Sunday, January 26, 2014

My adventure in New York

I should have mentioned that I was going to New York City this week. Our company had a booth at the Air
Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Expo at the Javits Convention Center (pictured at the right) from January 21-23. Our product s are used to read and store temperature, humidity, time-of-use and electrical characteristics (among others). So, people who make or use heating and cooling equipment can keep an eye on how well their equipment is working. Normally, only the sales and marketing people from our company go to these shows but sometimes they like to have the engineers go, too.  That way we get a feel for what our customers need and what they like or don't like about our products. Also, it's good to see what our competitors are doing to see if we are missing something or if we are comfortably ahead of what they are doing.

Our route from Penn Station to the Javits Convention Center
A few of us took the train down on Tuesday morning (January 21). I always like to take the train but in order to get there by 10 am when the show opened for the day, we needed to leave Providence before 7 AM. That meant getting up and leaving the house by 5:30 AM. While we were still in Connecticut, it started snowing. It didn't stop all day. There were 2 - 3 inches of snow on the ground as we walked from the train station to the convention center. The temperature had dropped and the wind was blowing pretty well. We only had to walk about a half mile but it seemed like more on the slippery sidewalks. It was nice and warm inside, though, and we found our booth without too much trouble. We were able to leave our bags and coats in the area behind the booth and we started visiting other companies' booths (the sales and marketing guys had to stay at our booth but the engineers got to walk around). I wish now that I'd taken my pedometer with me. I'll bet I walked 2 - 3 miles but I'll never know for sure. There were two floors of booths and there were hundreds of booths. I visited at 30 of them. Unfortunately, lots of signs were warning that no photography was allowed so I don't have any pictures inside. I took a break at 1 PM when I got hungry. There was a food court but it was packed and the prices were high. But I did manage to find a place to get a decent meal for about $10. It wasn't easy finding a seat in the crowded dining area but I shared a table with some folks who pretended I wasn't there. Just as well. I was too tired to talk.

Our route from the convention center to our hotel
The show ran until 6 PM and I visited booths until just before that time and headed back to our company's booth.  We grabbed our bags and headed to the hotel. That was another walk of about a half mile but the conditions were much worse by this time. The temperature had plummeted, the wind was blowing harder and the snow had really piled up. They said there was about 10 inches of snow in Central Park but people had stamped down the snow on the sidewalks so it looked more like 6 or 7 inches that we trudged through. Cars, trucks and buses couldn't stop very well and we had some close calls on the way. But we made it and it was dry and warm. You can't beat that. I would have slept on a cot that night but the rooms were really nice. I had one of the most comfortable beds I've ever had in a hotel. They guys all wanted to go out to dinner together but were talking about 8 PM! I said I couldn't wait for that and just wanted to grab a quick bite and jump into bed. But then they said we go somewhere sooner and I gave in. We still didn't get to eat until about 7:30 but I managed to survive.

It was a very good show. I learned a lot about what our customers want and what our customers don't want. I learned a lot about ways of presenting data so that it's understandable without needing to take a lot of time to set up. But I also learned that these folks are passionate about their jobs and know a lot about how to save money and energy when providing heating and cooling to houses, office and factories. The hard part is setting up and adjusting the equipment that does the work. They don't want to spend a lot of time and effort setting up our equipment that just has the "easy" job of monitoring conditions. Our stuff needs to be easy to use and easy to get information from. That's my job and I think I will do it a little better now.

We were going to be heading home the next day and my next post will be about my tiny tour of New York and the trip home.

1 comment:

◇FirĪµ☆ said...

What about the Dogs? And Babs Seed should have been some where in Manehatten! Well, you should've at least watched Ponies! :)