Friday, October 3, 2014

Food ALWAYS Win #Techmanity


After trick-o-treating, we always do the same thing when we get back home... Sort the good candies from the bad candies. My face always lit up when I got to open the Kit-Kats because those were my FAVORITES. So I thought... why not share the love?

A month ago, I applied to be an exhibitor for a tech conference called Techmanity and was accepted (yay Tam!) I had a chance to showcase my startup to thousands of attendees and my worry wasn't about how my idea was not going to be interesting enough, my worry was... how can I be interesting enough for THEM to come to my booth? The answer was so simple. Food. 

EVERYBODY loves food! There's not a single person I know that if I were to give them their favorite food, they would respond, "It's okay, I'm not really feeling like eating food this week." So what I did was I bought two BIG bags of candies filled with White & Milk Chocolate Kit Kats and Reeses Cups and stored my candy in a plastic container. Then, I made a sign that shows the audience how to get candy! (Clever... I know) 

But the best thing was... food was such a GREAT conversation starter. Instead of... "Hi, I'm Tam and I'm the founder of StudentHero. StudentHero is blah blah blah and we do X, Y, and Z and here is my business card i'll follow up with you maybe BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!!" The sad reality is, NO ONE CARES!!! They care about themselves and what YOU can do for them. So when I came early to set up my booth, I went all around not only to say hi to the other exhibitors but started the conversation by asking, "Would you like some candy?" We would then talk about candy and how we always threw away the Mike and Ikes and jellybeans during Halloween to savor the few Snickers or Kit Kats left in our candy bags. Food established a more fun, personal, and REAL relationship with one another. 

My beautiful booth!
Throughout the whole day, people kept coming to my booth to take selfies, eat candy, and have a good time. I would argue that StudentHero was one of the most engaging booths out of the whole conference because aside from the candy, they were genuinely engaged with my idea. It even got the attention of the CEO of Bindle, one of the conference's sponsors, to come over and personally meet me (and eventually recruit me to work for him). 

The next day was Day 2 and I checked my Bindle app (Imagine a huge effective group chat for the conference. That was Bindle and much more) before I went to the conference to see if anything was happening at 8 in the morning. Everyone on the chat was talking about donuts and how they were all so so so hungry... I don't know what hit me but.... I bought two dozens of donuts that morning posted a picture onto Bindle.

"Come to the StudentHero booth to get a donut!"

I came in that morning feeling like James Bond. I really had no motive buying the donuts but I really just wanted to brighten people's day with food! I shared it with the registration staff, and personally went to all of the exhibitors that I had made good friends with during Day 1 to share my donuts! The word, happy, would be an understatement. People from the Bindle app also came over to my booth to personally meet me and eat donuts with our little group. Food brought happiness and smiles all around... It was AWESOME! 

Other highlights of the conference:

Free goodies
interviewed by Spartan Daily
surrounded by awesome people
won a dark vadar mug (thanks Lendlayer)
A VC said he liked my idea (confidence booster)
Met Arthur Chu and got to be in his documentary
found out about Bindle (one of the coolest apps I have...) 
Met the awesome Mitty Chang (see you for boba next week!)
got offered FREE help for business and marketing consultant from two firms
got free tickets to Weezer and gave them away to my friend Tanya before the concert 
Received helpful feedback from SO many people (shoutout to Sam Lom for spending 30 minutes to talk with me)

Arthur Chu from Jeopardy!
Won this from a raffle :)

Damion from SmartPhoneRecords
now the best part after every conference!? the follow ups!!! (this is only half of the business cards I picked up)
Great first experience for me and for StudentHero! Shout out to my intern Bryan for helping me out for Day 1. Special thanks to all of Techmanity and their staff for providing an awesome experience :)