Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Why I Hate Tradeshows

1. They are ridiculously expensive, and not just in $$ terms either. Manpower, disruption, time away from customers, etc. all go to making these bashes cost way more than they deliver.

2. They are irrelevant. If the web can mean I never have to go to the shops at Christmas, why does anyone in this business still go to trade shows? Surely not to buy anything, nor even to investigate stuff. What's on the booth is still way less than is on a company website.

3. They are tedious. Things only happen when the conference sessions are out, lunch isn't on and the moon is ascending in Uranus. In other words, roughly 30 minutes in every four hours.

4. Half your staff end up in sub-meetings either with people they know or other team members, and not doing anything to foster new relationships.

5. They are all about ego and puff. I am not; business shouldn't be. (And if it necessarily is sometimes then I can think of way better things to do rather than erect some baroque booth in downtown San Jose.) There's no substance either in, or from, these things because that's not what they are designed to achieve. It's marketing, pure-and-simple.

6. And most of all - they don't generate any new business. Pretending otherwise is just plain stupid. Who, walking round the Embedded Systems Conference (where I was yesterday) suddenly thinks, "you know, what I really want for an Easter gift is a three layer, PPC-based, ATCA card, ruggedised to mil-specs"? If someone is genuinely interested, they'll find you.

Whole circus should be outlawed and the savings better spent on real business activities.

Such cynicism, and in one so young ...

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