This is a ceremony where everyone who attended the show pulls out all the business card leads from the fishbowl and their pockets and begins separating the “bingo” prospects from the real prospects. For those who don’t know what a bingo lead is, these are the junk leads nicknamed after the pull out cards you find in magazines (“Want an exciting career in Electronics? Check the boxes below to receive information.”) Those people who check all the boxes, like a card at a bingo game, are people like me at age 12 (I liked to receive a lot of mail.) Hence the name bingo leads: usually professors at obscure universities who think trade shows exist for their own personal postgraduate study.
Looking at the stack of cards in front of me, I can divide them into certain categories: so let’s start swapping!
First on my stack is nowmarketing (by the way, when did companies stop capitalizing their name?). nowmarketing falls in the category of “company you want to keep an eye on.” Formerly Vflash, nowmarketing has two products: Vflash and #now (pronounced “pound now”). #now is a new player in the field of “Cell Phone” marketing similar to Verisign’s Global Voice Registry System that was introduced about six months ago. Basically #now allows users to hit “#now” on their cell phones followed by a code name or number and be connected to information or have information downloaded to an email address.
For example, suppose you are at a trade show like @d:tech. If each booth had a #now number, you could enter those numbers on your cell phone to have product information sent to your email rather than having to see your chiropractor after the show to treat the effects of hauling half a ton of press kits around for three days. On the other hand, Vflash is a downloadable widget that sits on your desktop and updates you with information about various affinity-oriented products. For instance, you might download a Vflash button from your favorite band site, which would sit in your system tray and blink when new information about the band (tour schedules, videos, etc) is available.
Falling into the category of ‘new company founded by long time colleague’ is “B Connected Online” - a new company out of Westport, CT that provides services that allow people to access call centers with the push of a button on a website. Unlike LivePerson, which uses text based online chat help, B Connected Online connects users with an actual speaking person. The company was founded by Peter Bloom, whom I’ve known since he worked at MatchLogic during the early halcyon days.
Next on my stack (and falling into the category of ‘guy I know mostly from email exchanges on newsgroups but have never met’ is “Executive Summary Consulting” - an Internet marketing and media consulting and newsletter service run by Internet “Old-timer” Rick Bruner. Rick is the author “Net Results.2: Best Practices for Web Marketing" and is an all around good guy with a lot of knowledge which I sometimes take advantage of on the newsgroup we hang out on.
Next on my pile is an embarrassing one: it falls under the category of ‘person you used to work with at a former company and have completely forgotten – but they haven’t forgotten you.” One of the biggest problems for me at trade shows is my almost clinical inability to remember faces or names of people: call it sensory overload. My own mother could come up to me on the show floor and I’d have to glance down at her badge before I could feel safe calling her by name. This is particularly embarrassing since so many people seem to know who I am since my picture is attached to many of the articles I write. So when Brad Morrow of “MCSi” came up to me, calling me by name and looking vaguely familiar, I desperately grabbed at straws trying to place him. Turned out we worked together years ago at InterVU. MCSi, which recently absorbed ecommerce store development company Zengine, is one of the leading sellers and integrators of broadcast and videoconferencing systems in the US. Forgive me Brad.
All the rest of my cards fall into the category of “used to work in an Internet Startup and now I’m consulting” so we’ll just leave those alone for now. And it’s a good thing I got those cleared off my desk because next week is Internet World and Streaming Media East and a brand new stack of cards. Here’s wishing you no bingos.