Many industries hold annual events. These events are often times organized to bring together professionals within the given industry as a means to break down “barriers”, build relationships, improve individual businesses, and strengthen the industry. For any industry these events are often critical to the collective success of the industry. Some industries offer larger and smaller events, and regional events; but there is typically one event that will attract all the pros and experts. This type of event, if none other are attended, should be the event that any professional within any given industry should be going to. They should attend if for nothing else than to see how everyone else in their industry is doing and to insure that what they do as a profession is strong and sustainable. For the pond, water garden, and water feature industry this annual event is Pondemonium. Pondemonium has been organized and hosted by Aquascape Inc. for the past 13 years and has become the pond and water garden industry’s biggest event.
Having attended 8 of these events I have the perspective to look back on when I did not think that attending this event was necessary or would really have any actual impact on my individual business. After all I went to plenty of other local shows, caught speakers when I could, went to other pond related events, hit some pond contractor “get togethers”, and read every industry publication without having to travel half across the country. What could one more event offer me besides an additional expense to my bottom line, and time away from my bead and butter? My first Pondemonium was an eye opening experience, in some ways overwhelming. Pondemonium was a lot to process with so many smaller events, courses, lectures, training, and networking offerings within the main event. And I could not believe that so many professionals; whether installer/service providers like me, retailers, or other specialists attended this event. I had to ask myself, “Where the hell have I been?” At the end of my first Pondemonium event I left to head back to my bread and butter pretty mad. Mad at myself, mad at my business, and a little bewildered that I had not caught onto this event that had been going on for a couple of years already. I felt way behind….
I was mad for the right reasons though. It was not because the food was not good, because it was. It was not because the accommodations were uncomfortable, they were very nice. It was not because it was a poorly run event, it was run better if not much better than other industry events I had been to. I was mad because I left Pondemonium with a new plan, approach, and energy towards my business than I had ever had before. I left with so much information to make my business better that my head was spinning. Not to be dramatic but it literally changed the way I do business, which in turned changed my life (don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of struggles). I was mad because all of this was right before me and I had not taken advantage of it sooner.
For any professional in the pond, water garden, water feature, koi, or water shaping industry; I want to suggest that you come to Pondemonium and get mad. Get to the point that you cannot look in the mirror you are so mad at yourself. Mad because you have not been going to YOUR industry’s largest event. If you have never heard of Pondemonium, and you are reading this; now you have heard of Pondemonium and you have no excuse. If you are a professional and you have found a way to justify your lack of attendance, then you need to think again about that justification; or go to Pondemonium to prove to yourself that you are right about your lack of attendance and that book can close. If you say “well I don’t use the Aquascape products” you are only fooling yourself because this event is not a sales pitch and no matter how you chop it up, it is still the largest event in the industry and if you cannot draw something of benefit from such an event I’d be shocked. Many of you have other reasons that I have personally heard you express, and you know who you are, but I encourage you to just give it a try so YOU can be sure YOU are doing the best things YOU can, for YOUR business. And if you say it’s too far, well there are people coming in from the other side of the planet for this event…so stop with that! Pondemonium is officially an international event so those of you from around the globe need to start looking at being there.
So why do I take the time to write this? Well, I can tell you I do not work for Aquascape Inc. or have any stake in the Pondemonium event. I write this selfishly because I want to see our industry stay strong, grow, evolve, and become a necessary part of people’s lives, not a luxury add-on. I want what we all do for a living, for our bread and butter, to be around a long time. What we offer as an industry becomes more important as our society spends more and more time with heads down and thumbs flying while staring at a small screen. If what our industry offers is healthy, strong, and in demand I will keep getting work and I like that. If professionals of our industry come together for a few days each year and go back to our respective businesses equipped and inspired to grow, then that is good for selfish me (and you). I cannot think of any single more important thing that industry professionals of all type can do for their business each year. If you had to choose one event Pondemonium should be it. Hey, even if it is just to have some fun, laugh a bit, blow off some steam with like minded people, Pondemonium is the place to be for that too.
Check out the video link below to see a bit from Pondemonium 2012. Next years Pondemonium Event will be held August 22-25, 2013. I hope to see my old friends and many new friends. I hope that many attendees leave Pondemonium 2013 mad, mad, mad, but inspired. I hope that if you see me at Pondemonium 2013 you’ll come up and say “hi”; or even tell me how MAD you are! Let’s keep our industry strong and growing. See you in August from the 22nd through the 25th for Pondemonium 2013 baby!
All copyrights to this material is solely owned by Mike Gannon