The Most Valuable Part of Display Week
By Tom Fiske
Display Week is about more than the biggest display, the highest contrast, or even the best technical paper. One of the most valuable parts of the week are the relationships - the new ones and the re-newed ones. And the opportunities to be involved, at many levels, in one of the most exciting technology fields around.
I’ve been attending the SID conference since the early '90s. I’ve been around long enough to legitimately reminisce about the good old days (yeah - I’m one of those guys). When I joined SID, the CRT was king (but nervously looking over its shoulder at ambitious usurpers), active addressing for STN LCDs was going to preserve their relevance against the rising tide of a-Si AMLCD technology, and belt-worn pagers with reflective TN displays were one of the most popular mobile communication choices of the masses - if you even needed that sort of thing.
The conference, then popularly known simply as SID, now re-branded as Display Week (displayweek.org), has developed into the premier event for hearing about and seeing (and touching) new display technology at the Symposium and Exhibition; getting up to speed on related fields from world-class experts at the Short Courses and Seminars; learning about the latest trends at the Business, Investor’s and Market Focus Conferences.
And sure, every time I go to Display Week, I go with the expectation of learning about new technology and application and business trends. My engineer and researcher friends attend technical sessions and meet with suppliers and customers, the business folks go to make deals, the marketers have the opportunity to pitch their latest wares and check out the competition. We network. But in addition to all the technology, business and market-centric events, there are the educational opportunities and display industry support activities - all those “soft” things that are difficult to quantify for the bottom line. The Short Courses, Seminars, Forums, standards meetings and other events provide an invaluable service to the display community by making space for learning and building the infrastructure necessary for the future of the industry.
I’ve had the unique privilege to peer “under the hood” at some aspects of the Society’s business, conference formation, and display standards support activities as a volunteer over the years. There are the usual eccentric personalities to contend with and struggles to get volunteers to follow through on commitments, but all in all, I’ve had a great time, learned a lot, and made some very valuable friendships. These are some of the most exceptional and talented people I have ever spent time with. I have given and received job leads, worked with many (some at multiple companies), served booth duty with them, been their customers, written papers with them, and traded war stories with most. I appreciate those relationships formed over time. Even though I see my “SID friends” only once or twice a year, I still look forward to seeing everyone, renewing acquaintances, remembering fondly the ones who have passed on, and taking comfort with the ones who remain.
So take this as a personal recommendation from me. If you’re not at Display Week this year, start planning your strategy to get here next year. Get involved with SID at the local level, volunteer, write and submit good papers, take advantage of the learning opportunities, attend the Seminars, the Symposium and the Exhibition. And above all, make friends for a lifetime.