Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Little American Girl in Amsterdam! (Part 1 of 2)

I'm back from Amsterdam! I also have NO idea where to begin! Wow! It has been such a long, crazy, educational, exciting, fun, and tiresome week! My trip was nearly 9 days long so needless to say, it feels SO good to be back home with Cody again.

Jenn and I arrived in Amsterdam to beautiful Fall-like weather, which felt AMAZING after leaving Boston on the hottest day of the summer (that's a fact, apparently!). I was so done with the humidity and heat so coming to chilly Amsterdam was such a nice break.

I made another new improvement to my booth uniform - an EMC blue petticoat!

In-between setting up the booth and getting everything ready for our longest shows (IBC lasts from Friday to Tuesday, 5 whole days over the weekend that are 8.5 hours each - very strange for trade shows, that tend to always be 3-4 days during the week, some days lasting 8 hours but usually with at least 1 or 2 short days to make it bearable!), we did some exploring close the hotel but not too much.

With a show this long, there isn't much time for adventures. We'd leave the busy show floor, change, meet some of the team for dinner, and collapse into bed only to rise and shine early to start it again! Still, we had our fun. On many nights, we'd talk and laugh ourselves hoarse over dinner and drinks - it's always so fun to get to know each other on site after only conversing over email.

We had some great food on this trip - sushi on a conveyor belt, an Indonesian feast (where the food was sent upstairs to the dining room via an old fashioned dumbwaiter!), late night waffles topped with ice cream, and the best steak I ever had in my entire life (sorry, Cody!).

I was definitely glad I decided to stay a day longer in order to do some exploring (more on that to come next week!) as I was so busy with the show, I didn't get a chance to do any souvenir shopping until that final day! Crazy!

Our booth was great! It was constantly a buzz with attendees and meetings. Like we did for CABSAT in Dubai, we had a magician, Scott Tokar, in the booth to draw crowds. Scott is always super great - he truly gets EMC's mission and our solutions and works our messaging into his act. It's amazing to see!

Second image courtesy of Scott

One of my jobs for IBC was the planning and execution our customer/partner event. I planned a 2 hour boat cruise through Amsterdam's canals and it was a huge success! We filled the boat to capacity! Once aboard, everyone got to have drinks and appetizers while chatting to our CTOs and taking in the sights.

It was a really cool experience - especially for someone like me, who has never been anywhere in Europe! I loved seeing the buildings, house boats, and bridges - the architecture in Amsterdam is just stunning! There is so much character in these old buildings!

An extremely PACKED bar where folks just sat right on the edge of the canal, drinks in hand!

Show aside, it was very interesting seeing Amsterdam and adjusting to its culture. The first thing we noticed (besides the large number of Tesla taxi cubs - whaaat?) were the insane amount of bikes! In Amsterdam, nearly everyone rides their bike - even in the rain. There's a bike lane everywhere and you have to watch out for them or they will take you down!

So not only did I have to keep an eye on crazy drivers, I also had to watch out for folks on bikes, scooters, and Vespas? Yeesh! Even more interesting is how no one rides with a helmet and you'd be surprised at how little security there is for toddlers and kids who ride with their parents! It was definitely eye opening!

Our hotel was very nice - I appreciate and love a good hotel. The bed was  super comfy and they even left us chocolates upon arrival. Anyone who leaves me sweet treats is a friend in my book!

The hotel also had its funny details - each room had colored lights bordering the window and with each click of the switch, you could change the color! Red, blue, green, you name it! I laughed as I tried to simply turn them off for the night.

Overall, this was my best show yet. Jenn and I work really well together and definitely came together as a team very easily. We supported each other without getting on each other's nerves for 5+ days straight, which is insanely impressive!

Though long and challenging, I really do hope to have this show on my schedule for 2016. It was definitely my favorite this year!