South Florida Supercon is Miami’s largest comic, video game, and general geek celebration. This year there were over 51,000 in attendance, and I had the pleasure of speaking to an awesome group of people at this event on Saturday June 27th. I want to start by thanking Mike Broder, Sarina, and the entire team of individuals taking this year’s event to the next level – Well done!
This was my 2nd year presenting at Supercon, and if you have never been, let me tell you this: it’s an experience.
The dedication and commitment of fans coming together to celebrate their shared interests is nothing short of amazing. It was a brutally hot Florida summer day so my respect goes out to the individuals who endured the heat, many dressed in elaborate non-summer friendly costumes.
While my intention was to provide video game/success education and add value to my fellow attendees of Supercon, I learned a few lessons of my own.
5 Lessons From Florida Supercon 2015
1. Be Early And Be Prepared
I was scheduled to speak at 6:30pm.
I arrived in Miami at 1:30pm.
Plenty of time to walk around and enjoy Supercon before I speak, right?
What I can tell you about Supercon attendance is Saturday is by far the most popular (busiest) day of the event, which typically runs Thursday-Sunday. It truly felt like 30,000 people had converged on the convention center that day alone. The first hurdle was finding parking.
Parking in Miami beach is a bit mental. There are far too many things to see and do, and far too few available parking spaces. The organizers of Supercon put in a lot of hard work to make as many parking arrangements available as possible, but there comes a point where the demand exceeds the supply. Unless you want to pay a local parking garage a flat rate of $50 to park (yikes!).
Always being aware of the need to practice what I preach, I made the choice to employ skills learned while playing video games to find a parking space. While playing multi-player first person shooters, I learned a skill that fondly referred to as “camping.” In FPS games, this involves finding a hidden spot with a good view and then just waiting for opponents to walk into your area so that you can ambush them. It require patience, perseverance, and alertness.
So I sat in my car outside a full parking lot and waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. My opportunity finally arrived and I jumped on it.
It was close to 3pm.
After the almost mile long walk back to the convention center I was hit with the reality of how long the lines were to actually get in the door. While I had a ticket already, those who did not faced a line resembling ones found only in Disney theme parks.
My advice for next year? Be early and be patient, and buy your ticket in advance (plus you save money buying the tickets early!).
2. Have A Plan B
If you are hosting a panel, speaking, or competing in the costume content, be sure to have a Plan B. You know the saying: “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
When I present, I like to use an App for my phone called MyPoint. This allows my phone to act as a remote for my PowerPoint presentation, as well as display the notes page on my device so that I can avoid looking at my laptop or the large screen while speaking. This is a wonderful tool, with one limitation: it requires Wi-Fi to communicate with my laptop.
The free version of the Wi-Fi at the Miami Convention Center was understandably not reliable enough for my presentation (just imagine all the phones, laptops, and portable gaming devices trying to connect), and I was faced with the choice of paying the $12 per device access fee for my phone AND laptop or presenting without my notes and my remote.
Again, I relied on skills learned while playing video games: I searched my personal inventory. I recalled that my phone has the option of setting up a personal WWi-Fi hotspot, so I gave this a try and then connected my laptop to the signal – BOOM! Worked perfectly.
Next time, I’ll be aware of this as a back up – my original Plan B was a paper printout of my notes and slides, but thankfully I did not need them this time.
3. Support And Recognize Others
I was amazed by the incredible support that all the attendees generally displayed to the presenters and other attendees. I had a great opportunity to meet fellow gamers/panelists Jeanette Garcia and Daryl Rodriguez – the fine folks behind the film World 1-1. We had a chance to meet face to face and chat a bit and offer each other encouragement. (ps. go check out www.worldoneonemovie.com/)
Speaking right before my panel was Daniel Thomas May from the Walking Dead TV series. I must confess, I have not yet jumped on the Walking Dead bandwagon – partially because I know that I will want to watch it all, and I just don’t have the time to dedicate to it yet. In spite of this, my wife and I hung around and engaged, asked a question and spoke a bit about video gaming and parenting. Yes, Daniel is a gamer – right now his kids are enjoying Rayman, a very good choice. Parenting done right.
I also took some time to quote and provide shout outs to individuals who have inspired me. This list included: Patrick Scott Patterson, David Hayter, Greg Toppo, John Saddington, Zig Ziglar, Elon Musk, Dr. James Rosser, Shia Labeouf, and the guys of Dude Perfect.
You all rock – keep up the awesome work.
4. Take Advantage of Targets of Opportunity
It occurred to me that Florida Supercon might be a good place to add to my Nintendo 3DS Street Pass numbers. I was right.
I did not actually play my 3DS while at Supercon (good idea for the lines, though) but you can easily obtain over 100 Street Pass Visitors in a very short time at Supercon.
5. Value Your Player 2 – “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone.”
I’ve saved the best for last. Events like Supercon are best enjoyed when you take someone with you. I am so blessed to have a supportive wife who stood by my side and supported my through the event. She is always willing to help out, and I cannot accomplish on my own what I can accomplish with her.
We are celebrating our 12th year of marriage and I cannot remember what life was like without her. She has continued to be my biggest fan, supporter, and encourager when I need it most. And she’s not even into video games that much!
Missed Opportunities From A Business Standpoint
When writing this post, the business side of me began to analyze my experience for any missed opportunities. Two opportunities do come to mind that I left out intentionally, here they are:
1. Like any online business or website, I am always looking to grow my email list. At Florida Supercon I had a room full of people who were interested in hearing my message, so I also had the opportunity to “grow my list.” I could have raffled off a copy of my book “Mastering The Game: What Video Games Can Teach Us About Success In Life” in exchange for email addresses.
2. Drive traffic to my TEDx Talk, Website, and Podcast. Again, with a captive audience I had the opportunity to shamelessly plug my platforms and try to drive attention to my existing work.
Why I chose not to pursue these opportunities: because I wanted the talk to be about the attendees, not just about me.
It feels strange being too self-promotional. I’d rather be helpful and talk about others.
Like many things in life, attending Florida Supercon is best enjoyed with a little preparation. Be sure to stay hydrated, take cash and smaller bills, give yourself plenty of time, take a portable gaming system, carge up your phone, bring a friend, and most importantly be sure to bring a great attitude.
Perhaps I’ll see you there next year!