Vaping Diaries #299: Random Thoughts on Vape Summit III

Vape Summit III logo

I’m back from Vape Summit III and pretty wiped out (in that good, euphoric way). Major thanks to Nate and Lawrence for helping me at the show. We filmed 30 Vape Summit III interviews and I have a ton of editing to do over the next few weeks. For my purposes, it was a great event that was full of excellent vaping products, wonderful people, some of my favorite models, and more. That said, it wasn’t perfect and there were a few things that attendees consistently complained about. With that in mind, let’s do one of those RPadTV binary breakdowns that I use for most of my reviews.

Old Friends (Good): It was nice catching up with vaping companies that I’ve interviewed before. It’s always good to see familiar faces and it’s very cool watching these companies grow. As with most young and booming businesses, many companies in the vaping industry evolve rapidly. Watching these companies grow and seeing the people behind them succeed is a privilege. A number of the interviews filmed at Vape Summit III were with companies that I’ve had on camera in the past, so stay tuned for some updates with old friends.

New Friends (Good): One of my favorite parts about trade shows is meeting new companies and discovering new products. Nate and I bumped into US Vapor Mods at our hotel, and checking out the company’s excellent Ceres mod was a fantastic surprise. The Ceres is a serious performer that I would have missed had I not randomly met the US Vapor Mods crew in an elevator.

I’ve had my eye on Hyon USA for several months and it was great meeting the company’s COO at Vape Summit III. Hyon has a pair of very unique atomizers coming in the near future and learning about them was excellent.

Similar to my experiences at E3, CES, and other trade shows, one of the best ways to discover new products is simply asking your friends, “What have you seen that’s cool?” Several of my industry buddies raved about Wanderlust Vapor, so I had to check out the company’s e-liquids. Honestly, I would have missed the Wanderlust booth completely and it would have been a shame, since the company had some of my favorite juices at the show. Stay tuned for interviews with these companies and several others that are new to RPadTV.

Attendance (Bad): Several exhibitors and attendees mentioned that they were expecting more people at Vape Summit III. While the show was certainly busy, I was surprised that it wasn’t packed. After all, you’re talking about a show featuring some of the best mod makers and juice makers in the business, with several products debuting at the event. Some people said that general admission ticket prices were too high for what attendees received. Others blamed the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight for making hotel costs exorbitant. Both factors sound reasonable and it was probably a combination of both that kept some people from attending Vape Summit III.

Global Exhibitors (Good): With the vaping shows I’ve been to in California, there have been a handful of international exhibitors. Vaping Summit III had — by far — the most international presence. There were mod makers and juice makers from all over the world. I was thrilled to see several exhibitors from Europe and Asia. Their attendance was a testament to vaping’s global growth and added to Vape Summit III’s diverse lineup of exhibitors.

Stuff You Can’t Buy (Bad): Vape Summit III had some of the most beautiful and amazing mods I’ve ever seen in my life. Unfortunately, the products that dazzled me the most weren’t available for direct sale. Some were available in auctions (rumor has it that my friend Vince won a box mod for a bid of…wait for it…$4,000). Other rare products were available on a raffle-to-buy basis. While I understand that these products are extremely limited and the logistics of selling them fairly at a trade show can be difficult, I loathe the raffle-to-buy system. Paying for a chance to spend a lot of money on a mod or bidding thousands of dollars on mod promotes the elitism in vaping that bugs me. While I’m happy that the modders made a lot of money, I’m generally against things that encourage elitism in vaping.

Registration Line (Bad): Nate and I arrived at Vape Summit III about an hour after the show floor opened. I expected the line to be dead at this point. Instead, it was about 100 people deep and some attendees said that they were waiting for more than an hour. Considering that day one was business-to-business and VIP attendees only, this was inexcusable. An hour later, I received an email from Vape Summit III’s PR agency, telling me to go to the “High Roller” section for expedited badge pickup; that information would have been exponentially more useful before the show started. All of these things reflect a young and inexperienced business. Like I touched on earlier, I’ve worked a lot of trade shows in the consumer electronics, videogame, and entertainment industries. Compared to those events, vaping shows have a lot to learn logistically. Aside from ECC, none of the shows I’ve been to have an understanding of how to work with the press. Please keep in mind that I’m not complaining, just observing. I’m sure that these shows will figure it out eventually, but right now they’re doing things that irritate paying customers and lose opportunities with the media. I want all of these shows to get better, for their sake and the sake of the business.

Good Times (Good, Duh): Criticisms aside, Vape Summit III was a fantastic show for RPadTV. Nate, Lawrence, and I got a ton done, having lots of fun filming. The show organizers should be commended for everything they did to make Vape Summit III a great event. Most of the exhibitors I chatted with said it was a productive show and all the general attendees I spoke with had a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone involved for providing a comfortable and enjoyable environment. Again, huge thanks to Nate and Lawrence for helping me at the show. Now onto the editing!