Silicon Valley Comic Con 2016: Start Up Potential w/ (Tech)nical Difficulties

This past weekend was Silicon Valley Comic Con, the brainchild of Steve Wozniak and Stan Lee, who  sought to create a unique convention  that merged new technologies with comic culture, and make their mark as Silicon Valley’s flagship convention. The show also featured a cast reunion for “Back to the Future”, and other popular actors and actresses along side notable writers of science fiction. Overall, I have more positive things to say about the convention, than bad, but I’ll try to keep this more to the point, to try to paint a fair, but personal picture.

Positives:

  1. Friday Preview Night/ Endless Tees: This was a great night to experience the exhibition floor and see what the convention had to offer. We also had personal reasons as we wanted to see how EndlessTees was doing. The preview night was great for them, and gave a positive barometer for their experience through the weekend. It was casual, but had enough people to give it a sense that the con would be well enough attended. 20160318_193232
  2. Saturday Attendance: I am very happy that the event was successful, in the sense that the number of at the door purchases for entry was noticeably large. That bodes well for the event to return, and potentially grow into an established event in our area.
  3. The Uncanny Core Panel: I was fortunate enough to have a friend who held a panel and I got to participate on it. The panel was well attended and it was  very nice to talk to people after the panel, share some thoughts with fellow educators/ geeks. Sadly, we ran out of time (our own fault), but it’s encouraging to try to refine this panel and give it a go next year. I love being able to talk about what I know to receptive listeners, and this gave me a chance to get more practice at speaking on a panel.download_20160319_202129
  4. Free to roam: The San Jose McEnery Convention Center is great for hosting conventions as well as having a good reputation to allow casual folks to stop by and enjoy the energy of the atmosphere. A lot of the spectacle of a convention can be found simply walking around the area where you will find photographers, cosplayers and fans. The fan meet ups are usually outside and that allows anyone to come together for the opportunity.download_20160320_223409

     

  5. Seeing Friends and Familiar Faces: I think one of the best parts of a convention is building community with people. This convention was no different as we were able to talk to friends, both personal and professional, about their experiences. We also got to break bread with some new folks, and that is a huge win for us.

Negatives:

  1. Exhibition Hall: In terms of the exhibition floor, there was nothing notable or different from what I spied. The tech aspect was more thematic, versus prominent. There was a VR area, but I ended up passing it up. I had tested the Oculus Rift a couple of weeks before, so there was no allure.
  2. RFID scanning: Logistics for the wristband scanning were not so great as there were major choke points at the entrance and exit. This was coupled with their main ballroom/ hall being in such close proximity to the lines, it made for plenty of traffic jams.  The scanning itself was hit or miss, but I think the locations played a bigger role in the problems.
  3. General organization: There were a number of other organizational issues, and some of the volunteers were less than courteous about things. Most organizations have a great number of volunteers who seem invested in the event and I feel SVCC lacked that for their freshman outing.

All in all, the convention was fun and it is definitely something that could grow into a very successful event. There was a lot of stumbling in terms of the events organization and delivery of its atmosphere. It, however, did provide a lot to see and plenty of star appeal with hopes that they will deliver a more seamless event next year that validates the cost of admission.

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