Thursday, October 11, 2007

Preparing for Seattle

Ateji will be holding a booth at the Informs conference in Seattle, Nov. 4th to 8th. This is our first booth abroad, we'll be introducing our OptimJ language to the operational research community.

When you discover all the work this implies, developing software looks easy in retrospect. Of course, we first made sure the product works fine by running a large-scale beta-test program. Software developpers can still handle this.

But then you need to prepare brochures (how many ?), brush up your english (can you ripit plize ?), prepare your speech for the plenary session (sorry everybody, I promise, my demo used to work until 5min ago), make reservations for chairs and tables (apparently cheaper to buy and throw away than rent for 4 days), understand the union regulations (it is strictly forbidden to carry yourself your own luggage between the entrance door and the booth, but the 10,000kms before reaching the entrance door are ok), think about the booth décor, print posters, try to find an insurance company for civil liability (french companies simply don't want to ensure an event abroad -- I'm still looking, in case you know someone who can help), set up appointments with the press, and most important, research what kind of french sweets would be most successful in attracting prospective customers around our booth (provided the customs don't consider them as potentially lethal).

I used to work as a researcher, and even published a few involved theorems. A breeze. I managed the transition to becoming an engineer and now an entrepreneur. Cool. But setting up a booth in a conference is about to knock me down.

Well, I'll sleep in the plane. See you in Seattle !