This past Friday the Nuggs (Vanessa, Nugget, Red, my five-foot fierce wife) and myself (Broc, Q the Face,) were on assignment at the Tiger Direct 2015 Tech Bash held at the Miami Marlins Stadium. We were extremely excited, as this was the first year we would participate.
I actually dreamed of state-of-the-art technology coming to us in 2016. I had high hopes of seeing new cutting-edge gadgets, like robots, for example, artificial intelligence waiting at my beckon call to fetch me some sustenance whilst I had my way with my PS4. I expected to be spending hours standing in line with my fellow gear hungry geeks to test out some new device I had yet to even hear about let alone witness in person.
What I did not expect was what the entire evening consisted of… dot, dot, dot.
First and foremost the Tech Bash was held in the beautiful, posh, expensive and
equally hated Miami Marlins Stadium. If you’re from the 305 you fully understand the “hated” part. This was a “free” event but they did provide you with the option to pay for an “Early Access” Pass which meant you could arrive an hour before doors officially opened, meaning we were able to get in at 5:30pm and were given a gift bag at the door (cue the dot dot dot…)
Of course my high anticipation of this event compelled me to purchase the “Early Access” pass and force my trooper of a wife to hurry getting ready so that we could get there, early. However, trying to get to anywhere in Miami at 5:30 is absolutely impossible, but hey 5:45pm wasn’t bad. So… we pulled into the parking garage and I eagerly hand them my “Early Access” ticket expecting to be let right on in. However, I was quickly informed that I would still have to pay for parking because it was only Free for pass holders at 4:30pm.
Wait… hold up… Wait what?
So let me get this straight.
In order for me to receive the free parking that came with my pass purchase I had to arrive to the parking garage an hour EARLIER than I would be allowed to even access the event? I call bullshit! BUT, I didn’t say any of this. I looked a bit confused, gave her the Rick Grimes head tilt and just paid for the parking. After all, I assumed I would reap the benefits of my early entrance regardless of my parking fee.
So we park, walk our way…well the Nuggs was walking, I was more speed walking, sprinting if you will.
We get to the entrance get our nifty bag and I immediately open it to see what perks I got as we were headed up the escalator. To my surprise, we were given a shirt…A white shirt with a tiger on it that said Tech Bash 2015. One size fits all or at least they proclaimed so, a sticker and a brochure.
And what I thought was a special bag was really a bag for the first 1500 people who got there. And let me just say this now. If there were more than 1500 people at this event you can call me Batman. I’m Batman.
We get to the main level of the event, which was in short about half of the 3rd level floor. Meaning there was about 20-30 tables set up. Sadly a good 10 of these would stay empty for the entire event. I assume companies who first thought it would be a good idea but then either did not complete their payment as a vendor or just came to the realization that it would be rather pointless to attend and fled the country.
Now I am sure you’re reading this and assuming that I’m hating on the entire event. And for the most part, you are right.
The truth is, it was a 4-hour event for what only took someone 20 minutes to fully walk around (someone who was not sprinting at all). Plus in a city where the word FREE meant that there were hundreds of people there not for the tech but because it was in fact FREE and they expected to have a bunch of free stuff given out. And a lot of the vendors did. Most tables (for those big companies who could afford it) they had freebies all lined up on their tables. Of course, it was the gratuitous promotional material with their company name all over it but that did not matter to a majority of the visitors.
I stood back for a minute and watched as lines formed at each table. Not because they were interested in the products being showcased, not because they wanted further information or to talk about what was going on, but because they wanted a chance to spin some stupid wheel for a free pair of $1 sunglasses, because they wanted that notepad they were going to throw away in the parking lot. It was ridiculous actually. Now of course at this point I feel bad, the Nuggs quickly reminds me that these are huge companies that can afford the materials and who don’t really care about whether or not the people who took them would ever purchase any of their products. But as a small business owner I felt for the small guy. The one company who saved money for a table, who put some of their profits or own money into getting promotional material and who was never given more than 30 seconds to talk about what they were showcasing. It was like watching lions fighting over the last hyena, the runt. It was sad actually. As I stood in line to get food (which btw were the most expensive chicken nuggets I’ve ever had in my life but that’s an entire blog post in itself, or maybe an angry nugget rant) there were people even asking if they would be giving out free food. For the most part people were there for the handouts, for the freebies, less than 25% were there for the actual tech. But you don’t have to take my word for it.
The Good: (Yes there were good things!) There were a lot of Oculus type setups for people to see what its like in the Augmented Reality Video game world (AR Goggles for the non-gamers or noobs, or etc.). Some of the setups (ok, all but ONE) didn’t really allow you to play a damn thing. You just sort of put on the goggles and looked around for a bit and bam, it was time for the next person.
There were 2 tables I stopped at twice. The first table contained information for the upcoming NEW Miami Science Museum and Planetarium and the other was a company that restores old and outdated computer and gaming systems. They call themselves (A No Kill Home For PC’s) which I thought was rather funny and unique (link & info below)
Overall, it was a “unique” experience. I will not, however, be spending any money on the next one. The Tiger Direct deals were pretty decent. (They had an all in one printer for $50 granted they only had about 50 in stock ant it was the first item to sell out). Apparently it was 50% of what last year’s Tech Bash was. Allegedly last year they did give out free food and ALLEGEDLY a Free Chromecast for all early access pass holders… So whoever ran it last year was far from the reigns this year or otherwise decided it wasn’t going to be that big of a hit this year. Hey guess what? That one geek was right. #gameover