There was a time when major technology shows were a big deal. Even when I started Infinity Softworks 11 years ago there was always buzz in the developer community when these big shows came up. If anyone is actually paying attention, the Computer Electronics Show (CES) is going on this week.
A big deal? For some, maybe, but not for most. What is accomplished there? Maybe some deal making. But the shows are so crazy that meeting anyone there is impossible — you better have the meetings set up in advance. No, it seems like a lot of puffery to me, a place for technologists to go play one-up-manship with each other and waste lots of money.
It seems that the Internet has changed so much of this. The trade show may become a thing of the past as we can now congregate online for a lot less. On top of that, the web has made getting the word out a lot easier. Companies no longer have to wait for these shows to make major announcements. Because of the cost-effective nature of PR distribution and the 24 hour x 365 day news cycle, positive PR travels fast and well. Big trade shows and the buzz they bring are not as required.
Don’t get me wrong. I think there are plenty of shows that make sense. I went to Inman News’ Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco last year. What a great event for getting people together, helping them become better Realtors, and giving people a venue to focus specifically on market issues and not the next sale.
But big technology shows that only serve as giant sales venues? Maybe not so much.
Of course, I say this as I am thinking about my next laptop and wondering what Steve Jobs will announce for Apple at MacWorld on the 15th…