One of the most difficult tasks involved with putting together any trade show, let alone the largest and fastest growing show and conference in the sensor industry, is deciding on the perfect keynote speakers. First, you assemble a wish list of possible speakers, which involves eliminating the impossible speakers. One must give up the idea of getting Bill Gates, Bono, or President Obama. As they say in show business, "It ain’t gonna happen.” A good rule of thumb is aim for the middle and stick with people relevant to your target audience.
Once you’ve narrowed your field down to at least two to three perfect candidates, pre-console yourself that one or all will either not be available or within your budget. There is one other very important factor to consider, the charismatic character of said prospective speakers. Sometimes even the biggest bigshots in the business are about as engaging as lacquered bagels. Be that as it may, you have just a small idea of what’s involved in this process of selecting keynote speakers.
All that said however, it’s worth every hair-losing, tooth-gnashing moment when your chosen candidate comes to the show and pounds the ball out of the park. Not only did that happen twice at Sensors Expo 2015 in Long Beach last year with Dr. Mike North and Gadi Amit, but it happened again this year at Sensors Expo 2016 in San Jose, CA.
On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, Dr. Ken Gabriel, considered the founder of the Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) industry, delivered one of the most concise and insightful twenty-minute keynotes in tradeshow history. This is a precedent in tradeshow lore, where most speakers go the distance, leaving little time for audience questions.
Dr. Ken Gabriel
Dr. Gabriel offered a wealth of information in that brief period. He easily led the listeners to a greater understanding of how end users view and rely on sensors. He made it clear that once this was understood, OEMs could produce sensors that make devices stand out. He also described the tools available to help OEMS differentiate their products.
Even with plenty of time for a Q&A, Dr. Gabriel was fielding requests for some time after. And the compliments on his keynote are still coming in. I was approached several times with accolades for our choice of speaker at the airport prior to leaving the expo for home.
A true giant in the industry, Ray Zinn took the stage on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Mr. Zinn is often referred to as one of the primary architects of Silicon Valley. His longevity is legendary, having more than 50 years in the tech business, and a 37-year stint as CEO of Micrel. As a result of this seasoning, Mr. Zinn has much to offer in terms of envisioning the future of technology and Silicon Valley.
Mr. Zinn’s keynote focused on doing the tough things first, a practice he has proven to more than just effective. He covered the semiconductor business cycle, its ups, downs, spins, and predicable turns, i.e., innovations, adoptions, growth, and consolidations. He then demystified the industry’s current taste for consolidations and how China will figure into the future, tying it all together with the aforementioned cycles and how it will drive both sensor technology and the IoT.
Once again, the audience was more than receptive and appreciative with its generous accolades. And again I shook more hands over the event than any other I’ve had the pleasure to introduce. Now the real hard part is to equal this next time. And we shall! ~MD