A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to travel to Internet World in London for SoftLayer's first exposition at a tradeshow in the UK. With a new data center opening soon in Amsterdam, I was really excited to get to share our story and our vision for the future with a new audience.
I expected a few differences as I approached conversations at the show - accents, verbiage, thoughts on what this cloud stuff actually means, etc. - but as long as I could speak my Texan version of the language, I'd be able to explain who SoftLayer is and what we do ... With a few questions about what in the world a "switch ball" is and how it works. Here's a quick demonstration from GDC in San Francisco this year:
It's pretty funny to see the inventive ways conference attendees approach our giveaways ... The switch balls are often confused as puzzles and our frisbees are thought of as hats. At every tradeshow, people are fascinated with our giveaways, but Internet World provided a unique fascination: the "Koozie."
While the SoftLayer switch balls are always a huge hit (that we run out of at every show), what really seemed to intrigue the attendees in London were the SoftLayer Koozies - insulated can coolers. Most attendees thought the Koozies were cell phone holders initially, but once we explained that they are meant to keep your beer cold and your hand dry, they were surprisingly excited to have an opportunity to get a beer to test their Koozie out.
After coming across a few blank stares, giving some explanations and watching "Aha!" moments, I asked a few of the attendees why Koozies were not popular in Europe. The two most common responses: They drink their beer so fast it does not have time to get warm, and Europeans drink their beer warm. To me, drinking warm beer sounds really gross, but the next time I am in the UK, I will have to give it a fair shot ... Maybe the fact that they drink their beer warm is a result of not having a Koozie to keep their hand dry and their beer cold, so we might have brought about a monumental shift in European alcohol consumption! :-)
After demystifying the switch balls and Koozies, I think we did a great job sharing SoftLayer with our new audience, and I can tell that our space in Amsterdam won't be empty for very long after we open the doors there. If you stopped by the booth, I hope you went out of your way to get a cold beverage to test the amazing Koozie technology.