Have you ever stepped into a room full of people and knew in your core that you were the odd one out? Imagine what it would be like to be a market research analyst on the conference floor at the North American Spine Society annual meeting, where the intimate dance between medical professional and industry personnel makes your presence noticeably awkward and almost perverse.
It's the end of day one and for the most part, physician stereotypes prevailed, but on the industry side, as usual, they came in all fantastically interesting shapes and sizes. These are after all, our clients, and their varied outlooks make our part in strategy and data provision more interesting. There was the new employee, eager to talk about anything industry related, anything at all. There was the data non-believer, skeptical of the value of data and dismissive of my professional value, filling up the afternoon lull quite nicely with a debate filled with strong emotion. Contrarily, there was the delighted client, whose business pivoted their entire strategy on the fruits of my labor. Then there was the party animal CEO, who shared inebriated hugs with me only a year ago overlooking the streets of New Orleans, but couldn't pick me from Adam in today's crowd, walking straight by me with a casual glance. There was the ever slick marketing and sales guru, who could be seen observing everything about me as I spoke, probably within his DNA by this point. There was also the cool guy, making recommendations for restaurants and bars of all kinds while subtly positioning his company in my psyche. The curious bunch was also there, asking questions that probably are going to lead to nowhere, or somewhere, who knows. The charming go-getter made her presence felt, and her experience and knowledge at her age (presumably) was nothing short of stunning. At the end of the day, these are the faces that keep the industry visceral and unpredictable, and they make my days interesting. I wonder what tomorrow holds.
P.S. San Francisco is ridiculously photogenic and incredibly intoxicating, metaphorically speaking.