In the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, a man on a municipal light-rail train recently pulled out a .45-caliber pistol and shot another passenger as he was exiting the train. Although security-video footage revealed that the gun was clearly visible before the shooting—the man had pulled it out of his pocket and waved it about on multiple occasions—not a single passenger noticed; everyone was too consumed with their screens and music.
You might be expecting me to go off about how we’re all too obsessed with our devices, games and music and that we need to change this behavior as a culture to be better people. Or that I’m about to bash the younger generations for their fixation with their devices. When really, we are not doing anything bad when we are jammin’ away on our headphones. Even I own Skull Candy earbuds, and I am a 48 year old suburban mom of teens, hardly their target demographic! Honestly, I believe there is nothing wrong with technology and our comprehensive adoption of it. There is no reason to stop enjoying music, games or my personal addiction of the moment pinterest just because someone else is about to go bonkers.
But still…do you remember, years ago, going over to a friend’s house just so you could watch a movie together, or listen to a new CD (or record in my case) with someone else that liked that kind of music as much as you did? And when you were over there, remember how you actually had real, complete conversations with everyone, including their parents and siblings?
No one does that now. Everyone is in their own private space. Entertainment is completely self-serve, and rarely shared. Even when kids hang out together, much of the time they are focused on their own devices. You hear no conversation – I speak from personal experience as the mom of teenagers. It is rather eerie how they hang out and you never hear conversation, meanwhile all their thumbs are moving at warp speed. When asked, they openly admit they are texting EACH OTHER even though they are sitting side by side on the couch!
In his editorial, Jason makes this point, “I can’t be the only [one] who finds himself disturbed by the replacement of collective ritual with private absorption.”
There is a business version of this solo, isolated “private absorption” existence. You grew weary of the daily grind or a cube-defined Dilbert-esque existence, so you ventured out on your own and started your own business. You created your own world. The risk is that you may now be the business equivalent of the passengers on the train wearing headphones, and you have no idea that someone nearby is about to go bonkers, or in this case – has a great product, new technique or a great idea!
Attending an industry event like Embroidery Mart-COLUMBUS is the way to reconnect to your ever-evolving industry. Everyone at the trade show is physically and mentally present. Nobody is mentally “somewhere else.”
Something truly wonderful happens at Embroidery Mart, because everyone is completely there. The power of the thriving community that is our industry becomes yours – simply by sharing meals, participating in classes, riding the elevators together, meeting in the exhibit halls – and this energy is noticeable, practically tangible. And the connections you create can last for years, even decades.
Here’s the thing – if you cannot leave your business to run by itself for 2-3 days or even close the doors for 2-3 days, you may have less of a thriving business than you thought! Yep, I really did just say that. Tough love in action… The better description could be that you are treading water or rowing a galley ship, instead of captaining your fate to achieve the success you dream of. If you have to close the doors to leave, let your customers know that you are at a professional industry event, gathering ideas about new products and new techniques. Your customers will be eager to hear from you upon your return rather than frustrated when they could not reach you at that moment.
And here’s another massive benefit you get by attending Embroidery Mart-COLUMBUS… Google cannot compete with another human being when it comes to providing real time, real industry information. Nor can it ever. Ask a million questions, because when you are at Embroidery Mart-COLUMBUS and you are surrounded by three, seven, twelve or several hundred other embroidery and apparel decoration business owners for a few days, the information and new ideas you gather are simply extraordinary, “priceless,” as the commercial says.
When your customers ask you now, “What’s new?” it is a challenge to come up with an answer. After attending Embroidery Mart-COLUMBUS, you will have so many ideas that you will have to keep track of how much time your customer has!
Look at your business –
- Where is your new information coming from?
- Where are you getting new, industry-specific ideas?
How far can you propel your business forward without new information, new ideas and new products?
Come join us for a few days in March at Embroidery Mart- COLUMBUS. It is time to see how far your business can go!
March 21-22, 2014
Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio
FYI – Book your hotel reservation by 2/17/14 and save $110 per night! We send you the special link to the hotel as soon as you register for Embroidery Mart , so you can book your reservations at the group rate.
Looking forward to connecting with you in March,
PS – When you register for Embroidery Mart by 2/28/14, you are entered in a drawing for one of 3 free nights at the hotel!