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Blog: Selling our Wares

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Mike Cohen
Blog: Selling our Wares
on Apr 24, 2011 at 2:21:18 am

For my regular readers, yes this is another writeup about our bi-annual trip to a major medical convention.

For the new readers, this is for you.

Cine-Med is a media production company. I was originally hired to dupe VHS tapes and carry the gear on shoots. Once an editing position opened up, I was ready to go. Once I learned the Ampex online bay and the finer points of horizontal and subcarrier phase adjustments, I was, finally, a professional video editor. ACE 25 was followed by SpeedRazor, then Media 100i and finally Premiere Pro 1.0 up to CS5 and counting. But technology is sure to change.

As I have progressed in my career, I have become a project manager, part-time sales and marketing guy and specialized medical education facilitator. I get to work with some of the top surgeons and nurses in the country to create compelling multimedia training products.

Unlike many production companies, in addition to making stuff for others, we also sell our videos (not the ones we get paid to make, but the ones we make to get paid!).

A great opportunity for selling, or at least publicizing our videos, books and educational courses are at meetings and conventions. Think of NAB but for doctors. There is a convention for every aspect of society - medicine has some pretty big meetings.

This means wake up shortly after bedtime, often on a weekend, head to the airport, take off your belt and shoes and jacket, reverse the process, purchase pre-packaged sandwiches and bottled drinks and find a seat near the wings.

Taxi to the hotel - check in - unpack - put on my monkey suit and keep going.

We setup our booth, display DVD's, catalogs, books and brochures, and hope to collect some good leads over 4 fun-filled days.

Over the past year, as millions of people worldwide have purchased the Apple iPad, we have observed that doctors represent a decent sized chunk of the purchases. Hospitals are gradually adopting this tablet for the possible benefit of patient care. I met two doctors at this meeting who could view patient records, x-rays and lab results over their 3g or 4g connection many states away from their hometowns.

Seeing as we are a medical publisher, we too are interested in the possibilities of this device. At this meeting, we loaded PDF's of our books and podcasts of our more popular videos onto the iPad, and used it as a handy sales tool to give one-on-one demos to customers. Much easier than a laptop or a kiosk, as we had used previously.

We're now in the process of converting our current inventory of titles to ePub - not exactly straightforward for fancy layouts - easy for text-only books. Sure, you can export to ePub from inDesign CS3 to CS5 - but only if you have done the layout with ePub in mind. If not, you have some conversion to do. Although the ePub format is actually very conducive to making adjustments easily. An ePub file is simply a ZIP file, containing xhtml files, css files and images. If you know what you are looking at, and/or employ a web design guru as we do, you are in business.

This meeting was in the most-visited city in Texas, the town we are all trained to "remember" - San Antonio.

Our hotel, the Palacio del Rio, on the river and conveniently located minutes from the convention center, was built at the same time as the mid-60's World's Fair.

The RiverWalk, while a well-known tourist attraction, is also great at attracting mediocre restaurants for the throngs of people who descend nightly. However we did find one good restaurant on the river, Boudro's, and a couple of good restaurants OFF the river elsewhere in town.

And what would a trip here be without a visit to the famous Alamo. Normally, there is not a lot of free time. Exhibit hours are 8:30am-4pm. From 4pm to 5pm you rest your feet, then hit a pub before dinner, eat dinner and crash for the night. It is rare to have time to see any tourist attractions. Exceptions were seeing the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and the Coit Tower in San Francisco.

The Alamo story is fascinating, and not what I remember from high school. It is likely that the high school version is sanitized for young readers. I won't give anything away - you'll have to visit yourselves. Just don't ask to see the basement.

Next day home again, and back to numerous exciting projects in the works.

This blog, sequentially, should be read before post 149, if you want to get the whole Mike Cohen experience.

As always, thanks for reading.

Mike Cohen

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