IAEM Reprise Finds an Introspective Bill Taylor "What a difference a year makes," says Fast Company co-founder and editor William Taylor, back for a repeat keynote presentation at the annual meeting of the International Association for Exhibition Management, held in San Diego November 27 through 30. The event drew a record 2,843 attendees - an increase of 7 percent over last year - and a healthy jump in exhibitors for Expo! Expo!, with 318 compared to 236 in 1999.

E-commerce was a major theme throughout the 2000 IAEM annual meeting. But the promise of the dot-com world has been turned on its head in the past months with NASDAQ tech stocks on the skids and high-tech fortunes in ruins. Taylor, whose Fast Company is one of the hottest business magazines on the stands, says he prepared this year by listening to a tape of his speech at last year's IAEM annual in Miami. "And boy, what a young punk attitude I had," he says. So what message did the Guru of Fast deliver? "That am-I-fast-enough, unprecedented exuberance has wisely receded to the background," Taylor says, "We're more sober now."

Equating meeting and trade show attendees with "customers," Taylor says the real impact of the Internet has emerged. "It forces us to revisit the first principles of business, to get back to the basics, to the customer." And what should associations and trade show organizers do to keep moving forward and shifting with the tides? "The organizations that will thrive are not based on how big their offices are but how deep their convictions run," says Taylor. "The team (translation: the organization) with the clearest sense of purpose will win."