Will Strauss, a veritable veteran of technology trade shows, offers his top tips for surviving NAB and Las Vegas.

For those of you off to NAB this weekend here are my tips on making the most of the show. Some are more serious than others.

  • Divide and conquer. If there is a team of you going, split up and see different companies/exhibitors. Divide the halls by geography or subject matter and take some each. Make notes and then exchange information at the end of each day.

  • Take a barocca - or other vitamin drink - before you go to bed each night. It will make a world of difference in the morning especially if you are ‘networking' hard.

  • Keep an eye on your watch. Not because it will get nicked, cos it won't. But because hotels in Las Vegas pump oxygen into the casinos so you don't get tired. It can keep you gambling until 5am. Time flies when you're having fun.

  • Don't try and visit every single stand in your first day. Plan your trip.

  • If possible, don't stay in a hotel on the strip. Or, if you have to, find one that doesn't have a rollercoaster in the car park. If possible, stay in that one hotel that doesn't have a casino.

  • Do get to the show early in the morning. Even though it goes against the whole mantra of ‘work hard, party hard', the stands are quieter before lunch and the corridors are easier to navigate. You'll get more done.

  • Wear sensible shoes. That goes without saying. The Las Vegas Convention Centre is massive.

  • Take breaks. Go outside for fresh air, especially as it will be sunny. Spending too much time in a windowless convention centre or meeting room can quickly make you weary and a tad cranky.

  • Make sure you swap stories with other UK visitors. That way you are extending your network and spreading your net wider in your effort to find the best bits of technology. Journalists are usually a good source of information - although you may have to buy them a beer in return for tit bits.

  • Do talk to other people but don't just talk to UK visitors. NAB is a great chance to meet US suppliers and clients who you don't know or who don't know you.

  • Keep your eyes open. Even though you're probably going to be rushing between the companies you know and need to see, there are some little gems hidden away at NAB. As David Peto of Unit said to me last week “Although you do so much research the great thing is that you never know what will catch your eye so we'll always come away with something that we didn't expect.”

  • Finally, if Las Vegas gets too much for you and you are considering trying to escape, remember this quote from Ocean's 11: “I'm sure you can make it out of the casino. Of course, lest we forget, once you're out the front door, you're still in the middle of the f*cking desert!”


Got a tip for surviving NAB? Have your say below.