MWC 2014: Walkers and Stalkers

I have been attending MWC for nine years, for as long as the show has been held in Barcelona. But this was the first time I spent most of my time in one place, instead of walking the floor, most days I sat in my employer’s meeting room.

I now realize that there are two kinds of show attendees. People who walk the floor, going from meeting to meeting, and those who are anchored in one booth meeting everyone who comes by. The Walkers and the Stalkers.

The Walkers can really rack up the miles. A big theme this year was the rise of wearable devices, like fitness trackers, so we can now quantify that Walking lifestyle. It is easy to walk ten miles a day at MWC, especially at the new Fira venue which is four football fields wide and over a mile long. I noticed the ARM booth had a monitor displaying a contest to see who walked the most each day. On the day I visited, the leader had covered the length of the show twelve times. People who have this lifestyle see a lot of the show, far more than they need to, but it is somewhat rootless. Lots of breadth, depth is harder. These are the people who know what is new, interesting or unusual.

The Stalkers, tend to stay in one place. I was lucky in that we had discrete meeting room, by appointment only. Many Stalkers have to stand in booths, meeting countless strangers. These people get to know their own story well, having to repeat it dozens if not hundreds of times a show. “We make X, and that does Y, which is much better than Z.” One unexpected benefit of this life, is that there is always access to snacks and coffee, as most booths get regular deliveries of Nesperesso pods and local delicacies from the Fira staff. It is also a nice way to get to know complete strangers. Our meeting room was next to several companies I had heard of but did not know well. So it was fun to chat with these people. It is also possible to gauge the interest in many companies. There were a few start-ups near us, and a couple of them never had down time. They must be onto something interesting, a topic for me to follow up on in future posts.

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