The tech community is rife with conferences and expos. No matter if you only secured an expo-only badge and weren’t handed one of those fancy, multi-pocketed canvas conference bags: once you walk in, there will be plenty of giveaway bags, canvas totes and nylon pseudo backpacks in which to store all of that takeaway printed material, most of which you’ll never look at again. Ah, but then there’s the swag.
Every expo has its share of mints, Altoids, tootsie rolls, mini candy bars and if you’re lucky enough, Lindor chocolates, but that’s not true swag. That’s par for the course and you might want to grab some extras for one when those mid afternoon urges hit, back at the office.
You’ll find shot glasses, stress balls, tee shirts, hand sanitizers and laser points (awesome, especially if you’re a cat owner) ad nauseam, but this is our list of some of the swag from this past year on the circuit, all branded and there for the taking. And a special thanks to Paypal for the gloves (Dublin Web Summit) and laptop bag (Empire Startup Summit).
CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME OF THE AWESOME AND NOT SO AWESOME SWAG FROM 2014
Shameless solicitation: If you would like for your swag to be considered for 2015, please send on over to:
115 East 23rd Street, Suite 326
New York, New York 10010
No submissions will be returned and there is no guarantee that your swag will be selected for the 2015 version.
Digital Display Fan
This has to be one of the coolest bits of swag we’d gotten all year. Someone around the office even borrowed ours once, for reasons unbeknownst to us and maybe best to keep it that way. (It was a hot day)
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Microsoft keeps your cords organized, and especially handy when you’re charging multiple devices at once.
iPhone? iPad? Android? You’re covered. A very handy trio to have around (we keep one on us at all times), and someone is always looking for a power cord for some device or other. Here’s your chance to be a hero, if that’s your cuppa.
This was the Year of the Portable Charger. We’d never seen them at expos before and suddenly, they were everywhere and makes sense. While wifi may be available, who’s going to have the time to stop and charge the phone or tablet?
Note to self: if you’ve scored some with adapters that aren’t compatible with you phone/device, charge it with the cord it came with, and make sure to carry your own when you’re out and about: they’re USB. Is it rocket science?
Our phones do come with them, but we do see them everywhere, and in all sorts of packaging and colors. Always good to have a spare pair or five.
Water Bottles/Flash Drives
Both ubiquitous, and sure, we tend to take them, but we’re big fans of hydrating, especially during a long day of walking the floor at Javits.
Do you need a photo of yet another flash drive? Or yet another flash drive, for that matter.
You can almost always find a cool notebook at an expo, and they always come in handy, at some point or another in your life, especially when you’re having one of those odd analog moments that seem to hit from time to time.
Speaking of which, when was the last year you actually purchased a pen? Not that you don’t need or use them, but companies are always giving away pens – especially service providers, the subliminal being to encourage you to sign on the dotted line. Yes, we always help ourselves to a pen or two. Not that we need a complete collection, but someone is always asking to borrow a pen and rarely does the borrower return it. Expo-acquired pens are meant to be passed along. If fact, they should be numbered and a website designed to see how far in the world those pens actually travel. We know the drill: how do you monetize it?
Microfiber Screen Cleaners
They’re the mousepads of the Web 2.0 era and come in all shapes and sizes and logos. We do prefer the mini screen cleaners. Then again, we’re bespectacled and make sure to always carry one with us.
Keychain bottle openers
They might seem a bit tired, but what co-working space or office doesn’t have those days when the bottles of beer show up and the hunt begins for a bottle opener?
Pens – tired, but if one more person asks if they can borrow my pen (and then neglect to return it)… let’s just say that I’m always armed with at least one or two pens I’ve gotten from conferences.
These certainly came in handy at the Dublin Web Summit, and thank you, PayPal. Umbrellas and waterproof ponchos are handy on rainy days, and baseball caps (summer) and knitted caps (winter) can also come in handy, and we have quite a collection at the point. If you’re going to do yet another tee shirt, please make them all cotton and in all sizes.
SoundByte Sound Booster
iPhone only and it works! Ok, if you’re planning a rave, this is not for that, but it will let you listen to sound without having to sit there with earbuds, and if you’re recorded something and want to listen – awesome!
It really works, but it’s a personal item. The sound won’t carry in a large room, so good on a desk. Extra points for appearance on this one.
Neoprene Laptop Sleeve
Good one! Road warriors, rejoice!
Do a lot of calls on speaker phone? There you go!
Wall hanging iPhone Stand
The cooler way to recharge and great for airports where it seems like outlets are positioned in the oddest of all places.
Do you have to risk cracking yet another screen? Go to the right conference/expo and problem solved. We especially like this one because of the convenient card holder sleeve from our friends at PresentTense. Well done!
Reusable Canvas Bags
You’ll find them almost everywhere, and in all shapes and sizes. If you don’t mind advertising some conference or company or other as you walk the streets of New York, they come in handy for all sorts of things, and they’re rewashable. Many are green friendly as they are often made from recycled materials.
They’re not true backpacks, but a good way to carry swag, hands-free, what to speak of when you’re out grocery shopping. This one has a zippered pouch as well, and most companies don’t go that extra mile, so points there!
Padded Laptop Bag
Gold star, Paypal Nice one, and if you don’t have a need for one yourself, you know someone who does. If you spot one, don’t leave it behind. Think sharing economy. (Sorry, love mine, not sharing.)
Neoprene Accessory Pouch
Great for carrying smaller electronics and cords. Also available in waterproof nylon, depending on the conference/expo, but those have a diminished cool factor.
The AlleyWatch Messenger Bag
Made with the most supple leathers, understated detail, and refined simplicity that transcends across time, only 14 of these highly sought after messenger bags exist in the world.