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Thread: Tremendous appreciation to our customers and friends who attended Parallax EXPO/UPEW

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  1. #1

    Default Tremendous appreciation to our customers and friends who attended Parallax EXPO/UPEW

    Hey all,

    I really can't describe the excitement, enthusiasm and energy we had at the Parallax EXPO/UPEW this weekend. We had visitors from Europe, Asia and all over the USA and I'm fairly certain we exceeded 2,000 guests. I can't begin to express our appreciation for the guests and their contributions.

    The event was designed to handle the UPEW crowd mostly inside, and the entire EXPO guests everywhere. Five large tents in the parking lot provided soldering projects, microcontroller programming stations, hands-on robotic play areas, tech presenters, vendors, three food trucks, and a variety of guests with their own projects. We toured at least 1,500 people through the facility on half-hour guided trips complete with live manufacturing processes, stories about success and failure in the business, and often ending with impressive first-person view quadcopter flights with large video projection inside the building. Kids got to start CNC machine production runs and the manufacturing crew had the pick-n-place machine opened up with safety override keys they made on the laser cutter. Boy Scouts were able to meet part of their merit badge requirements and we had the chance to share the business with the local community.

    The Parallax crew and their entire families ran the show, bringing our team to around 70 people - all teaching, sharing, talking, and assisting customers throughout the day. I'm not sure how much money we raised for Placer County Food Bank, but whatever it was I'm sure we could have made it 4x bigger if the kids sold tickets, but they were already booked at productive places throughout the facility.

    I didn't have an opportunity to get a drink of water or food during Saturday, but a customer (Fred Evangelisti, American River College) brought me a nice Tex-Mex mix from a food truck just to say "thanks, I know you won't get a chance to eat so here's lunch". My dad thought the lunch looked good and said "hey, do you have any money - I didn't bring lunch money!". I didn't have any cash because I gave it to the kids to get lunch, so I turned to Tracy Allen for $20.

    Many parents provided sincere appreciation. They just weren't ready for an event like this where kids were a true beneficiary, where liability concerns were not the ruler of our activities, and where they thought they'd visit for an hour but stayed for three. We heard many magic-moment "thank you's" in which the exposure was launching new interests. For many of our team and customers, key childhood events influenced their choices as adults and we're thankful to be able to pay it back. Kids are welcome in our office all the time and we are fortunate to have a place where they want to go (a recent poll by our HR manager found that kids wanted to go to Parallax on Spring Break instead of Mexico. . . but a trip to Hawaii made them think twice).

    The technical exchanges were significant and presentations looked productive. So badly I wanted to see presentations but I had the chance to meet with some product developers instead. Many business connections were made between guests, too. The amount of post-EXPO collaboration will be more significant than the event itself.

    To thank all of the contributors would be impossible, so I'll just thank everybody, starting with Jeff Ledger and Lauren Davis, our Marketing Manager. Parallax thanks every participant in the event!


    Ken Gracey

    Ken Gracey | Parallax Inc.| Direct
    : (916) 625-3010 | www.parallax.com

    Follow me on Twitter

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tremendous appreciation to our customers and friends who attended Parallax EXPO/U

    One of the preliminary tasks that I was responsible for was running a BUNCH of electrical power out across the roof and over the parking lot to some trees on the back side of the tents.

    Ironically, that was nothing compared to the "electricity in the air" that I felt from all our friends (new and old) that were able to join us! I was especially happy to see so many kids roaming around - and in the words of many, they we're "having a blast!"

    You know how you're always apprehensive about "throwing a party" and wondering if anyone will show up? Pile and piles of people showed...it was ELECTRIC !


    PS: (private note to Marketing Department) - Get started now...Let's triple it for next year
    - Matt Gilliland -
    - mattg@parallax.com
    - (916) 624-8333 x3018
    Ask me about the Lifetime Warranty on the Propeller BOE

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tremendous appreciation to our customers and friends who attended Parallax EXPO/U

    Congrats to Parallax for the hard work and successful EXPO! You guys never do anything halfway, and I'm sorry I missed it. (I almost had a friend convinced at the last minute to make it a Road Trip and share 16 hours of straight-through driving. "They'll have QUADCOPTERS!!!" was my presumptive hook, since he's big into RC. But I failed to reel him in with the idea.)

    Next year!

    Last edited by Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi); 04-16-2012 at 02:53 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tremendous appreciation to our customers and friends who attended Parallax EXPO/U

    Phil, imagine a queue of parents with children 20 or 30 deep outside the tent waiting to have a turn at the soldering stations to learn to solder their very own scribblerito. Small children sitting on parent's laps, big kids doing it on their own. Necklaces, badges, or ear rings--that LED was to be seen everywhere, and I bet many of them with show up at schools on Monday morning. A lot more programming and education excitement was going on in those tents. I heard Andy give his amazingly practiced put-you-inside-the-box explanation of how the Memsic accelerometer works, for the benefit of dad who had a boebot in hand.

    No worries about the 20 bucks Ken. I got my money's worth! Please donate it to the Placer food bank. This was indeed a community-wide event.

    I got a whiff of the "special plate" from the Taco truck that Jeff Martin was into while watching the quadcopter get blasted with Rick Galinson's paintball gatling gun. Now, that was a "hit". Amazingly it stayed in the air and didn't even seem perturbed, but it came back drenched with yellow. I wonder how it would have fared in the hailstorm the day before? Anyway the tacos were great.

    I regret not having time to meet and talk to more people I know were there, and to see more of the projects on display. Another opportunity next time, right? Thanks to all the organizers, OBC, Parallax staff, everybody.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tremendous appreciation to our customers and friends who attended Parallax EXPO/U

    Here is when the S2 button soldering line was short...
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    Every solder station was busy for every minute of the show...
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    Great job Parallax!
    Thank you so very much, Looking forward to next year!


  6. #6

    Default Re: Tremendous appreciation to our customers and friends who attended Parallax EXPO/U

    What an awesome event, I'm extremely glad I went. Kudos to Ken, MattG and everyone for making such a successful expo. Even Friday's rain (& later hail) couldn't dampen the energy there. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the Parallax folks and Forumistas (Tracy Allen, I'm still not worthy!) who were simply the nicest and whip-smartest people around. Thanks to Matt for giving me permission to do and yack about anything & everything at the Tech Zone tent. I had many of my simple BS1 & BS2 projects there, including 4 robot arms. One of those was my BS2 robo-printer. I had my doubts about whether any kids would like it. Yes, it was a technical success, but ponderously slow to print. I was very pleasantly surprised that most kids were actually amazed and often lined up 4-6 deep, even though it took 2-4 minutes to print each badge! Naturally the BoeBot Flamethower was a hit, I know people like fire. And my robo-catapult was shooting baskets at nearly 100% except when the wind picked up or someone moved my buckets! I spent most of my time in the tent, babysitting fragile projects and making sure no one activated the flamethrower. But everywhere I looked, people were interested and engaged in the wide variety of activities and exhibits. I'll be back next year! A few pics attached. First two are families all proudly wearing their Post-It note robot-printed badges. I couldn't resist.

    I lost a bunch of sleep preparing for and driving to Expo, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
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