busload of people from work who went to the trade show together, so I had a quieter work environment!

‘Twas an interesting day, a nice break from routine, and I had a fascinating conversation with a fellow passenger on the train home about knitting.

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