Candy, Pens & A Raffle

By Veda Lewis

The North Coast Mac Users Group (NCMUG) board and volunteers put together a professional-looking table for little cash. Kudos to David Wysocki for his simple, but elegant pipe clamp and black painted pipe arrangement, which held the NCMUG banners just high enough to draw in MacWorld attendees to the user group assemblage tucked in the corner of South Hall across from the Internet Café and the Apple Solutions Experts.

Drawn in, no doubt, by the words "User Group", many people stopped by to ask about how to find a group in their area. The Apple User Group guide station was just down the aisle, so we were able to send them there to access the user group database. User group volunteers provided information and tours throughout the show.

The casual observer might say that the candy bowl was critical in getting some people to stop by the booth. Passers-by happily collected the free sugar. Many took handfuls instead of the polite one or two pieces of the neatly wrapped morsels placed in a glass bow. I thought to myself, "Didn't these people eat breakfast?" After the candy bowl, their eyes then fixed on the raffle and lastly, the club brochure. It was a behavior repeated throughout the day. Macadamia nuts from the Maui Mac Users were particularly popular.

NCMUG president Lorene Romero stressed about the details, but the bases were covered and the members were in motion.

Sonoma Valley Computer Group
Although I helped with the NCMUG table, most of my attention was focused on my 'other' club. As president of the Sonoma Valley Computer Group (SVCG), I filled in to meet-and-greet and oversee our volunteers. We are a small, but energetic group who gratefully took advantage of the opportunity to be at MacWorld for a day. Kudos to our newsletter editor and club mentor Kathy Aanestad for making it happen. When I was skeptical about getting enough volunteers (before even asking), she plowed forward and the members responded. She also produced a spiffy brochure, which the club really needed.

Boot It Up
Tuesday had begun like a car starting up before you've put the key in the ignition. Without warning, there were people stopping by, many not speaking, just whisking up a free pen or asking about the software raffle. "Do I have to be present to win?" one fellow asked. "Yes." I said. His face wrinkled, "Oh, okay, I won't be here then." He took his free pen and disappeared into the crowd.

"Is this club from Sonora?" a woman inquired. "No, Sonoma, wit an "M"." I explained. "Oh, that's too far." she sighed, dropping a business card in the raffle box.

After about an hour, the pens were gone and we started seeing fellow Sonomans stop by the booth. Juanda Lee started to keep count. She was thrilled to report that nine potential members, who had not previously known about our group, planned to check out a future meeting. (One of these people came to our next meeting.) The city of Sonoma only has about 9,000 residents, so that means that we reached one-tenth percent of our most local residents. It's a small world. Our newsletters and brochures were well received.

"I used to belong to BMUG." said a tall bearded techie, "Are they here?" As most know, the Berkeley MUG crashed and burned, but has apparently continued in some form. At least that's what the fellow from the Stanford/Palo Alto group (SMUG) told me. I referred the inquiry to the SMUG booth behind us. Several San Francisco Bay Area people reported that groups they belonged to were no more. The user group paradigm is definitely changing, but that's another article.

North Coast Macintosh Users Group
NCMUG signed up new members and sold font and shareware CD's like mad. Wayne had to burn more font CD's because they sold out the first day. Julie was too sick with bronchitis to be there, but came to volunteer anyway. We sent her home.

Many Faces
Over the next several days, the picture changed, with other groups taking a spot for a day or two, while NCMUG had their table every day. There were a couple of digital video user groups. The Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group and Mac Filmmakers from Silicon Valley seemed to have a steady stream of interested people stopping by. Also showing were Diablo Valley, MacNexus, student user groups from Emory University and Boston College, and Maui Mac Users Society.

The overall crowds at the show thinned after the first day, but the flow at the User Group booth was pretty steady. A nearby table was a home base of sorts for volunteers during the show. We would gather 'off-duty' for rest, food, and conversation, while watching the email/surfing action at the hardwired iMac/wireless Airport network in the Internet Café or our volunteers continuing the meet-and-greet ritual.

By 3:30 on Friday, the last day of the Expo, the take-down workers had begun to check in. Their manager used a free table at our booth to sign up workers as they appeared. There was quite a contrast between these workers, eager to begin the big job of breaking down the big exhibits, and the exhibitors, weary from four days of talking. At 4:00, we began to pack out our boxes. The carpets were already being rolled up and chairs carted away on rolling dollies. A caravan of sorts, toting bags, boxes, and banners, we made our way street side to meet the San Francisco traffic and say goodbye. Thanks to everyone for a job very well done. Thanks to IDG for donating the booth!

It was a great experience. If you are doing a club booth in the future, be sure you bring enough pens and candy, lots of candy.


1.     Walkway near Moscone Center  
2. Outside of Moscone Center  
3. People inside auditorium  
4. People waiting for presentation  
5. People watching presentation  
6. People gathering around the exhibits  
7. Entering MacWorld  
8. Listening to a presentation  
9. People after the presentation  
10. Exhibitors from above  
11. Exhibitors from above  
12. Exhibitors from above  
13. People snatching up books  
14. Entering exhibit hall  
15. People playing with wireless macs  
16. Learning from the pros  
17. Event workshop  
18. Event workshop  
19. Event workshop  
20. Event workshop  
21. Event workshop  
22. Event workshop  
23. Wayne Till practices jokes on a captive audience  
24. Juan Caro makes his move  
25. Mug booth  
26. Mug booth  
27. Aloha - Macs of Maui  
28. Mug booth  
29. Janet Mobley and Joan O'Brien hand out
NCMUG's award winning newsletters
30. Amaya Gergoff: letting off some steam  
  Steve Jobs shows the new imac  31.
  Showing off the new imac 32.
  People using new imacs 33.
  iPhoto running on new imac 34.
  OSX running smoothly on new imac 35.
  Row of design excellence 36.
  Hey, this new imac is cool 37.
  The wireless imacs 38.
  Vendor panel, moderated by Lorene Romero 39.
  User Group University event 40.
  User Group University event 41.
  User Group University event 42.
  Powering up for the long day 43.
  Garr Reynolds at the User Group meeting 44.
  Rose Lynn: Gold Coast Mac Group in Miami
Gayle Glore: Apple User Group Advisory board member and President of Wired Women
Ronnie Roche: NCMUG board member
  Rose Lynn and Charlie Carton of GCM
Amaya Gergoff: President of the Caracas MUG
and the Latin American Regional Liaison
  Eating and Mac are a good combination 47.
  A quick lunch and thenback to the exhibit hall 48.
  Gail Glore: Apple User Group Advisory Board member
and President of Wired Women
Lorene Romero: Apple User Group Advisory Board
and President of NCMUG
Elsa Travisano: Apple User Group Advisory Board
and President of MUG One in NY
Amaya Gergoff: President of the Caracas MUG
and the Latin American Regional Liaison
Garr Reynolds: Apple User Group Program Manager
Chuck Joiner: Apple User Group Advisory Board Chairman
and President of the Hershey Apple Core in PA
  Part of the Apple Regional Liaison Team 50.
  Lorene Romero and Ronnie Roche 51.
  Daniel Roche, one of our youthful NCMUG members 52.
  Gail Glore, Lorene Romero, Garry Reynolds and Chuck Joiner 53.
  The games area. 54.
  The future of art 55.
  Digital artists at work (or play?) 56.
  What do User Group leaders do after a long expo?
Visit to the Palo Alto Apple Store
  Is that on sale??? 58.
  New iPod covers 59.
  Steve Jobs and Elsa Travisano 60.