The year - 2002.
The city - Minneapolis.
The event - CEDIA EXPO.
What sticks out most in my mind about the Minneapolis is the “gerbil tubes” that joined all the buildings. You could get anywhere without ever going outside. If I remember correctly, it was cold. The tubes were good.
But let me start at the beginning…
decade ago, I knew little about it and no idea how to find out more. It is my father’s company and he isn’t exactly the “mentor” type. But, since I am his daughter, he would leave me at the store to figure it out. Learning how to set up a system in 2002 was like learning as second language. Composite, S-Video, Component, Optical, Coaxial… Then
you had to figure out what connections were even available on each unit. Crazy times.
Most of my knowledge came from just doing it. Or as I like to say, “Fake it until you make it.” Until one hooks up an AV receiver, one will never really understand HOW to hook up an AV receiver. (Sounds like that could be in a fortune cookie.) I would also flip through industry magazines, and even cut out articles for reference. (Nerd alert!)
Then one cloudy day (okay, I don’t really remember the weather), my father decided that he would take me to my first CEDIA EXPO. Brochures started showing up in the mail, and as I started to page through the mountains of offers, announcements and invitations, I noticed there were classes one could take. I signed up.
After a quick flight and event registration, I stepped onto the CEDIA EXPO floor. This is an experience that can’t really be explained. Booths as big as houses with technology you didn’t even know existed. It is amazing, overwhelming and over-stimulating. Nothing, no webinar, no training, no web page, no other show can compare to EXPO. (If this is going to be your first year, remember to plan, plan, plan! You can’t see everything.) Don’t even think about sleeping.
Helen Heneveld taught my first ever CEDIA class, titled “Whole House Systems Overview.” At that time 50% of homes were connected to the Internet and we were told that, “The number of networked homes will soar to 9.95 million by the end of 2003, up from 660,000 in 1998.” Now today we are being told that 25 BILLION Internet-connected devices will exist by 2015
. Clearly Ms. Heneveld knew where things were headed and thanks to her, by the end of class I had an idea too. (For those of you who may be wondering, yes I still have all the files from all the classes I’ve taken over the years.)
My only other class that year was “The 7 steps to Home Theater.” This is still one of my all-time favorite classes. Though the best slide in that presentation warned us, “If you remember only one thing from today: If you do great work (and charge accordingly), you’ll never worry about getting enough work.” Can you think of better words to live by in this industry? This presentation does not have a name on it, so, unfortunately I cannot give credit to its author. But I still use tidbits from this class today.
Since 2002 I’ve attended almost every CEDIA EXPO. Over these years I’ve developed relationships, and it’s not just the products I go for anymore, but the people. I love spending two hours with Crestron. I love listening to a 100K Home Theater demo. I love all the promises of a better brighter future. But what is the real reason I go each year? I go because I can find out if I’m in the ball park
. Turning to the person next to me in class asking how they
run their business is priceless. This is a way to forge an alliance and maybe even a friendship.
it is a necessity to be at CEDIA EXPO. This year, won’t you join me and the rest of the #CEDIA
weeps at #CEDIA12? Use code CT09 and register for FREE
About Heather L. Sidorowicz
Heather L. Sidorowicz is a Project Manager/Designer at Southtown Audio Video and is a member of the #CEDIATweeps social media team. Follow Heather on Twitter at @tech_chi.