Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for June 6th, 2010

Word on the Street — May 31st thru June 4th

June 6th, 2010 1 COMMENT

Why we participate in the TS2 Show

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

What a Difference 60 Minutes Can Make!

Really think about that for a moment and then apply it to your life, whether it’s at work or at home. Think about how much can happen in just 60 minutes. Good or bad. Life changing or trivial.

Now before you think I’ve flipped my lid or think I’m having some uber-esoteric moment, I’m not. But something happened this week that really made me think about how fast things change.

On Tuesday, I had a normal day at work, but I was catching a red-eye flight that evening to Chicago for a 7:30 a.m. meeting at the O’Hare Hilton with several vendor partners. After the meeting, I turned around and flew right back home.

Well, as a fan of red-eyes, I have taken this particular United flight no less than 20 or 30 times. It leaves around 11 p.m. Portland time and gets into Chicago at 4:45 a.m. (CST) the next day. But this time we actually got in closer to 4:15 a.m.

According to Wikipedia, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is the 5th busiest airport in the world (YTD). And if you travel through O’Hare frequently, you can surely attest that it has a life of its own — day or night.

But, have you ever been there at 4:15 a.m. on a Wednesday? Well, if you ever do have the fortune, or misfortune, depending on your situation, find a place to sit in one of the main concourses and just watch what happens over 60 minutes.

O'Hare International Airport

O'Hare Airport -- Chicago

Now before I go any further, I admit I was a bit loopy. My body and mind do not handle all-nighters like they used to so I may have been having a bit of a Timothy Leary experience (minus the drugs of course). All based purely on sleep deprivation.

I was really tired, and I knew nothing was open at the Hilton yet, so I just took a seat in the C-Gate area of Terminal 2 and decided to work on my laptop for an hour before heading over to the hotel to eat. It was then, while sitting there, that I recognized the absolute silence. It was eerie actually, considering how many times I have been through this city within a city, to hear it so quiet. I decided to shut my laptop and just watch for awhile.

It was really cool. The best way to describe it was like seeing time elapsed photography happen right in front of you. First, all the janitorial staff started milling around at 4:30 a.m. to finish cleaning the floors, hand rails, and bathrooms. Then the coffee shop people began arriving a few minutes before 5:00 to warm up their espresso machines for the rush that was coming. Then the security appeared around 5:10 a.m. to take their posts.

Next, by about 5:15 the gate agents wandered in and the first travelers started appearing for their 6 o’clock flights. All around me, I could hear the rapid clacking of 1983 dot matrix printers printing flight manifests.

Finally 5:30 a.m. hits. I know it’s exactly 5:30 because there’s a page on the intercom saying, “It’s 5:30 a.m.” and no less than 200 people were instantly milling around within 100 feet of me. Just like that, in 60 short minutes, the O’Hare I have know for years was in full swing.

It was amazing to witness, not only because of how quickly it happened, but also how it happened in such an organized fashion.

Anyway, it has been stuck in my brain all week. Imagine if our business — trade show sales, design, and manufacturing — had the same regularity? I’m used to cycles in our business, but predictable orders, designs, and manufacturing? I can’t image it. What about you? Would you find it comforting or would it slowly drive you insane?

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Be well.

–Kevin Carty