It's easy to say, "I'm not going to xyz conference" and come up with excuses like "no one is going to be there" or "none of the people I need to see or meet with will be there" but it's another to cast aside the excuses and put your money where your mouth is and simply show up and support the industry that supports you.
Last week a lot of people privately commented to me about this week's IT Expo, an event I'm attending as a moderator and to cover as a blogger. They made all kinds of comments that I felt were off base, and ironically, some of these people have never attended IT Expo, nor have they been to what was VON either. They simply sat on the sidelines like armchair quarterbacks on SuperBowl Sunday.
That's the difference. I'm a player. Not a spectator. Even during my era in sports, I was in the business of sports, playing the business game to win everyday. While I wasn't on the ice or on the basketball court (though I did play junior box lacrosse for two years when working for a pro lacrosse team) I quickly realized that either you're a part of the game or your simply a spectator. This play or watch approach is very black and white to me, which is why now eleven years removed from being involved on a daily basis with anything resembling sports and twenty years from day to day work with a pro sports team I don't even attend sports marketing conferences or even go to sporting events. You see, I'm not a player in that world any more and I'd never be called a "hanger-on."
I committed to attend IT Expo long before the meltdown of the economy and am using it as a way to catch up face to face with friends, colleagues, clients and others. I'm also keeping my word, something I'm finding with great sadness is becoming an elusive concept with others in the VoIP world. You see, real pros do that. They show up, keep their word and play the game. It doesn't matter if the team is on a losing streak or if the fans have turned their backs. They don't turn their backs either. Real pros play the game because they are simply that. Real and Professional.
FWIW I also wanted to attend Jeff Pulver's Social Comms event, one that he's now giving away scholarships for to the needy. Hooray for Jeff. I wish I could be there, but business out of the country calls and that's what pays the bills.
So if you're a real player in an industry, get off your butt and get to where the action is. It's sure not in the office. And to those of you who racked up frequent flier miles in the past, and hotel points on your companies dime, how about going to the travel manager and offering to use those points to make it to the show your new travel restrictions won't permit. Real players play through pain and injury. Wussies hide in the locker room and never get off the bench. Creative type professionals find a way to be where the action is, not cast far away glances and trash talk what they're missing.
So are you a VoIP Wussie or a VoIP Pro. When they going gets tough, the pros still find ways to win. Wussies never do. So I ask again which are you? A wussie or a Pro. Prove it by showing up (or not showing up) at a conference like IT Expo, Mobile World Congress, Jeff's Social Media Conference, DEMO or eComm..
And for those who think clients pay my way everywhere you should ask some who have benefited from my ingenious use of reward points, travel agent rates and creative reservation booking. No one travels better, or cheaper than I do and lives like a rock star. Like a good pro who knows their way around the game, I learned a long time how to play the angles and score. That's what pros do. They keep playing and the good ones, we play to win.