Increasingly trade shows are becoming irrelevant. I remember my first NAB in 1998, my then editor at Digital Media World (an Australian Magazine and Trade Show of the day) needed me to research and write about the exhibits. A year later he only required a “color piece” because “all the information” was available on the Internet.
The color piece – or pulse of the show – is something you can only get by being there. Remotely you can get a feel for it thanks to the people who actually turn up, but only if you’re there.
I started thinking because today is HD Expo day here in LA (at the Universal Hilton until 8pm) and questioning why I would go. It would be an opportunity to see the new Avid releases, but I’ve already researched them ahead of a Digital Production BuZZ interview tonight. I could be going for the keynote or speaker program, which are great for most people, but I’m above-averagely self educated on most things HD – writing a book on the subject helps – so that aspect isn’t so important.
So, why deal with the parking issues for HD Expo (a side-effect of the popularity) or the travel and accommodation costs for NAB, when I don’t have to?
According to Wikipedia:
Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.
It’s the accidental meeting with someone; the chance comment; the juxtaposition of things that sparks a thought. There’s something about the atmosphere that opens opportunities. It’s said that NAB is “where deals are made” and certainly you can look back at NAB’s past and see how many deals were announced within the few weeks following.
So, the reason I go to Trade Shows is to find something – I don’t know what it is, or who it might be, but that’s what I’m looking for.