The first Linus Tech Tips tech conival
Anticipation was high as we approached the Langley Convention Center by bus, as my girlfriend and I eagerly awaited meeting one of our role models Linus Sebastian, and the crew of personalities that helped script, film, edit and perfect the seven videos a week Linus Media Group create, not including their secondary channels.
We were off to a good start -- all of our transit was on time, we spotted one of their newer hires on the bus there, and everyone was very friendly (I made the mistake of thinking that the event started at 10AM, it actually began at 11). I had a slight nagging in the back of my head however. The day before, the Linus Tech Tips account had tweeted out the map of the floor, and revealed the fact it was going to take place in an ice hockey rink (sans ice, unfortunately). That itself is not a bad thing -- hockey rinks are decently sized for such an event. However upon having our tickets scanned and claiming our ticket tier swag, we entered into the absolutely packed arena. And when I say packed, I mean very packed -- Becky and I had a hard time getting from one end to another.
The two primary causes that I could see include the fact that there were a ridiculous number of people there for the area, and the positioning of booths. The main attractions were positioned right by the door, which included the virtual reality booth, Razer, and 16K gaming. The floor also included a case toss (unfortunately not very well shielded), some carnival-esque inflatable games, some hardware maker booths, some other miscellaneous booths, and the main stage (we'll get to the stage in a minute). In fairness, the booths were all pretty spot on for the kind of audience Linus attracts, and the choices were very well done. The case toss had a major issue, however -- it was cordoned off with just ropes, with metal railings at the end to prevent too much destruction. Many cases ended up outside the area when thrown, whether slipping underneath the ropes or going over the top. Paranoia was high on my part on the topic of getting hit.
The highlight of the event was meeting Linus himself, face to face. Throughout the event whenever his feet touched the floor a circle of fans would appear around him, and if he moved you'd better watch out the for line of people behind him. However he handled it very well, and so did the cluster of fans -- nobody was pushy or overly aggressive, and he took his time with each person. We asked if he could sign both my girlfriend's laptop with the dbrand dragon skin (which he liked so much on the laptop he wanted to have it) and a hat, which he happily did. We also nabbed a selfie, which was awesome of him.
Unfortunately because of the seemingly lack of volunteers, most of the LMG (Linus Media Group) employees were running the marquee booths. This meant that they had less time to roam the show floor and meet fans, and while I appreciate the enthusiasm they had for their specific booth, it would have been nice to be able to say hi to more of them. I managed to meet Colton, Linus, Luke and Yvonne, and those meetings were somewhat spontaneous. The other members of the team were usually busy, either filming or helping run booths (or in the case of the sales team, making sure reveals went as they should have).
In a lighter note, the stage shows were great. There were some audio issues, and they did acknowledge them. The energy level was great, and the performances were great, with the unboxing of the Razer toasters, AMD Vega graphics card and a whole computer powered by AMD Threadripper and Vega. It was a bit unfortunate there was no barrier at the edge of the stage, which resulted in a lot of crowding as people tried to get closer for the best view (this was probably advantageous when Linus dropped a 4K Razer Blade laptop though). The raffle was a bit lackluster on our end as we didn't win anything, but the winners who did came away with an absolutely amazing set of prizes, ranging from headphones to a Titan Xp.
By the end of the day, we were both exhausted. We had a bit of a bad taste in our mouths as our expectations had been higher, or at the very least different. I wouldn't say disappointed -- that isn't the right word. It was a mix of eagerness for the next year and longing to work at LMG and help plan (or just work). We're both glad we went to the first one, so we could get a taste of what the next year could be like and also so we could say we were there.