Archive for August, 2015

ILTACON 2015 Survival List

Author: Ed Colandra
August 12, 2015

ILTACON 5In less than a month, thousands of legal technology vendors, legal professionals, consultants and media will descend upon Las Vegas for the annual Legal Technology conference known simply as ILTACon. Starting August 30 and concluding Sept 3, and billed as an educational and networking event, ILTACon has become a mecca of topical panel discussions, product demos, arguably the largest exhibition hall, and an ever growing list of companies representing the hot topics of the Legal IT universe. Whether you are attending to demonstrate your latest eDiscovery solution, to meet up with colleagues with shared interests in Cloud computing, or to hear from the largest industry vendors on their vision on security, document management, time and billing software, or a host of others, ILTACon doesn’t disappoint. Here’s a shortcut link to the agenda for the complete grid and schedule.

ILTACon Survival List  Having attended ILTA Conference for several years, here’s my ILTACon survival list, whether you are an exhibitor, a panelist, a member of the media or an attendee:

Shoes While it’s true that many attendees adopt the grunge look when attending tech conferences (like wearing a Springsteen concert shirt from 1992), for the rest of us, it’s usually khakis, and a golf shirt or some version of gender-independent business casual. For booth duty, the company logo shirt, and black or khakis are also the typical uniform. But shoes can be your worst nightmare or your best friend. Personally, I have always held a high respect for those wearing stylish high heels for 3 days, but for me soft soled, leather uppers with a cushion insole has saved me from feeling the effects of those long, long walks getting around ILTACon (and if you haven’t been before, be sure to review the site map on the ILTACon website to truly appreciate what you can expect. One last thought, bring TWO pairs. My good friend and colleague found her fashionable sandals broke a strap last year at ILTACon in Nashville, and discovered it was easier to find a portable defibrillator than a comparable pair of shoes.

O-T-C Meds Of course, if you are on prescription medication from your physician, you know to bring them along. But if not, whether as a result of the aforementioned aches from walking, or the morning after a lively “social event” that goes into the wee hours, you’re going to be happy to have an ample supply of aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or whatever is your preferred pain reliever. Likewise extra contact lenses, eye care solutions, an extra pair of glasses, or anything that can help restore vision after an 8-10 hour non-stop day (and extended evening social). Vitamins (I like Airborne brand) can also restore depleted levels of vitamins and minerals from eating on the run, and the occasional adult beverage. And an inexpensive first aid kit with adhesive bandages, and antibiotic cream, and antacids always comes in handy.

Exhibitor Specific Stuff I’m just going to run through this list rather than making a checklist, but these simple reminders can be a life saver when it’s time to go home. Scissors, tape, sharpies, labels, sewing kit (buttons come loose), business cards, bowls for your goodies (aka premium items), bar stools/chairs (yep you can rent them, but they are often cheaper to buy and toss, than rent for $150 a day), power strips, inventory all the power cables, USB cables, realize that some laptops use display ports (which are different from the old VGA or even USB ports), business cards, scanner rental, and booth duty schedule. Don’t forget your laptop and phone chargers (and remember to bring them home and not leave them plugged into the hotel room outlet when you check out). I recommend at least two 2400ma power sticks to keep my phone from running out of juice Hint: this is a popular giveaway a booths these days. J If you’re not an exhibitor, and plan to schedule meetings with other non-exhibitors, stake out a convenient place within a short walk for privacy. Holding a meeting surrounded by people sitting on the floor charging their laptops and phones is never a good idea.

Final tips: Business cards – when you exchange business cards, take a moment to write down the gist of the conversation because you won’t remember when you get back home. Badge Scanners – Have a solid plan to incorporate the scans into your CRM (or Excel spreadsheet) when you return home, and send out a thank you note, EVEN if you think the odds are low that the contact isn’t a qualified buyer. They just might not be – yet. Be social but know when to say no. I’ve witnessed some dance moves that were alcohol infused. It wasn’t pretty, and the fact is, you are at a business event, not a party – even when it’s called a party.

Final rule: NO EMAIL AT THE BOOTH. You want to check the stock market, play Sudoku or Words with Friends, or catch up on email, don’t let the lull in traffic seduce you into thinking you’re off duty. If someone were to pass by your booth, and you are heads down on your iPhone, most likely they’ll just keep walking. Unless there is an urgent text, keep the phone in your pocket, and when there is a lull in the crowd, walk around and learn about your competitors and potential partners. Get the most out of your investment in the cost of being at ILTACon. Oh and have fun, too.