It’s that time of year again! The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and thousands of us are about to escape our allergies by packing up and heading over to the Channel Partners Conference & Expo 2023 from May 1-4 in Las Vegas.
I’ve been going to this conference for almost a decade – which I believe means I started going when I was in high school, don’t worry about checking the math on that – and this is one of my favorite conferences when everyone in the channel finally gets to see the faces we’ve spoken to mostly from a computer screen for the last year.
And while this event can often take on a life of its own, over the years I’ve gathered some tips and tricks I live by that have helped make the experience just a little bit better. And because I care about you – and your feet! – I’d like to share these with you, because at Channel Partners, the days are long but the conference is short.
(I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention here that you can make sure you find ThreatBlockr by signing up for a meeting at Channel Partners Conference ahead of time!)
1. Treat your feet like you love them.
The name of the game at Channel Partners Conference & Expo 2023 is comfort. There is no prize at the end of the conference for whose feet were the most uncomfortable.. This is the time to show off your best sneaker game! You’re going to spend more time on your feet than you think.
This advice applies to your socks, too. Bring good socks. Some people even carry an extra pair of socks with them to change into midday. Those people might be brilliant.
Just remember! Break your sneaks in before you arrive. Your shiny new kicks look great (I promise), but breaking them in before you arrive will take your smart shoe game to the next level.
Rookie: Wear comfortable shoes every day.
Pro: Break in your shoes before you come, bring great socks, and change your socks midway through the day.
2. Live every day like it’s Restaurant Week
I love eating! I’m sure you do, too. Eating is great. But unless you want to spend your meals at a buffet, let me give you three pieces of advice about this:
- You need to make dinner reservations early.
- You need to make dinner reservations early.
- You NEED to make dinner reservations EARLY.
One of the best things about Channel Partners Conference is that there are thousands of us all in one place. Unfortunately, when thousands of people want to eat around the same time, this can become, shall we diplomatically say, difficult. If you have a group larger than two, it becomes almost impossible without reservations.
Make sure you think outside the Circle Bar, too. It’s a prime location for gathering and fun, which in turn results in being intensely crowded. Fret not, though. I can assure you there are at least a few other places in Las Vegas to go grab some beverages. If you try hard enough I bet you can find one.
Rookie: Book dinner reservations soon.
Pro: Book dinner reservations yesterday. Barring budget constraints on time travel devices, book dinner reservations today.
3. Nobody ever had less fun because they were hydrated.
I’ll admit that “drinking water is good for you” isn’t exactly groundbreaking advice. Still, I can’t tell you just how many people forget that Las Vegas is in the desert, and then get into major trouble after. When you add in the “Vegas” of it all – you know what I mean – that trouble can quickly turn into catastrophe.
Rookie: Drink a lot of extra water. You’re in the desert, have long days ahead, and your body needs it.
Pro: Research some IV hydration stations nearby in case you don’t heed the basic advice and need some extra hydration support.
4. Coffee is good. Not waiting an hour for it is better.
Yes, there is a Starbucks right at the entrance of the Channel Partners Conference. Do not, however, be lured into thinking you can quickly grab a cup of life-sustaining brown liquid on your way in to counteract the fun you had the night prior (and the hydration advice you dutifully ignored). I have seen the line for this Starbucks wrap through hallways.
Even in the best of times that kind of caffeine delay can break people, and mornings in Las Vegas are never the best of times. Make your coffee plans for elsewhere.
Rookie: Know you’ll grab coffee before you arrive for the day at the conference.
Pro: Research other coffee shops and locations based on your preferences and availability ahead of time.
5. Layer on, layer off.
Yes, the conference is all in one location. Yes, that location is a desert. That does not, however, mean that you will be experiencing one single climate throughout your days. The gods of Las Vegas air conditioning are fickle, and where you might be able to safely store raw meat in one, the next could just as easily make you feel like you’ve stumbled into a sweat lodge. That’s nothing to say of how cold the desert gets at night, either. And what if you need to go visit the hosted cabanas during the middle of the day?
The answer of what to wear during these days is “layers.” If you pack and wear easily packable light layers you can survive any conference biome you encounter.
Rookie: Pack and bring light, easy layers.
Pro: Make sure your branded gear is still visible no matter what combination of layers you’re wearing.
6. Finally, a packing list that will actually help.
I’ve done it. After years I have finally crafted the ultimate packing list to keep your technology, outer body, and inner body charged during Channel Partners. Pack a small to-go kit of all these items and you, too, can be the conference hero you deserve. (Cape not included.)
Keep your tech happy:
- Virtual business cards: put your virtual business card as a QR code, and make that QR code your lock screen on your phone. (Bonus: uou’ll get compliments on how genius this is)
- Portable chargers
Outer body care:
- Sunglasses/sunscreen (remember the cabanas!)
- Blister guards
- Tide pen
- Chapstick (It’s dry and you’re talking all day!)
Inner body soothers:
- Painkillers (such as Tylenol, Advil, etc.)
Rookie: Bring all these things.
Pro: Pre-make a tiny bag or two for you to quickly grab and carry with you throughout the day.
7. It will take longer than you think to get there, no matter where “there” is.
One of the biggest pitfalls of this conference is just how long it takes to get….anywhere. My general rule of thumb is to try and estimate how long it will take you to get from point A to point B and double it. It will still take longer, but you won’t be as stressed. Here are some of the biggest travel time black holes:
Getting to and from the hotel: If you aren’t staying at the Venetian where the conference is, it can easily take you 45 minutes to get a ride down the strip to it. Consider grabbing all those handy light layers you dutifully packed (tip 5!), throwing on your (worn-in) sneakers (tip 1!) and try walking instead. Often you’ll end up there at the same time as if you took a car, but with a chance to grab a coffee on your way (tip 4!).
Walking around the hotel: Just because you’re in the same edifice as your next meeting or session doesn’t mean you’re close. Long hallways, elevator wait times, grabbing food…it all takes much longer than you think is possible. I’ve had it take just as long to get from my room at the hotel to my morning meetings as it would to walk from the other end of the Strip from another hotel.
Rookie: Look at your “must attend” events and figure out where and when those are. Double however much time you think it will take to get to them.
Pro: Book your time with us first, and then consult your map to plan around other events, perhaps consider tripling your presumed travel times.
8. Find ThreatBlockr!
First: you should never feel afraid to talk to anyone at this conference. That’s why we’re all there! But you should especially never feel afraid to talk to us while we’re there!
Book us! These spots are filling up and we want to see you. (We really do!!)
Where: We have a table in the Avant Lounge. Come see us!
Spot us: We’ll be wearing blazers with pins with our arrow on them, and our shirts will also have the large arrow on them. We’re also the most fun, so, that should help too.
Rookie: Find ThreatBlockr and have fun at the conference!
Pro: Find ThreatBlockr and have fun at the conference!