In years past, I have spoken at several LDI Institute sessions, created content for various booths, been involved in programming, setup, or "manning" a booth. One year, I was even a judge for the various product awards that are given out. On top of all that, there are always meetings, special demonstrations, people to see, and, of course, obligatory party attendance.
All of this is to say that, in previous year's, I have failed miserably at going to LDI for what LDI really is for: to see, in person, new products and to speak with the people creating those products. Of course, all the other activities are necessary. Someone has to speak, design, etc. Nonetheless, what I really miss is seeing the gear and letting it sink into my brain for new applications. I know there are many things I have missed in the past. I told myself that I could always plan on seeing stuff later on at manufacturers' demo rooms or via the web. I think we all know that the web is not really the same thing as seeing, touching, and talking about a product.
The most amazing thing to me is seeing other people's reaction to something and hearing what they took away
from the interaction. Everyone approaches a solution from his own background. I call it the rigging dilemma: if a carpenter and an electrician both are approached to hang an object, the electrician will probably use pipe and chesboroughs. The carpenter will probably build something out of wood, or, if they have welding skills, weld up a bracket. The rigger would use a chain motor.
We all approach a problem with our experience as our base. In this way, I like to hear what application someone else will use a particular product for and what they consider the positive aspects of a new product. This always opens my brain for alternate applications from my initial impression.
This year I am trying something different. I am arriving late Thursday night and leaving Saturday morning. That gives me all day Friday to walk the show floor (and do the one meeting that I ended up with) and nothing else. I expect it will require complete concentration mode in order to achieve it. I'll let you know how it works out. See you at the show.
-Rodd McLaughlin, Idyll Hands Imagery, Inc.