What better way to better kick it off than with a report back from Internet Librarian. In my 10 years at Inmagic, I have never attended the show. My colleagues who have attended the show informed me that it's a much smaller show than SLA, and that I should expect some downtime.
The kid in me loved the thought of free time to finally fire up the PSP, but the grown-up in me hated the idea of being away from work and family attending such a "small" trade show. Ugh, plus all of the catch-up work that I would have to do when I got back ...
As I was packing my things the night before, I contemplated bringing my laptop along with the demo machine. We had initially planned for one demo machine, which our scouting report told us would be enough. At the last minute, I decided to lug it along to work on an RFI.
Aside from someone fainting on the plane right after take-off, the flight was uneventful. When the doors finally opened, I quickly realized two things.
One, I don't know how to iron. Under 100 watts of booth lighting, it looked like I had fallen asleep with my shirt on.
And two, my colleagues don't like me much, because they had completely lied to me. Our booth was super busy. The first day, the show was only open for two hours, but there was plenty of traffic. By the second day, I had to consume about a gallon of water an hour because my throat was so dry from talking.
Looking back, I'm sure glad I packed the other laptop. When we were setting up the booth, we decided to set up two demo stations, but ONLY for the purpose of creating symmetry. (Dave, our VP of Sales, has a rather unusually keen eye for detail, but that's a whole post within itself.)
We thought we wouldn't need both laptops, but much to our surprise, the machines were being utilized heavily. This would be the second time we had our social demo portrayed in this type of venue, and it was a hit. The messaging resonated, and to me, this was very important, because it validates that Inmagic is headed in the right direction.
Since the beginning, Inmagic has always catered its products and services to corporate librarians. The company has been helping these individuals build knowledge repositories since the early 80s. The suite of products has been in development for over 25 years, so I felt we had that part down.
The part that concerned me was the move to socialize the content. As with any new technology, there are a number of concerns:
- Is it just a fad?
- Will this be well received by our customers?
- Will librarians view this more as a threat than a tool that can help them?
- Will anyone really care?
Most of the people I spoke to have always wanted to create a platform to help facilitate collaboration around the content, but never knew how or didn't have the technical resources to do so.
So, as I stand there speaking to these individuals, I quietly listen, smile, and think, This sure is much more interesting than discussing MARC records.