Sunday, November 27, 2005

Return to London

Friday was an adventure. I scraped off the snow from the car and gingerly drove to Gloucester, to find the train arriving bang on time, the London tube lines working smoothly and getting pretty much to the ExCel Centre in the East End for the business start up show exactly when I had planned to. 

Was it worth it? Hhmmn. I think for the chapter in 'Your free ticket to the Titanic' (actually going off that title for my 'How not to' guide... working on an alternative) on Going to Shows (as opposed to 'Exhibiting at' the darn things), I would put a few flags up against anything that is free, especially if it is to the public, which promptly goes against my egalitarian grain and a few past blogs about pricing the common person out of reasonable access. It was frankly, a bit of a zoo, and all the potentially decent seminars required queuing for about an hour beforehand, and even then you might not get in. 

At least I found out that their version of Dragon's Den, called Lion's Den, was another one we'd done well to miss out on, despite applying. I couldn't actually get close enough to hear whether the 'Lions' were as evil as in the TV series, but it just didn't seem worth it for the quality of exposure.

And 99% of the exhibitors were pretty much what you'd expect. Banks, accountants, website designers. No one we needed to buy from and nobody we could sell to. But....

I did get to meet Trevor Baylis of wind-up radio fame, and it was kind of fun to chat with a guy for whom I have great respect as an inventor, champion of practical eco-products (though it seems he got poorly served with his iconic wind-up radio invention) and defender of inventor's rights

I also had an interesting chat at the Brother stand with a very nice techincal guy. They were there to flog their products, but when I started asking about their environmental stance he got quite animated and we had a very worthwhile exchange. He liked the sound of and said he pass us on to 'those who know', while I liked the sound of their commitment and see a feature in the offing.

Maybe it was worth going after all. Especially when, as I left, I was stopped for the umpteenth time and asked about my laptop sling and having explained its origins ended up with a few more converts to the cause. They even suggested I patent the idea, so maybe it was even more worthwhile meeting Trevor earlier! Nah, that one I'll offer for free on the site. What goes around comes around.