With only 409 shopping days left until the millennium, I was hoping to have a suitably post-modern experience at Comdex Fall 98 in Las Vegas. No fear: I got hit in the face with it the moment I walked onto the show floor.
There in the lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center was an eight-foot-tall stack of video monitors, blaring out what looked like a TV news talkathon. With Comdex barely 24 hours old, commentators for the show's own ZDTV on-site broadcast were already intently dissecting the quality of this year's show compared to last year's, trends at this show compared to last year's, and mulling over what the defections of major exhibitors from the show floor did or didn't say about Comdex, the information technology market, and trade shows in general. I had a brief epiphany about the way information itself seems to generate more information--the show begets the commentary about the show--then headed for the Microsoft Partners Pavilion, which itself had the scale (and the sound volume) to match some industries' entire.
Comdex's newSupport Pavilion was, in its own modest way, a post-modern experience, too: an exhibition and conference within an exhibition and conference aimed at the people who produce (wait for it!) exhibitions and conferences. One of its co-sponsors was CEMA, the Computer Event Marketing Association, which got a heightened profile among attendees as a result. CEMA's Face-to-Face luncheon debate on virtual trade shows also drew well. (See the stories on page 14 and 43.)
Every high-tech company has its own strategy for using meetings to deal with the industry's ongoing information explosion. In this issue's cover story, Novell's Carine Clark shows how a dedication to transparency--telling all the news to customers, no matter how grim--yields an incredibly valuable dividend of credibility and customer loyalty. (See page 28.) On the other hand, the far-flung team members of Buffalo, NY-based CTG, a computer systems consulting firm, are under so much pressure to produce for their clients, they barely get a glance at the golf course when they meet, so great is their need to absorb and relay information. (See the story on page 32.)
As you rush about from day to day, having your own end-of-the-millennium experience of the meeting and event world, please remember we're here for you--we want the time you spend with this publication to be worth your while. Are we giving you the information you need? Let us know: We're as near as your e-mail "send" key. Please drop a line to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Executive Editor Sue Hatch at email@example.com.