You can spot an NAB Show newbie a mile away. These are people either walking around in a complete daze, or as hyped as a new puppy.
To help prevent overload, here are 10 recommendations for NAB newcomers:
Starbucks always has a line. Unless you really need a $7 frappacino-mocha-latte-half-caf-decaf, then buy your coffee in the cafeteria or from a kiosk. Because Starbucks has the Las Vegas Convention Center franchise, it's the same coffee! Grab your joe elsewhere and get back to the show floor.
9. LVCC pastries
Just don't. First, they are little more than caloric stomach bombs. Second, the last time I bought one, it cost $3.50. They are poison to both your waistline and pocketbook.
I can't give you women any personal advice, but men, listen up. Don't use the restroom next to Banners cafeteria, which is under the stairs. Also avoid the restrooms next to meeting rooms N101/N201. Even worse, don't use any of the restrooms on the convention floor. They are crowded and smelly, to say the least.
My advice is to try the restrooms on the second level of the North Hall or South Hall. Facilities near session rooms are sometimes busy, but you can stop by during lulls in traffic, and they seem cleaner than others.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and carry a shoulder bag or briefcase. Please do not drag around a roller bag; they are a pedestrian hazard.
6. Meal time
Don't expect to eat at regular times. If you try to eat lunch at, well, lunch time, you'll waste two hours, and you'll end up paying $12 for a sandwich. Instead, either beat the crowd by going early, or wait until 2 p.m. Better yet, save those calories for a great off-site evening dinner.
5. Where to eat
The food at the convention center rates average. Breakfast selections are often better than lunch, and it's less busy. I prefer the International Food Market in the South Hall to Banners. If the weather is nice, you might try the outside barbecue.
4. Product literature
You can pick up literature as you tour the hall, but then you end up dragging around tons of paper all day. Besides, you know it'll all be thrown away in the hotel room. Ask vendors to mail it to you.
Take the buses; they're free. At show closing time, the cab lines are huge. And, depending on your particular bus route, it might even be faster than by cab.
2. Session selection
This is a tough one. Balance the need for training with the need to see real products. Both are necessary to have an informed opinion about new technologies.
My final advice to newcomers: Be sure your show badge is prominently displayed on your chest and turned facing forward. The LVCC door Nazis will double-team smackdown anyone trying to enter without proper credentials. While sometimes unassuming, don't be fooled. These folks won't think twice before a full body tackle, taking you to the floor and ripping your eyeballs out if you attempt to enter the show floor without a badge. I would imagine stun guns to be slightly more humane.
With this knowledge in hand, the NAB Show should be nothing to fear. Good luck, and let me know how you fared.
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