news - MAY 2022
Good to be Back
Attending a trade show again after two years.
By Bill Hensley
MY FEET ARE KILLING ME. My back is a little sore. As if I have been standing around all day. Without sitting down. Without eating a decent meal except maybe breakfast, and without taking advantage of the sit-stand desk that usually supports my workday. But it was a good kind of sore feet. It was a good kind of sore back. In fact, it was great. It was the first time at a real trade show in over two years and it felt good to be back even if it will feel better to lie flat on my back as soon as I get to the hotel. We are here at Integrated Systems Europe 2022, and while it’s too early to know attendance figures it looks like a pretty solid turnout.
Barcelona is an absolutely beautiful city, and it seems like everyone on public transportation is wearing a mask like the local authorities are requesting. Inside of the Fira Barcelona tradeshow facility that’s not the case. In fact, only a few folks are masked up as we are talking about new products and technologies just like we used to. Most people I have talked to today feel like business is coming back—at least the trade show business—and most seemed more worried about failing the Covid test before heading back to the U.S. then they did about actually contracting Covid with symptoms. We got back into familiar territory and began behaving the way we had grown accustomed to behaving in that familiar territory.
And while masking up and keeping distanced became quite familiar to some of us, of course others never grew so accustomed to the practice and had a different approach to working through the pandemic. In this writing, we won’t judge right or wrong in those polarly opposite pandemic approaches. We are where we are. Major cities in China are still in lockdown, and the global supply chain is still in more than a bit of turmoil. Inflation is something many of us have never experienced while others of us are old enough to remember 14% home mortgages.
It felt good to be back at a trade show, with all the headaches that setting up a show entails—long flights, lost packages, late nights, early mornings, jet lag, misprinted graphics—and all the joys of seeing friends, colleagues, former colleagues, competitors, a new city.
The voice announces the show has started. The hall seems a little less busy than shows of old, but the traffic is consistent. One of the early visitors to the booth is an integrator from Kharkiv, Ukraine, now living in another European country and trying to make a fresh start. We communicate mostly using the translate apps on our phones. I scan his badge. He promises to return the next day to speak with our Europe sales director who was locked in meetings for most of the first day.
The lunch lines are long. We oversubscribe to our sandwiches, and some end up dry and stale by closing time. I hope to order more efficiently tomorrow. The feet hurt. The back is sore. I look forward to the next day at the show. It’s good to be back.