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> EDS 2018: Were you there?

by Walter E. Tobin
T: 617-901-4088

The measure of success of any meeting or conference is pretty simple: What is different 30 to 90 days afterward? If nothing changed, it was all a waste of money and the most precious commodity we all have — TIME!

All of us are back from EDS. We have files to unpack, business cards to file, action items to follow up on … all to be done while trying to get caught up and get back to the day-to-day activities of our business. Whew — finally, things are ALMOST back to normalcy!

But wait. Why did we go to EDS in the first place? Wasn’t it to meet NEW people, to seek out NEW manufacturers, NEW technologies, and learn NEW stuff from the many breakfast meetings, the manufacturer breakout session, the reviews conducted in the suites, or from the new folks met at casual “run-ins” while at breakfast, lunch, dinner or after-dinner drinks? Isn’t all of this beloved chaos and madness exactly why we went to EDS and why we love it? Despite the common complaint, “EDS is such a death march,”and telling everyone how much we hate it … we really DO LOVE IT!

We love the action, the thrill of the hunt, meeting new folks, doing deals and seeing old friends. It is in our DNA — if it is May, it is EDS in Vegas!

So what now? What do we do with all of the “stuff” from EDS — brochures, pens, handouts, thumb drives with presentations, business cards — all with notes on the back to follow up when we get home?

Most of us have a tendency to put everything in a corner of our office, get back to our normal jobs, and “as soon as” we get caught up, dig through the stuff and begin to follow up.

Does this sound familiar? Is this YOU? It is certainly true for me. It is human nature to go back to our comfort zones, our day-to-day normalcy, and do our job. After all, it is what we are being paid to do! Or is it?

Why did you or your company decide to make a HUGE investment in your attendance at EDS? Is it so that you could return and do the same things over and over? NO.

You went to EDS to learn about new technologies, to meet new people, to see how you can do even better for your existing partners, so that you can return to the “real world” and craft NEW PLANS for your companies. Plans that will take you and them into new (and perhaps uncomfortable) areas. This is the only way to continue to remake yourself and your company, and to remain relevant and forward-thinking in these ever-changing times.

Your job as the company leader is to position your company to “Skate where the puck is going,” not to where it is now because, when you get there, you might find out that the puck (the market) has moved on, and you and your company are left behind.

I can almost guarantee you that, in all those folders and business cards, there is at least ONE opportunity for your company that is waiting for you to follow up on. Don’t let another rep, manufacturer or distributor who also met with that company BEAT YOU TO THE PUNCH and follow up first, so when you finally get around to following up, you are given “the Heisman” and told that the opportunity is gone.

Some may say, “Oh well … it is not my fault.” Or is it? The measure of success of any meeting or conference is pretty simple: What is different 30 to 90 days afterward? If nothing changed, it was all a waste of money and the most precious commodity we all have — TIME!

So . . . put down your coffee (After you read The Representor of course!), and dig out your EDS 2018 folder or box. There is gold in there. You just need to find it before your competition.

I also need to dig out my own “stuff” from EDS and do my own follow-up. My apologies to all of you to whom I said: “I will email/call you when I get back.” I hope the opportunity is still there when I do.


EDS 2018 was a huge success for ERA! We had more than 600 people at our ECIA/ERA breakfast who came to listen to Liz Laderman of the Federal Reserve Bank talk about the Fed policies and their impact on our day-to-day lives. Many thanks to all who attended!

The Connections Café was alive and had a real “buzz” this year. Did you feel it? I did. There were almost no seats available at most times. We welcomed many companies BACK to the Mirage who had stayed “off property” in the past and made folks walk the famous “Las Vegas Block” to meetings off site. As you all know, the walk “next store” takes 45 minutes and prevents you from booking a meeting just prior to or right after the off-property meeting … so, thanks for staying at the Mirage and truly becoming a part of EDS!

Our ERA Business Center was always jammed! It was great to see so many ERA members and sign up new ones, to have you meet our great staff and celebrate together the great organization that is ERA. Both of our conference rooms were booked almost 100 percent by YOU for private meetings. We will have these two rooms again in 2019.

As you noticed, we had stricter enforcement of your EDS Show Badge credentials to access all of the venues at EDS. In today’s times, we need to ensure the safety of all attendees while at the show. All of us at ERA appreciate your support of this heightened security as we continue to work hard to put on a great show in a safe environment.

On a personal note, I want to thank all of you who stopped by to say hello. Your membership and support of ERA and our team is most valued and never taken for granted.

Now, let me get to those business cards from EDS and return those calls!



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