ITC 2019: Where Insurance, Technology, and Blinding Panic Intersect

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The energy at ITC in Las Vegas is tangible, a living thing.  Even the line for registration is animated.  Cards are exchanged, meetings arranged, demos scheduled.  To be there is to understand that these 3 days of controlled chaos will produce some special new alliances.

The event opens and there is this instant feeling that’s akin to combining a rave with a 7000-person game of musical chairs.  Optimity hooked me up with a raw juice, Munich Re ensures that I’m mainlining caffeine the entire time.  I’m feeling good.

Scheduled networking commences.  We both arrive breathless at our little pub table.  “Hi, I’m Ken. Nice meeting you.  This is what I do. Thanks for explaining what you do. Wow, that is super-interesting, what a brilliant concept” -OR- “wait, could you explain to me again how your company uses analytics derived from snail mating patterns to predict commercial risk?”  Crap, our 15 minutes is up and someone’s waiting for table 76.  I have 8 seconds to get to the 3rd floor of the main conference area, which Google Maps tells me is 6.2 miles away even though it’s in the same building.

Afternoon comes. I hit a wall. Back to Munich Re for a jolt, and I notice that I’m losing my voice.  FOMO kicks in.  Am I in the right spot, talking to the right people?  Those two over there look like they’re getting stuff DONE, how can I graciously cut in without being a creeper?

The evening approaches, and I can see the day’s Finish Line in the distance.  Panic sets in, like when you knew “Stairway to Heaven” was next up at the Middle School Dance.  I see that executive I’ve been eyeballing all day, the one I email once a quarter with some little nugget of wisdom.  He barely glances in my direction.  That same person has been talking to him for, like, an hour.  Move! You already shook his hand goodbye, then came back with another thought.  You’re the WORST.  I’m about to pull the fire alarm when my chance finally comes.  I move in for the kill.  He’s looking right at me.  He smiles and WAVES?!? …to the woman behind me.

Know what, though?  I met like a thousand other people today, and they were all awesome.  I realize that everyone around me is experiencing the same thing, and that coming away from events like these with a few great new connections is a victory.  Next year I’ll nail down that executive – in the meantime, I’m off to start carb-loading for my October event in Boston. Happy networking!

– Ken Jordan

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