Survival of the Fittest
It's understandable why Rebecca Churilla is preoccupied with strategy this late June morning. The creative conference coordinator for BookTech West, the hotly anticipated technology conference scheduled for July 30 through August 1 in San Francisco, is busy developing an unusual competition for her enthusiastic attendees. "Survival of the Fittest," she says, refers to a special game designed exclusively for the trade show. "In a market where technology and demand are consistently evolving, we wanted to reward the most industrious attendee with a cash prize for his or her efforts."
Churilla explains that "Survival of the Fittest" will lead attendees through a treasure hunt of production knowledge in which exhibitors hold answers needed to win the $1,000 prize. The game will require that each player visit participating exhibitors' booths to glean important information. "The bonus is that during their visits with each exhibitor," outlines Churilla, "they will not only be in search of answers to specific questions on their game cards, but they will be introduced to new ways of enhancing their businesses." Churilla is confident that the combination of entertainment and insights will open doors of communications. "It's a fun way to learn more about the latest technological inventions in the industry," she says. "Attendees will entertain new ways of approaching production to help cut down time and increase efficiency, whether they're book designers, publishers or even printers."
Churilla admits that she's inspired by the reality television trend that challenges contestants to push their limits. She acknowledges, "It's not unusual for a book publisher to encounter challenges within the industry either, whether it's developing great design reproductions on book jackets or choosing the best paper for the job." She believes that industry and reality television adventures have more in common than one might think. "Refreshing, thought-provoking perspectives develop out of new experiences. For an attendee to be able to talk one-on-one with a technology specialist about his or her concerns not only answers pressing questions, but makes a connection that can't be found over the phone or online." She adds, "Plus, it's a fun way to win cash."
In order to qualify for the contest, interested participants must first register for the exposition in advance or at the show. During the expo, gamers will be given entry cards featuring questions for which only select exhibitors will have the award-winning answers. Upon completion of the entry cards, players will be asked to drop them off at a special raffle station located in the registration area. And at the end of the second day of the expo (July 31), the drawing will be held for the $1,000 cash prize. "Entrants must be present to win 'Survival of the Fittest,'" explains Churilla, although she adds, "With $1,000 at stake, I don't imagine that will be a difficult prerequisite."
-Natalie Hope McDonald