TPI Tradeshow IS on target
If there is one thing I despise, it is the agony of getting inundated daily by trade shows trying to convince us theirs is “the one” we need to be at. With God as my witness, every employee in our company could spend every last working minute manning a booth at every trade show opportunity that landed on our plate.
When we were a fledgling little startup, I made sure we were represented at the most popular trade shows. We proudly showcased at the Farm Progress Show, National Farm Machinery Show, Nebraska Ag Expo, Iowa Ag Expo, and on, and on, and on. It took me a while before I realized that all these trade shows are like a “shotgun.” They target every person in the entire ag industry. Despite attendance in the tens of thousands, a fraction of a percent was really interested in the autonomous technology we were developing. Most were treasure hunters looking for free hats. Separating the wheat from the chaff with each person who wandered into our booth was undaunting.
Last year, we pulled back on attending these shotgun trade shows for two reasons. First, talk is cheap, and I am convinced our time is better spent actually deploying an autonomous system into an operation. This is a new technology and there is still a lot for both the developers (us) and users (you) to learn. Second, I wanted to dedicate our resources to trade shows that are “rifles”, i.e. those that are dedicated to a specific industry – ones that foster education and cultivate a community within an industry.
When I met Wade Wilbur at his Kansas sod farm, his first words of advice were, “You really need to join TPI and demo this at their conferences.” Turns out, this was some of the best advice I ever received. Between the technical sessions, hands-on workshops, tight-knit community, and comradery, this is, hands down, one of the best trade shows we’ve ever attended. We’ll certainly be at this year’s event in Orlando, and be sure to stop by our red tent on field day. Sorry that we won’t be handing out free hats, but we will be giving away free rolls of Sabanto branded duct tape – the handyman’s secret weapon.
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