Get Up, Get Out
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an in-person, hands-on experience is worth a few thousand, conservatively. This is what I realized while scrutinizing over our "20 New Technology Solutions" roundup (page 20). And this is not a not-so-cleverly disguised promotion for the [fabulous] roundup—in fact, I'm going to point out a teeny bit of a fallacy in it.
Many of the products included in the new-technology roundup we discovered while meandering the aisles of industry trade shows. We got the product lowdown from the top dogs at the companies, who man their booths. We saw the products in action, saw how they improved specific workflow challenges, or whatever the task, got to ask follow-up questions. And to be quite honest, seeing is believing.
The Full Picture
What's this got to do with you? If you're scouting out new technology—whether just to get up to speed or actively shop—and you're not out at a single trade show, I just don't see how you can always get the full picture.
Here's an example I experienced while working on our technology roundup. I had met the folks at HumanEyes Technologies at a recent trade show, and they not only showed me how their 3-D software worked, but sat me down, snapped a couple photos of me, and demonstrated the process using me as the guinea pig. While the 3-D image they created of me sitting among some lovely greenery was a lower-quality sample (in the interest of time) of their finest offerings, I was nonetheless impressed.
I also got to see some of their high-quality work, such as an ad for Absolut Vodka, that really looked as if you could reach into the page and pick up the bottle. I could just see a designer eyeing up the new software for their next book cover.