Saturday, February 08, 2014

RootsTech 2014 Day 3 - The Youth Are Coming

Today was a rather different day for me at RootsTech. Different as in I did something I've never done before. RootsTech provides the Official Bloggers an amazing facility to conduct professionally recorded interviews. In all the previous years I never took advantage of this opportunity. I decided to get out of my comfort zone and do my first one with Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch. How cool is that!

The interview was scheduled to happen yesterday morning but I kept getting bumped from my spot. Patience finally paid off and my time came while everyone else was attending the keynote address this morning. I have to say it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. I did have a brain freeze in the middle but the fact I knew my son could edit it out for me made me just laugh it off. I loved this learning experience, I am now so over myself and my perceived worries of my flawed body image.

The other thing that I did differently was to not take a single class today. Yesterday, I told you "I'm listening". That also means I'm trying to pay attending to the whispering of the Holy Ghost. After yesterday I just said to myself "Lord, tell me what you would have me do, I'll do it." No barriers, no limitations, no requirements, etc. My desire then was to go through the Expo Hall and speak to all the vendors. It was one of the most fantastic days ever! My goal was to find out who they are, what their niche is, and where they see themselves going. I wanted to bring as many of their stories to you because not everyone can be at RootsTech.

I started on the right hand side of the Expo Hall, which I think is the north side. This meant I began with the higher numbered booths. This was very against the grain for the OCD part of me. This was also very freeing too. What I found there were some really great new start-ups I have never heard of. I had them tell me about their company, and I would look for their angle or niche market they were trying to target. As they were telling me about their company as soon as I would see their niche I would say to them "Oh, this is your niche or market your targeting."  Boy, would their eyes light up and the whole dialog would change. We really got down to business. I would give them honest feedback on their product, or suggest people they should get to know. I can't design things, but I can sure tell people what doesn't work for me and why and what you could do to make things better. I'm a great beta tester. What I was seeing from these companies were really good products.

At my very first booth a plan came into my mind. I can't possibly write articles on all these vendors. There are just TOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many. This Expo Hall is 50% bigger than last year. This is how the plan went. At some point while talking to the vendor I would simply tell them who I was and hand them my business card. I would tell them "This is what I want from you. I want you to give me a press release about your company." (I would describe the format it needed to be in.) I let them know I was offering this to all the vendors. If the press release wasn't in the format I needed then it would be put in my to-do list and I wouldn't know when it would get put on my blog. I told them I want to tell their story, but I need them to help me because I can't do it all. This way they win because they get help with marketing, and my readers win because they get to see what's out there. I didn't receive any reactions that my offer sounded crazy. I felt really good that I was providing service to others.

Around lunch time I started wishing I had tape recorded all the neat conversations I was having with these vendors. I had interviewed Mike Davis from StoryPress in the Media Hub the day before, simply because he contacted me prior to RootsTech. I had recorded it but I really wanted people to see screens shots of things. I happened to bump into James Tanner, Genealogy's Star blogger and told him what I was doing and thinking about. He offered to help me learn how to use Google Hangouts to conduct some interviews. I am so going to take James up on his offer. I also thought it interesting I was just offering all these people my service to help them and now I bump into someone else offering to help me.

Another thing I did at lunch time was call my husband to bring me all the business cards and "mailing labels" (sticky business cards for entry forms), from home to my hotel. I was running short on both and there were still more vendors to visit.

I continued to spend the rest of the conference day talking while standing on my feet, sometimes an occasional chair, but all the time dealing with bursitis in my hip. I felt totally compelled to keep doing what I was doing. I was getting an entire marketing lesson simply by talking to the vendors. I was learning something about niches all the time. Somehow physically I was able to do the seemingly impossible until the vendor hall was about to close. I didn't get through them all but because I went in the direction I did I was close to the RootsMagic booth, where my fellow co-workers were. I was able to sit down until we could go out to dinner.

As soon as I stopped I was in bad pain. I had a difficult time walking and was grateful we were taking the car to go to dinner. I knew as soon as I was done with dinner and back at the hotel I was going to spend a LONG time in the pool and jacuzzi so I could walk again tomorrow. I needed a miracle because I was living on them at that point.

Upon arriving at my hotel I spotted right off a lot of youth in the lobby. Tomorrow is the Youth Activity Day portion of RootsTech so it made sense that those from out of town would be arriving.

As fate has it, my room at the Marriott is also on the same floor as the exercise room and pool. So when I arrived back at the hotel and got off the elevator I was greeted by the joyful, exuberant, screams of a THOUSAND youth in the hotel pool. AND, I spotted the perfect profile of Merrill White, from FamilySearch. Now, I'm a very large plus size women, that was very grateful earlier this week to be the soul occupant of the hotel pool in the evenings. Now I faced sharing it with a "thousand" youth and someone I knew. I just started to laugh. Boy, does the Lord have a sense of humor and I knew I better have one too. There was no way around it I HAD to go into that pool.

Yup, I went swimming and it was great! Needless to say once I got into the crowded pool I was a captive audience. I took to rating the skill levels of some of the teens while they would stand on top of their friends hands to be thrown upwards to perform miraculous back flips into the water beside me. We would just laugh.

I knew the Lord was giving me a lesson about the youth. I needed to just so get over myself. When I was in the locker room drying my hair three excited young women came in and I overheard their conversations after spying the door to the sauna.

"What's that?"
"It's a place that you get all sweaty"
"Oh, let's try that"

They proceeded to go inside and experiment and figure out how things worked. They had a blast and I thought those where just the right inquisitive skills to be an excellent genealogist.

While the three girls were in there another set of three girls came in and I started talking to them. They wanted to go into the sauna so I just gave them a heads up that some other girls were already there. They were timid so they quickly opened the sauna door, peeked in and turned around and left. All was still in the sauna for a minute then I heard three young women screaming "Come back!" They did not want to miss out in an opportunity for fun and share it.

Yup, the ability to work with others to learn more is a good genealogist trait.

When I was 15 years old I took my first genealogy class and filled out a pedigree chart. Understanding and loving my ancestors has helped me through all the vicissitudes of life. The benefit of learning and using technology has only increased my passion. I am so excited for the Youth Activity Day at RootsTech. The time is right for the youth to get involved. I see them capable of marvelous things. I can't wait to cover this angle of RootsTech. It's bound to be an interesting day.

So brace yourself, the youth are coming.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another RootsTech Day!

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