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Ponderings on the 2021 National Convention.


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Occasionally, I like to wax philosophical and I had some time to do so this year in Las Vegas.  First of all, let me congratulate IPMS Las Vegas on a great show!  Thank you, I had a great time.

One of the things that occured to me was the idea, that there are quite literally hundreds of thousands(if not millions) of hours spent by model builders who put models on the table and go no recognition at all!  This to me is a stunning fact.  Now granted, this is not a participation trophy event and I would never suggest that it should be.  The fun of a convention should be time to spend with old friends and make now friends.  It is the builders who make the event and not the contest.  I saw good attitudes all around. 

The second thing that occured to me is this.  With some exceptions, most of the Nationals are being organized and run by groups of people for who this is the first time they have done this.  It is amazing that with a bunch or novices running stuff it gets done at all, much less at the level it does.  I hope people who complain about minor irritations consider this before they start bagging on the committee.  Amazing that they can pull that off even with 2 years to do so!

Thanks again for a wonderful convention. 

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Yep, no complaints here.  The LV crew did a great job!  As a convention attendee, I saw no hitches whatsoever.

The walk back and forth between the hotel room and convention was killer though!  😵

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1 hour ago, Neo said:

 

The walk back and forth between the hotel room and convention was killer though!  😵

Yup!   Not much you could do about that though.  I guess I would have thought that because it is a "Convention Center"  the hotel would have had some electric golf carts to assist some of us old guys and other mobility challenged people. I saw more than a few people struggling with the walk. 

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I worked the registrations tables most of Wednesday and filled in some of Thursday and Friday.

From an 'insider' point of view, it was well organized. Every crew could use a little more experience at running a Nats. From a previous Nats ops guy (Vendor Coord 2005, fill-in Vendor Coord 2007) there were a few things that could be improved.

I have repeated said the Raffle needs to be digitized!! Put the winning tickets in Excel, put the numbers on a screen and remove them as claimed. The multiple sheets with marked out numbers always gets hard to read by Friday morning. At least re-write them every day!

I also heard a bunch of grumbling on Saturday that their 'first come, first pick" raffle system left 'nothing but junk nobody wants" on the stage - but you can't please everybody. (reporting what I heard many times, not endorsing it)

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5 hours ago, jcorley said:

...the Raffle needs to be digitized!! Put the winning tickets in Excel, put the numbers on a screen and remove them as claimed. The multiple sheets with marked out numbers always gets hard to read by Friday morning. ...

...their 'first come, first pick" raffle system left 'nothing but junk nobody wants" on the stage...

Digitizing the raffle would be a solid "quality of life" step forward.  And it could remove the need for a volunteer or two.

HST, I was the registrar for a national convention (in another hobby).  We decided to put up a screen above the registration desk ... with the current schedule, schedule change notifications, and items of interest related the schedule.  It turned into a nightmare.  First, when other players in the con learned about the info screen, they wanted all sorts of info from their areas included.  There was no clear process for obtaining, confirming, and updating these new categories of info ... magic, I suppose.  But there was a clear expectation that the Registrar would be responsible.  Second, the mechanics of the data being fed to the screen were not trivial.   And there was no guarantee, but an expectation, of timeliness.

The "first come, first pick" method was what was picked ... it leaves the burden of selection to the winner.  It is the simplest and it encourages early and multiple raffle ticket purchases.  And, IMHO, if the winning ticket was tied to a specific kit, several winners would want to negotiate a change to another kit.  Yup, can't please everyone.  Actually, you're guaranteed to displease somebody. 

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18 hours ago, Highlander said:

Yup, can't please everyone.  Actually, you're guaranteed to displease somebody. 

Someone much smarter than I has written that leadership/command/decision-making, "...is disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb." 😉😁

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Every organizing group spends the next week agonizing over the things that went wrong. Over the following 30 days, they discover that no one noticed 99 percent of them. 🙂 I was chairman in 1998 and thought at points the event was terminally FUBAR, and yet we received nothing but positive comments from nearly everyone who wasn't an insider. I hope Las Vegas realizes this sooner than we did! 

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At the risk of sounding like I'm complaining, which I'm not, I was impressed by the registration.  Not by how well it went, but how Vegas had a backup when something went wrong.

I had pre-registered.  I waited in the pre-registered line to learn that I had no registration packet.  At all.  I was sent across the foyer to another table.  I was miffed.

When I arrived, I discovered that I wasn't the only one.  I was immediately attended to, had my package prepared within two minutes, and had to wait about five minutes for my badge to be printed.  I was pleasantly surprised at the minimal impact when no packet was in hand for me.  The positive attitudes and sense of urgency from the Vegas folks defused my irritation and provided insight into how well the Nats were organized.

So, the Vegas folks should be pleased at several levels.  They did well.

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On behalf of my team, thanks for your kind words and compliments.  We are thrilled that everyone had a great time.

Yes indeed, this was our first Nat's and it's not easy starting from zero.  Thanks to Mike Moore and Len Philhofer who spent a lot of time on Zoom calls with us early on to help steer us in the right direction.

As far as a digital screen for raffles, we actually had that planned and prepared for it until we found out the cost would be well over a thousand dollars charged by the convention centers A/V contractor.  Remember that Las Vegas is the Convention Capital of the World and the costs for such things as A/V and other tech is VERY HIGH.  Considering our A/V costs were already over $10k we decided to fall back on marker and cardboard.  Thanks for those who contributed to our raffle any way.   Its much appreciated.  

Bob Lomassaro

21' Nats Chairman 

 

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Bob gives at least me too much credit.  I was happy to answer any questions he had, but he had it pretty well in hand!  And while we did do the excel thing with the raffle in Chattanooga, a Chuck Davenport innovation to give credit where it’s due, we had the flexibility to provide our own AV.  Given the costs involved in Vegas, it sounds like they made the right decision.  

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