Last year, due to weather and a series of conflicts, I missed every major convention except ShutterFest. It was a great year, but missing a serious ongoing component - contact with old and new friends. While I talk to photographers every day via email, IMs and often the phone, nothing beats a handshake...or germ-less #elbow-bump like my good buddy Bob Coates started on Facebook before IUSA this weekend.
Yesterday afternoon, wandering over to the trade show floor, I realized just how long it had been, as I bumped into friends I haven't seen in at least two years! With each renewed how-are-you experience I found myself going through a process.
I was searching my own internal Google page and remembering people's names! It's not my age that's slowing me down, but 40+ years of conventions, workshops and trade shows. What's funny about my process is I can look at somebody I haven't seen for a long time and remember where they're from. I can remember what they do in photography, often specific images they've shared, and sometimes even what they ordered the last time we had a meal together - but their name always comes up last!
There were years in the past where the convention season started with CES, then PMA, IUSA, WPPI, followed by several state conventions, my own summer school program and finishing with PPE in NYC. I had regular contact with the industry. Fast forward to today, and things have changed, I spend more time in Cyberspace and less time face to face, and then, like many of you, think my memory isn't what it used to be.
Years ago I was feeling frustrated over forgetting things. I'd walk into the kitchen and have to pause, not remembering what I went to get. So, since I have a family history of Alzheimer's I told my doctor I wanted to have the pre-disease test. He gave me this pathetic look and said, "Going into the kitchen and forgetting what you went there for is just overload. Going into the kitchen and forgetting what the kitchen is used for is Alzheimer's."
So here's my point this morning. First, nothing beats a conference where we have an opportunity to be together as an industry. No matter what kind of year 2017 was for your business, it's time to recharge and get ready for a new year. That energy to recharge comes from your network, and nothing beats personal contact. If you're not here at IUSA and on the fence about state conventions, WPPI or ShutterFest, all coming up, just decide to attend as many conferences as you can.
Second, if we bump into each other this week at IUSA and I have a dumb look on my face, just give me a few seconds! I'm on overload and simply out of bandwidth - that internal Google system in my head is constantly refreshing the page.
And last but not least - the media has all of us justifiably paranoid about this year's flu season. So, Bob Coates has the right idea - go for the elbow bump!
As always, make it a great day away from the business. Pay attention to those people special in your life and if you're here in Nashville, cherish the fact that we're an industry responsible for constantly changing the world. Where would the world be without imaging?
Happy Sunday everybody - go for those eleven-second hugs today, and make it a day where you pat yourself on the back - it's a new year and an opportunity to simply make it the best one yet.