Thursday, September 6, 2007


You are a new company to the games industry, and you are wondering how it is that you make those important connection with others in the same industry.

The answer is trade shows, conventions, expos, whatever you choose to call them.

You need to go. A friend of mine who is now the successful business man in the games world once told me the same thing when I asked him how it was that he met all the contacts he now has. Go to trade shows, he said.

Today I was standing in my booth alone, because I hate to admit this but my staff abandon me. They decided they didn't want to come to the trade show because its very time consuming and far away from home. I agreed, it is hard to see a benefit to something that hasn't happened yet. For a moment, I wanted to stay home as well in the safe womb of my own space and enjoy a week of doing the usual comfortable task to which I have grown accustomed.

Then I woke up and smelled the stench of reality, and decided that here lies another lesson I have learned and deemed worthy of sharing on this blog.

My business, and if you are reading this probably yours too, will utterly fail to achieve the greatness you seek if you do not attend these shows and speak to those who matter, and those who don't. You will never know until you talk to them for a while.

Who are those people? Who matters to you? You have a game and you are distributing on your own website and it appears to be doing well, so why bother right?

Well those people are your peers for starters. You need to know them. Know your enemy, because they compete with you, and know your friends because they are there to help you when you need it. For example I have met several business people at this show alone who provide a service I had no idea was even in existence. These things benefit me, I need to move forward and incorporate them to get that important leg up on those who are in the same market as I am.

Then I also met my competition, and received enlightenment. There are things I am doing, that they are not. Should this be cause for arrogant triumph? No, it should be cause for a meeting with them to discuss how what I have could benefit them, and in so doing I can turn a competitor in to a partner and we both flourish. Seeing this beneficial synergy (and yes I hate myself a little for using that word but this is a case where it makes sense) is what sets apart a savvy business owner from one who will blunder in to becoming a statistic: 80% of start up companies fail.

Don't give in to your desire to stay in your comfort zone and stay home. Even if you are anti-social you need to go to these shows and network. It may be acting, but like any role you will find that which you pretend to be is what you eventually become.

Be friendly, talk to everybody who approaches your booth. They will skirt you, and dive in o grab a brochure without making eye contact. Trump them with a friend greeting, a smile and a question about how they are doing and what it is they do. Don't talk about yourself at first.

Don't sit. Don't stand behind a table. You are there to connect, so make your physical self connectable.

Don't put your hands in your pockets, and do shake hands with people when you meet them and begin a formal conversation.

Don't eat at your booth, and keep some breath mints around. You can't smell the slaughterhouse of your own horrid exhalations because you are immune to them.

I have learned these things through careful observation as some sort of scientist observing an island of untouched wildlife would.

I talked to a few people who were just passing by, and discovered that they were in fact looking for exactly what it was that I am selling, only they didn't know it until I spoke to them.

Diamonds in the rough, but one has to brush the dust aside first to find them. These gems do not arrive gift wrapped in to your hands.

Oh, I would also like to add that while the cost of attendance is high (about 2,500 dollars for a booth, and then about 2000 more bucks for table rentals and hotels and plane tickets) your option of making a sale to somebody would pay for this ten fold. Do not be daunted by the high price, because it is part of your advertising budget. You have one of those right?

Have any observations of your own? You do... I know it... share now or you must narfle the garthok.

1 comment:

Brad Smith said...

No sage advice to offer, but I hope the contacts you've made pan out. Sounds hopeful!