Team OS/2 at PC'96 - The Post show Update

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by Derek Clarkson‎

It's now a few weeks after the show and we have finally cleared up the house and gotten back to normal. One of the major sponsors for the show, a OS/2 friendly reporter and some of the local Team member's stayed at my place during the show which made things around here rather chaotic, so it's only know that I've been able to sit down and right this.

Dear Diary ......

Contents

2 days before the show

Sunday and things where going crazy, all the EDGE machines had arrived at the flat a few days ago and as at last night one of the few IBM'ers I know who actually gets things done, was here getting a full per to per up and running and installing and configuring the whole lot as a Intranet. The stand is almost finished and we are about to start moving equipment down to the exhibition buildings.

The show itself is taking up approx 15,000 sqr meters of the building (half! the total space !) and our location is fantastic. I've been down at the stand all day building it and giving myself heart attacks everytime somebody climbs up a ladder and on top of the stand. 3m is a long way to fall onto concret floor.

1 day before the show

It's finally all together. The shop area is stocked with so much software we are getting into trouble with AES for having boxes all over the isles. THe boys have some pumping techno running through the PA, the projector and two of the overhead 20" monitors are displaying NeoN Graphics 3D demo, whilst the other two 20" overhead monitors are running a selection of rendered backgrounds from my home system. The distributors are still freaking out over the fact that they do not have enough demos ready.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I've just finished screen printing the bomber jackets for the crew. The ink is not wanting to dry properly but they look REALLY KOOL - big black bomber jackets with our OS/2 Emblem and Team OS/2 scrawled all over them in huge letters.

People are getting really excited and getting some sleep is a long way off.

Opening day

Disaster ! ! ! - our stand took a power serge from the buildings mains around lunch time, blowing our PA (my stereo!) and wiping the CMOS of one of the main demo systems. We were back up and running in an hour and by the end of the afternoon and the OneUPS stand promised us two 2000kva UPS's by the next morning.

The good news, we are run off our feet. The IBM stand keeps asking for staff from us but I have to keep replying that we cannot spare any. Craig Allen comes across at 3pm to do a Merlin demo and will be over every day at this time to do it - Wicked !

The Neon graphics software, and CD-ROM burning software that SBT are displaying is getting a lot of attention, as is the Genitech Pentium Pro machine with the QuickTime software one it. Have you ever seen a computer play a quicktime movie and format a back up tape at the same time ???? I have - now!

I've been stopped several times whilst walking around the show thanx to the jackets. I've got this big red and black Mad Hatters Top hat I found in a local store and I've plastered OS/2 Warp Stickers all over it, Wicked . . . gives me a license to do crazy things and get away with them.

Wednesday (2nd day)

The UPS's went in this morning and things are going full blast. IBM has started referring people to us when they get questions which are too technical for their sales staff. How the hell do I know how to configure external removable resources in Warp Server advanced? It makes you wonder really !

The big event tonight . . . AES's show awards. Merlin got two nominations, but didn't win. The after awards party was fun and a few people including myself got rather plastered.

Thursday

Another busy day and a late night tonight too. Every ones got the pattern running now. We've modified the way we talk to people a bit and how we do presentations after some discussions last night. I've got a sore head but after a few cups of coffee things are cooking again. It must be the adrenalin.

I've had two offers of money for my hat and almost lost it last night at the AES do.

We also come across a stand whilst walking around which is promoting Australian Training videos, and they've got Warp videos including Introduction to Warp, Advanced, MultiMedia and more. So Oliver has a chat about doing a Merlin one, and I check out the quality of them. They're very good, not boring like most, so we take a bundle back to our stand to show the guys and promote to customers.

Friday - Final day

Everyone's tired and horse from talking too much, but the crowds arrive and we fire up again for the last effort. Things get frantic and crazy and the day wears on.

Oliver and I go over to the Powersoft stand and put some pressure on them regarding the handling of Watcom's VX-REXX (Powersoft own Watcom). We are hoping to get them motivated to re-start the development and support of it so that developers like myself can continue to use the product.

At night, a few of us go to a wine bar I know and spend a huge amount of money getting very drunk.

The aftermath

It's taken two days to clean up and another week to get my house to the stage where I can see the floor.

We've had a lot of discussions since the show ended, on the whole everyone seems to think that we did very well. Considering it was our first attempt at this and as far as we know, a independent Team OS/2 stand without IBM support has never been done anywhere else in the world at a major trade show, the general consensus is that it was a huge success. We did quite a few sales, and a number of people have reported to me that they made some very good contacts with new customers. The distributors have made contact with several new markets and are looking at some quite good deals.

The reaction of the visitors to the show seemed to be one of amazement towards us in that we had no support from IBM. In fact, I had it reported to me a number of times that we actually got some business and new contacts because where were not associated with IBM. Apparently some people feel that IBM is too difficult to deal with.

There is a fair amount of talk about doing a stand next year and how it would be done. Certainly we have learned a lot about doing an event like this and there will be quite a few changes made if we do. However this will depend on if I can be convinced to do it and enough financial sponsors can be found. This last is quite likely as we have already been approached by several new ones.

We certainly gained some prominance at the show amongst other exhibitors. Many stopped us and commented on our stand and staff. They loved my hat ;-)

I would also like to take this chance to thank the people who gave more than I asked time and time again:

Andrew Keil For putting up with construction work in his garage, helping to organize and being one of the first to listen to my crazy ideas.
Philip Harding For spending the time to CAD/CAM the stand, produce the major structural design, providing most of the core construction materials, spending countless hours at the docks building it and being willing to turn my crazy ideas into reality.
Terry Kemp For being willing to act as a driver during the show, endless enthusiasm, and a willingness to get in and do it.
Micheal Barrow For countless hours in freezing conditions at the docks building the stand, always willing to be there, and most especially, a big thanks from myself and the distributors for the fantastic job in organizing and handling the shop during the show.
Bob Traynor For taking the time to be there all the time and construction work on the stand.
Gordon Thompson
and his daughter Kara
For construction work, vital tools and generally being there when we needed a spare pair of hands. Kara for helping me with the plastering of the 2m high OS/2 logo.
Phil and Ralph For turning up and helping just when I needed you guys. For lugging stuff around without complaining and having patience.
The OS/2 Sig Several people from the Melbourne PC User Group OS/2 SIG helped out from time to time so I would like to thank them for their support.
Oliver Franklin
from Frankson Information Management,
Dion Gillard
from MultiTask Consulting,
Voytek Edmont
from SBT Australia
For having the courage to put their money where their mouths are and come to the party by backing the whole thing.
Frank Conner
and his daughter, Simone
For bringing his business acume and knowledge of people which turned out to be quite vital in analyzing our progress during the event. Simone for being willing to be there all the time to provide much needed breaks for other staff members and help out with the shop.
Nic MCGuigan
Craig Allen
For configuring our Intranet, giving presentations, being enthusiastic about what we were trying to do and for being the only IBM'ers who actually did something to help.

Finally from my viewpoint. This has probably been one of the toughest things I have ever had to do: 6 months in the making, 15 people in two cities to co-ordinate, $50,000 worth of equipment, designing and building a stand from scratch which was over 5m tall, and all the day to day things involved in running a stand at the biggest PC show in Australia.

Would I do it again - You bet !

later,
Derek.

Sponsors

Team OS/2 would like to thank the following sponsors:

Sponsor Contribution

EDGE Computers

Most of the computer gear (99%)
Blue Sea Containers Warehouse space to build the stand

Electroboard
16th Floor, 390 St Kilda Road
Melbourne VIC 3004
Tel: +61-3-9866-2988

LitePro 580 Digital Projector

Netstra

Internet accounts
Personal Best Fashions Screen printing supplies and stencils for team jackets
Dulux Paints (Wholesale)
West Melbourne
Paints and supplies for stand