The Industry Summit show held in Las Vegas at the Paris Hotel and Conference Center this month was my first introduction to the world of automotive, especially the specialized segment of F&I and all the various elements that make up this area. It was a huge learning experience for me.
My background is in trade publishing, so I've attended a lot of shows over the years, for a wide variety of industries. And I've found that you can get a good feel for the tone of an industry in the people who attend the shows, and how accepting they are of a new person coming into their realm. I have to say, given that method of comparison, that automotive is one of the nicest industries I've been in.
This probably isn't anything new to most of you, my readers, but this is a very friendly industry, and I was gratified at how many people took the time to answer my, admittedly still very basic, questions. Walking up to strangers at lunch led to conversations about segments of the industry ranging from international expansion to recycling auto parts, and everything in between. I got a great general education this way, and I thank all of you who took the time to chat with me.
I also learned a great deal from the panels. We've covered the show partially here already, and in the next few issues you'll see our final articles offering more in-depth looks at some of the sessions, but as a whole, I was impressed by the level of knowledge and the willingness to share it. I personally filled up two full notebooks with information; given how packed the show schedule was, I couldn't even get to everything, so that says a lot about how much pure, relevant and interesting content there was to choose from.
There is still a long way to go for me to get up to that level of knowledge, but I assure you, I'm absorbing as much information as quickly as I can. It doesn't hurt that this is an industry everyone, me included, can relate to since almost everyone has, at some point, bought a car, and will purchase more in the future. So learning the ins and outs is both challenging and rewarding on a lot of levels. Industry Summit gave me a good chance to immerse myself in your world, and I'll be looking forward to meeting everyone I didn't get to this time around, and learning about your specific jobs, your products and your businesses.