Some Times NetWorking Is Just Fair.
Here in the greater Los Angeles area one of the biggest Computer Shows is put on by the LA Computer Fair http://www.lacomputerfair.com/ . What’s a computer show got to do with NetWorking? Let’s take a look.
NetWorking is a way to get yourself and your company seen and known about. NetWorking is about meeting a lot of people in a relatively small amount of time. NetWorking is about being able to ask questions and get information.
Let’s take a look at what I discovered at the Computer Fair:
Getting seen and known.
Most of the vendors at the show have a regular retail location. In fact one computer store I shop at (Rogers Systems) has been doing the Computer Fair for years. They see the show as a way to get themselves known to a new batch of customers. The show allows them to reach customers they otherwise would not reach.
Meeting a lot of people.
The Pomona Location (the one we went to) runs for two days (Saturday and Sunday) and gets over 15,000 folks coming by. That’s a lot of folks exposed to your business in just two days.
Asking questions and getting information:
Most of those 15,000 were asking questions of the vendors at the show. Now if you were not sure of the answers you got, you had two big buildings full of other vendors to ask the same question of.
All and all from a business point of view… The Computer Fair can be an excellent investment of your time and money in getting your business known and broadening your customer base.
From a consumer point of view, It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for anything related to computers. New or old technology. Low end or High end. In fact at the Pomona show I put the vendors to several “tests”. Looking for hard to find parts and or asking tough questions. I found all the vendors very willing to help. Several offered to look for the parts I wanted, or they offered suggestions on where I could find it.
Are the merchants trustworthy? Are the prices good? What if it does not work?
Like I said most of the merchants have retail locations and good reputations to maintain. And, in fact, most of the vendors have been coming for years and you get a very reputable group of vendors. In addition, the show’s producers try to screen out the flakes. This is not a garage sale, or flea market, or swap meet, where anyone with the money can get a booth. No amazing Ginzu Knives or Beef Jerky here. Like I said the producers work to protect the reputation and integrity of their show. They will not put up with a flaky merchant. If you have a problem, they will let you come into the next show at no charge (this includes parking) to exchange, etc...the item with the proper merchant.
As for the prices and advice... I asked a lot of “Tech” questions. Both easy and hard. I was given the right answers. As for the prices... At worst they were very competitive. In most cases they are better then you will find online, or end up paying at auction.
I spent about $120.00 when I was there picking up this and that. I got a hard to find SCSI cable for $12.00. Fry’s wanted $48.00 for one. I picked up a used 2.1 gig hard drive for $34.00. I found the same drives online for $38.00 plus shipping. On E-Bay the bidding on similar drives went over $40.00. I also picked up some removable drive “holders” for $7.00 each and some other stuff.
Getting back to the idea that NetWorking is a way to get advice. I saw one guy walking around with a “Fry’s” ad in his hand. Looking totally lost. One of the other shoppers walked up and talked to him. The guy was looking for a computer system and was trying to figure out if he should get the one Fry’s had in the ad, or get one at the show. Also he felt unsure about buying at the show. The other shopper looked at the ad and explained that the Fry’s computer was a Celeron processor, for not much more he should go with a Pentium and get lots more bang for the buck. He also pointed out and explained that the Fry’s computer had only 64 Mg of PC100 memory and with memory so cheap, the 64 megs was a waste as even for the Fry’s computer to really perform it needed at least 128, if not 245 megs of memory, etc.
All in all, the guy got some good advice. His new friend even helped him shop. Last I saw he was buying a system after he talked to about 10 of the vendors.
If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area check out the computer Fair at http://www.lacomputerfair.com/
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Last modified: November 08, 2002