Trip Report: SD West 2007
I am back home from last week's trip to SD West. This might
have been the best trade show trip we've ever done. We had heavy booth traffic
T-Shirts and Prizes
I normally dislike gimmicks like SWAG or prize drawings. They tend
to attract people who aren't really interested in the company or its products,
causing me to wonder which is worse:
- Someone who asks for a T-shirt and is obviously not
interested in the product.
- Someone who fakes an interest in the product so they can
feel less guilty about asking for a T-shirt.
Nonetheless, despite my usual aversion to booth giveaways,
we distributed around 800 Evil Mastermind T-shirts last week. Wearing one of
those shirts was a prerequisite for entry into the drawings for our bigger
prizes, which included two Wiis, an Xbox 360, and a complete set of Calvin and
Hobbes books. The goal of this whole thing was to get people to wear our
shirts around the show, and it worked.
Lesson Learned: Get more Smalls and Mediums
After reading Kathy Sierra's blog
entry about T-shirts, I wanted to be sure we had the right size shirt for
everybody. We brought every size from Small to XXXL. Unfortunately, we didn't
get the distribution of sizes quite right. Here are the percentages we used:
This wasn't a horrible guess, and might have been just right
if the event were in, say, Wisconsin. But out there in Silicon Valley where
everybody is thin and beautiful, we ran out of Small and Medium shirts toward
the end of the show. Also, we expected XL to be a little more popular than L,
but we probably should have ordered equal amounts of each.
In our next order, we'll shift the distribution a bit toward
the smaller sizes.
How to get an Evil Mastermind shirt
I've had quite a few people asking how they can get one of
these shirts without going to SD West.
You can't "buy" these shirts with money, but the shirts are nonetheless
not completely free. The people at SD West received a shirt and paid for it by
wearing it around the conference. You can receive a shirt if you agree to
provide "payment" using the following method:
- Take a picture of yourself wearing the shirt. For an
example of the proper pose for the photo, follow the excellent example set
- Post the photo on your blog, including a link back here to
my blog. Or post the photo on Flickr.
- Send us email with a link to your photo, granting us
permission to use the picture in say, a photo mosaic. ;-)
Currently this is the only form of payment we can accept for
an Evil Mastermind shirt.
If you want one of these shirts according to the terms
above, send an email to email@example.com
with your shipping address and preferred shirt size (yes, we've got Small and
Medium available now).
While supplies last. Offer
limited to the United States and Canada. Offer void where prohibited, taxed or
restricted. No purchase necessary. Shown with optional equipment. Financing
requires credit approval. Not all buyers will qualify. Allow 4-6 weeks for
Real Booth Traffic
Without a doubt, the T-shirts and cool prizes attracted lots
of people who were mostly just interested in the free stuff. However, we still
talked to more genuine prospects than any show I can remember.
- This was not a Windows-centric conference. We wanted to
let people know that in version 4.0 Vault is becoming a cross-platform
product, so we had a Mac in the booth running Eclipse with our source
control plugin. This was very well received.
- Reaction to Fortress was very positive. I can't wait
until we get this product shipped. For now, if you want to see our
preview release, give it a try
and let us know
what you think. Fair warning: This thing is still quite unpolished.
It's not ready for production use yet.
- In addition to Fortress, we took the opportunity to show a
preview of DiffMerge 3.0. This is a full-featured file-level diff and
merge tool, available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. A preview release
is available now.
This was my first time at SD West, and I'm really glad we
went. I always perceived this show as a great place to be for a company
selling source control tools, as long as those tools are not Windows-only. I
was glad to see 7 version control vendors on the expo floor (AccuRev,
Microsoft, Perforce, Seapine, SourceForge, SourceGear , and Telelogic).
The Jolt Awards
My book didn't do so well at the Jolt Awards, but the
quality of my competition was exceedingly high. The main winner in my category
In addition to the Jolt winner, they recognize 3 more
entries in each category with a "Productivity Award" (which is basically an
alternate spelling for "Honorable Mention"). The Productivity Award winners
Finally, since there were 7 finalists in this category,
there were three other books comprising the "non-winners":
I would love to have won, but I remind myself it was an
honor to be among the finalists at all. So, and with a nod toward one of my
favorite quotes from the Simpsons:
In one sense, we're all winners, but in another far more
accurate sense, Alistair Cockburn is the winner. :-)