Photo ©Visit Phoenix/Nick Cote
A number of CEDIA members have made the annual Business Xchange a “must-attend.” Here are more reasons why.
Scott Minneman’s been to a lot of brainstorming workshops and networking events in his day. Minneman, the COO of Redi Systems, Inc., has a background in commercial IT. He notes that when he was in that universe, there wasn’t much info-sharing happening.
When the presentations wrap and it’s time for lunch, or snacks, or a drink at the bar, “the conversation kind of shuts down a little bit. They're a little bit guarded with each other.”
CEDIA’s annual Business Xchange has an entirely different vibe. The structure of the event includes presentations and workshops for the entire group attending the conference, then smaller sessions and events designed to nurture conversations.
“What I observed at Biz Xchange is, when a group of people from different companies sit down at a table together, the conversation gets better. People get more open and sharing and learning and working together, with really no fear of competition, or, ‘What's this guy going to use against me?’ and all of that. That's just leaps and bounds better than what I've observed at other conferences.”
That networking, that camaraderie, is something that resonates with many regular attendees. Sean Ruth — the owner of the firm that Minneman joined — notes that some of the best info he’s gotten has been in the small groups of folks who’ve come to network. “A conversation I had at the Top Golf mixer last year in San Antonio led me to revamp the way we deliver projects. The opportunities to get together and just ask ‘What are you dealing with?’ and then be able to compare notes is so valuable.” Bigger’s Not Better
Atlantic Integrated VP Mike Pawlowski, who comes to Business Xchange from the manufacturer’s rep side of things, is a fan of the scale of the event: “Trade shows are just absolute chaos as a rep. Business Xchange allows us to have more intimate, valuable time that's more specifically directed to try to improve our own business rather than trying to sell things.”
Peter Friesen, an integrator out of Houston with the firm Digital Delight, also prizes the size of the gatherings, both before and after the structured parts of the day: “You can really bounce the ideas off of your colleagues and really work with some of the CEDIA volunteers and people that are in the groups in the breakout sessions.”
Ruth also notes that the event’s evolved as a direct result of attendee input: “I definitely think that a good amount of attention has been paid to the feedback from the sessions. Every year things have changed, and the folks from CEDIA have told me ‘It changed because this is precisely what our members asked for.’" This year’s CEDIA Business Xchange is slated for May 16-18 at the Camby in Phoenix, AZ, with a focus on “Design Thinking.” Find more details and register here.