Several folks have asked us how this year’s SCAA convention went for us at RoastLog. After answering that question several times, here is how I think it went for us:
Last year in Anaheim we arrived at the conference with zero customers and basically said, “RoastLog is open for business!” People loved our vision, but there was still a tone we felt which like…”Who are you guys and what happens to my data if you close up shop next year?” That being the case, we walked away from the 2010 show with our first dozen customers.
This year in Houston, we showed up saying “Roasters on four different continents have been using our system day after day for over a year. Here is our new piece of hardware and a new inventory system built to solve your issues.” The tone which I picked up on this year was, “OMG…this will save me so much time. Your user interface is sweet….I need this.” We did not receive a single question about us theoretically closing shop.
Basically it just felt like people are much more willing to trust us. It makes sense…we’ve been out there for a solid year and talking to folks for six months figuring out what the inventory module was going to look like. When you do that it must seem pretty clear that we are here for the long-haul and dedicated to pushing our little start-up forward, building tools for the coffee industry.
Personally, this was the first year (out of the four shows I’ve been to) where I really felt like I got to catch up with old friends who I rarely get to see. Even though Richard from 5 Senses is a RoastLog user, I only see him once a year at the show. I’ve chatted with Mark from Synesso for the past three years so now we recognize each other…it’s a blast saying hi and catching up as one of us passes the other’s booth. Same goes for Lincoln from Alterra Coffee. Lincoln was next door to us in 2009 when a pre-alpha version of RoastLog arrived in Atlanta just to test the level of interest from the community. I’ve been promised a place to crash in Sydney from the very first guy who wanted to install RoastLog before it was even ready (Paul from Mecca Espresso), so now I just need to get going on a business trip to Oz!
But, one of the best things about these shows is finally getting to meet our users in person. We exchange emails, talk on the phone, Skype…countless things to help folks get up and running or listen to their feedback. Still, seeing someone face-to-face and getting a change to look them in the eye and listen as their talking is priceless. I think I speak for all of when I say that this was probably the best part of the whole show….I only wish we got a chance to meet all of our users.