Pentandra is heading to the National Genealogical Society conference this year! I can’t believe that the long-awaited day is approaching so fast. We are so excited. While we have attended the last two years as NGS members brainstorming our business idea, this will be the first conference of any kind that we will have attended as a company. We are looking forward to sharing with everyone what we have been working on and what we’re trying to do.
For the last couple of months, we have been designing our booth. During that process, a question that kept coming up was, “What do we want people to experience when they see and visit our booth?” People set up booths at trade shows to sell software, books, hotel stays, computers or mobile devices, etc. Why are we setting up a booth?
We realized that what mattered to us most was to have a booth that invites people in for open discussion. There are many booths at trade shows that feel closed off, giving the feeling of a separation between a company and its customers. We feel that our customers are part of our company, partners really, and we want them to feel welcome to come in and make themselves at home. We’re just ordinary people trying to do amazing things. We want others to be a part of it.
We are also a software company, but we feel that is only part of what we are trying to offer. Community is very important to us. Part of the reason we are open is so that we can become an active, contributing member of the genealogy community—we don’t want to be labeled merely as a “vendor.” We’re starting small, but we hope that a community of developers, genealogists, marketers, and enthusiasts will want to join us in an awesome project with ambitious goals.
So we had the idea to set up chairs in the form of a pentagon, an important shape in our logo and in our description of the research process. We found some really fun bright-red corner chairs that look a bit like the arrow tips of our logo. People can come and talk in comfort. We will have a bookcase of interesting books about research and other topics that people can peruse at their pleasure. We want our booth to be a place where people can come for inspiration, rejuvenation, or to just take a break from their research labors. We’re also planning on hosting some small group discussions during the conference.
We hope that people will want to get involved, and that our out-of-the-box booth ideas won’t be a complete flop. Our success depends on people. We can’t do what we hope to accomplish without people willing to come and share their ideas.