Attending the New Media Expo in Las Vegas

This past week I attended the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, also known as NMX. I was there working the ManageWP.com booth and promoting their product and services.

If you’re not familiar with NMX, it used to be named “Blog World” and is an event focused on blogging, podcasting, and social media. I attended this same conference back in 2008 and at that time, it was a real eye opener for me. In fact, I remember seeing all kinds of people using Twitter to follow the event details and remember thinking “What the hell is this Twitter thing?”

Oh how things have changed in just a few short years.

The Flight to Las Vegas

Flight to NMX

The flight included two interesting details:

  1. My seat neighbor was named “Meeka” and her serviceman trainer (who’s name I don’t recall). He and Meeka had been together a month and they were on their way to Vegas for another month of intensive training and bonding before heading to the Middle East. Meeka is a bomb sniffing canine, so needless to say, I felt pretty safe on the flight.
  2. When the captain pointed out that we were over the deepest part of the Grand Canyon, he also made note of the snow that could be seen in the higher elevations. Pretty cool to see.

Staying at the Rio All Suites Hotel

Rio Hotel and Casino

The hotel was nice although not on the strip. NMX was held at the convention center there. Getting to the strip was easy enough as they had a convenient shuttle that ran every half hour. Aside from that, you could also take a cab for a mere $10.

My biggest complaint with the Rio has to be their ventilation. In Vegas, people can smoke inside the hotels and casinos, but most of them have such good ventilation, it’s hardly noticiable. Not so with the Rio. Every day on my way to and from the convention center, I had to walk through the casino floor which was filled with smokers.

I used to be a smoker, so I’m not judging, I’m just saying…with the mix of the dry weather and the poor ventilation, let’s just say there were a few too many nosebleeds.

Setting up the Tradeshow Booth

NMX Booth Setup
Exhibit Hall Floor Before Setup

Click the image above and you’ll see a panorama of the convention center floor as the Exhibitors’ booth materials started to arrive. Expansive? Yes.

ManageWP reserved a 10ft space and I had checked the fabric backwall and vertical banner through the airline, and we had the table banner shipped to the hotel. This meant that we didn’t have to wait for our booth materials to arrive like most companies and subsequently it made our setup much easier than it might have been if we had a monstrosity of a booth (like Blackberry did;)

Exploring the Strip

nmx-exploring-vegas-strip
James Mowery Taking a Photo

My colleague, James Mowery (U.S. CEO for ManageWP) and I ventured to the strip after setting up our booth and strolled around taking in the atmosphere, people watching, and looking for an ATM that didn’t charge an arm and a leg in fees. We finally found one at Caesar’s Palace that only charged $6.

It was pretty easy to walk between different hotels using the walking bridges (as James is on above taking a photo). I was also pleased that we happened to time it right to see the fountains at the Bellagio.

Working the ManageWP.com Booth

Adam W. Warner - NMX 2013
Me in the Booth Before the Rush
James Mowery at the NMX Show
James Explaining the Benefits of ManageWP.com

Working the tradeshow was great. I really enjoy talking with people in person about a product and service I believe in and use myself. It’s also interesting to learn how people are utilizing WordPress in their own businesses, and also to advise on a few tips and tricks along the way.

The two days of being on the floor were long, and as always, I advise wearing comfortable shoes and staying hydrated;)

Celebrity Sighting (and Meeting)

NMX Chelsea and Dan Gheesling
Chelsea Gheesling, Adam W. Warner, and Dan Gheesling

I’m typically not a reality show fan, but I must admit that my guilty pleasure each year is Big Brother. In the above photo, I’m seen with Dan Gheesling and his wife Chelsea. Dan was on the show twice, and he’s also from Michigan (as I am originally).

I didn’t know he would be attending until I was looking over the NMX program, and when I learned that I was keeping an eye out for him (no pun intended, I have an artificial eye) to see if I could shake hands and say hello. Obviously that happened, and they were both very friendly and gracious. Both Dan and Chelsea are doing some interesting things here and here.

The Unconference Moments

NMX Unconference
James, Nicole, and Kristen

As with most conferences I attend, the real networking, brainstorming, and general good times happen during those moments before, in-between, or after the actual conference sessions and exhibit hall visits.

In other words, business deals and friendships are forged over breakfast, dinner, or at the hotel bar. I had the pleasure of a nice dinner and some great laughs with @JMowery, @CuteCultureChic, and @KristenWright_ on our last evening. Thanks for the good times:)

NMX Summary

As an exhibitor, my experience at NMX was pretty great. I really don’t have any complaints, except maybe the $3.25 mini bottles of water that the hotel was selling, but that’s no fault of the organizers. In fact, or organizer contacts were very helpful and made us feel like we were the most important exhibitors there every time we spoke with them.

I can’t speak to the sessions personally as I didn’t attend any. I did hear several people complaining that some of the content was too basic for them. This could have been due to their poor sessions choices of course, but what I suggested might be nice is do things in a WordCamp style, and that would be to have sessions broken into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced tracks to enable attendees to pick and choose a bit more easily.

What it Means for my Business

As you may have read in my previous post, I am focusing on building my own business, and in-particular, my partnership with FooBox. There were many people at NMX using WordPress and a show like this is a great opportunity to get our product in front of agencies and individuals alike.

By this time next year, FooPlugins will be completely off the ground and our suite of WordPress plugins and services will surely deserve a booth at NMX 2014.

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