Stopped by the NEBFM (Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management) Show & Conference. What I learned from the vendors with booths was that traffic had been slower than in years past (no big surprise there) but the quality of people and contacts they were making were much better, one booth said the contacts they believed were going to turn into sales was a multiple from last year. One can attribute that to either a real poor effort last year or the fact that there is less people window shopping but those out there want to do business. I would say the vendors seemed cautiously optimistic if not positive and were positive in general about the tradeshow.
Something I have noticed during my day to day is that almost everyone has been effected in one way or another by this recent economy (again no surprise there) but what is surprising to me is the more people who are willing to engage in conversations and look for new ways of doing business. There seems to me a spirit of community; more of there is more that ties us than divides us spirit. Now does it bite that so much had to tank for us to get here, you bet, but we’re here so let’s take a look. As an entrepreneur I am always encouraged, I think that is part of the insanity, but I am encouraged because there are still technical innovations happening everyday yet most companies are retrenching, cutting R&D, cutting staff which to me means there should be a lot of people working in garages rebuilding, innovating, creating the next wave. Does it stink to be in this trough, I mean it feels and smells like low tide out there, yeah it stinks but through these cycles we must go. Joseph Schumpeter, in his book “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” called it creative destruction. A corollary is the sort of corporate cannibalism that states, ‘eat your own.,’ that is innovate or die. A lot of entrepreurs always thought of it as ‘grow or die’ And while many of us want to put our heads in our shell and wait for something to happen, it’s exactly the time to make something happen.
I remember when I was running a race with friends, a small piece insanity called Reach the Beach, and it was around 3 in the morning, and I was running up hill in the rain and an Aussie Gal called out to me as I passed her, albeit very very slowly, “Good on Ya!”
So keep talking people, keep moving, good on ya.