DSE Mixer Sponsor Profiles: Digital Signage Expo/Exponation

February 20, 2013 by Dave Haynes


All the sponsors of the Preset Group DSE Mixer have now been Q&A’d here, save one. Digital Signage Expo kindly stepped up this year to directly sponsor the Mixer, with Chris Gibbs explaining the evening was now firmly a part of the DSE week experience, and he wanted to support that.

That was cool, since when I started the thing I was concerned it would be regarded as some sort of outlier event drafting off the trade show. It’s not, and to the credit of Chris and his boss Angelo Varrone, they get it.

I asked them to provide a Q&A response, but I think the folks might be a wee bit busy, with the show less than a week out.

So I’ll just say why I go, and why other people should go to DSE.

I was not at the original one in San Francisco, but I have been at all of them since 2005, even the DSE East one tried in Philadelphia in 2008 (OK day 1, crickets day 2).

I used to go because I was part of the sales teams of a pair of companies and was chained to a booth, peddling software pots and pans. But since the 2010 show, I’ve gone on my own nickel to cover the thing.

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For me, and for a lot of people, the show is one-stop shopping. I can see a lot of things and people quickly in one place. On-site demos beat webinars and screen-sharing sessions. Fiddling with software and touch screens, and looking at new display tech, beats the hell out of websites, sales sheets and phone calls. I can bomb through the whole floor pretty quickly now, and then do a second pass to stop and study what looks interesting and different.

I have not spent a lot of time in the conference sessions. I used to dodge them because they were not very well policed and idiot sales guys and CEOs would ignore the agenda and topic, and just pitch their product or company. But I understand education head Richard Lebovitz has got squarely on top of that and the sessions have been on-topic and worth it for the past 2-3 years.

I hear varied reports about the quality of the crowd. When I was selling stuff, the numbers of quality walk-up prospects was pretty small. But in talking to people I trust, they say the ROI for the booth, the travel and the entertainment is there in terms of deals that were started as DSE walk-up prospects. I also know one software CEO who says the numbers of booked meetings they have already for this year is ridiculously good. Having an on-site meeting area is smart and useful.

For newbies, I pity them because there has always been and still are too many companies selling variations on the same thing, and most of them doing a crappy job of clearly showing what makes them different. Selfishly (but not really) the effective way for a serious end-user to walk the floor is to hire someone like me or Pat to walk them around, steer them away from the knuckleheads, and decode all the blabber. Most, however, just turn their name badges around and keep moving when someone tries to reel them in to something the end-user doesn’t care about.

I also go each year because it’s a chance to catch up with a lot of industry people who have transformed from contacts into friends. It’s a busy social calendar, and even kookier this year because my spouse is coming and seeing Las Vegas for the first time (me = 20th or something).

If you are going, safe travels. If you are not, as always I will try to write summaries and, if things go as planned, do some video posts as well (with guys who know how to use cameras).

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