I got to the Expo Center today. The stands were being built by contractors who had already arrived in Paris by the time of the attacks. Our exhibit contractors had arrived from Germany and the US and our stand is beginning to look fantastic. It was exciting to see the graphics we had created at the office, actually being applied to the walls of the stand and looking good.
This morning I spent time focusing on things like tuning up the social media posts we have planned to go out during the conference week. You can pre-schedule Tweets and Facebook posts and so on, but if something happens in the meantime that makes them false, you look pretty dumb when they go out.
The people in Paris whose job it is to take care of tourists and visitors while at the same time worried about their own family – these people have been professional and kind to a fault. Last night when all the horror happened, taxi drivers turned off their meters and drove people home for free.
Getting meals and taking care of other basic needs has been odd. The restrooms at the expo center were closed for most of the day today, perhaps because staff stayed home… One of the event organizers warned me: “Go to the loo before you come to the expo center.” In contrast to what the center will look like in three short days, with espresso and pastry flowing out of many exhibit stands (OK: pastry doesn’t “flow”) . . . today the cafes in the expo center were closed.
I said in my earlier blog post that my entries from Paris would be in “classic web log” format, without much attention paid to good writing. This post is obviously no exception – instead of finding a good tagline, I will just say “Bon soirée.”