Previously, I wrote about collecting freebies at The Money Show and at the Hard Assets Conference (also known as the Gold and Precious Metals Investment Conference) in San Francisco. At the Hard Assets Conference held over this past weekend (Thanksgiving Weekend), I have discovered a new trend in freebies: USB (Universal Serial Bus) flash drives. For those who are not familiar with the technology, a USB flash drive is a portable computer memory that plugs into a computer USB port and can be used like a small hard disk. USB Flash drives are also known as thumb drives.
In the past, exhibitors have used a variety of media to get their messages across. Typically, they have used glossy brochures, and CD-ROMs containing information about their companies. Now, some companies have put their annual reports, company press releases, PowerPoint slides, and other data onto USB flash drives that they give away as freebies. I was able to snag a couple of these 512MB drives from a booth at the conference. My DW also got a free MP3 player for herself. In this case, the 256MB MP3 player also contained soft copies of company literature from the sponsoring firm. Of course, the casing of each USB flash memory is printed with the company logo, so it is unmistakably a freebie. After viewing the information on the USB flash drive, the memory can be re-used for whatever purpose the user wants.
I think this is a shrewd move on the part of the exhibitors. When their company literature was contained on a CD-ROM, I might choose not to view it. However, when the information is on a USB drive, I pretty much have to at least glance at it once (even if it is only to delete the data so that I can re-use the flash memory). With a bunch of new freebies in hand, I've chalked up another successful investment conference!
On a related topic, I also purchased the latest versions of H&R Block's TaxCut and Microsoft Money, this past weekend. I am getting started on taxes early this year. TaxCut also offers a version of their software on a reusable USB flash drive. But I got the regular version of TaxCut on CD-ROM since it is $10 cheaper. Also, I think that the flash drive has a pretty small capacity.