New Media Expo 2008 Deconstructed Part 2

Read this first post about “The Good” of New Media Expo 2008. I’ll follow this with “The Decision” in a few days.

Part 2 – The Bad

Funny enough, NME08’s definitive moment for me was a conversation with a “consultant” to Hollywood who had nothing about complaints about the event yet couldn’t spend the three hundred bucks to attend the sessions with meat. I realized during the conversation that he, and everyone else in this space, really only have three options:

  • Get in now, early, and get the perpetual early bird worm that we’re all looking for.
  • Wait for the bleeding edge types to take the first round of arrows in their backs.
  • Complain, whine, moan that things aren’t perfect yet.

Options #1 and #2 are valid. Option #3 results in little less than my wanting to scream.

In short, Tim Bourquin threw a first-class show (like always) that my business will benefit from (like always). But, things with the show weren’t perfect and we need to deconstruct them here to make next year’s event even better – if there is next year’s event.

Tim Bourquin posted this one – “5 Reasons Why I’m Thinking About Quitting The Tradeshow Business” and, well, I can’t find fault in his thinking. He is up against a lot.

Michael Geoghegan (the Jimmy Stewart of Podcasting) writes of the lack of exhibitor growth over the last few years. He’s right. His “fix” we’ll examine in the final part of this series but, he is right, the exhibitors didn’t show up. Tim explained why in his piece – is this Tim’s problem, the vendor’s problem, or the problem of the tradeshow space?

Several speakers didn’t show up or canceled at the very last minute. It amazes me how anyone in a space still fighting for legitimacy didn’t (even attempt to) “make up for that” with the level of class Tim invited them to the show. Craziness happens, but … you can do better.

Several speakers gave the same exact speech as the year (or years before). If our message is we’re growing in some exciting ways – the least you can do is offer a new story. Yes, such a tiny percentage have heard the story so far that “it’s new to most of you” but for those old timers who did show up – we’d love some new content. Being at the front of a revolution is worth a new slide deck now and then.

Tim is right, doing an event is just more complicated than it needs to be any more. We saw that reflected in companies who arrive with half the impact they did in previous years and, gosh darn it, we saw that reflected in the companies who didn’t arrive this year.

But truly frustrating to me we some of the “pioneers” in this space unwilling to cut through all this mess and actually do something. Those who showed up figured out how to play the game (I’m mean come on, Leo Laporte broadcasting live – how much did that cost Stickam?) and for that I say thanks. For those who didn’t show up I’d like to suggest that there is a thin line between strategy and laziness. Sometimes, in short, doing the right thing takes a little effort.

I heard a lot of chat about the “problem” with this event was that it tried so hard not to be the very thing it was, The Podcast Expo 2008. Funny thing is, before I got on the plane I would have disagreed strongly – but now that it’s all over, I’m beginning to agree. More on that in the next piece.

So, in short, Tim is right, it was harder to pull this thing off than it should have been but … I think maybe a few of us could have tried harder.

This little media revolution is worth it. In those options listed above, I wonder how many have picked option #3 while telling themselves over an over again that they’re embraced #1 or #2. And whereas Vegas (or any other convention town) is a pain in the butt, we have ourselves as much to blame as anyone or anything else.

Sometimes revolutions aren’t easy. Actually, I think that’s textbook definition.

Thoughts?

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