I was at CTIA yesterday and walked the floor around some meetings that I had. It was boring. Very boring. The life has been sucked out of the trade shows and companies which are spending money are getting wise to it.
The original rules put on the exhibitors, all designed originally to inspire companies to out do one another have now become almost like a prescription for an antiseptic bath.
Earlier in the week I was at Demo. I had a different feeling. The feeling was not of kinetic energy, but of life. Opportunity. I suspect the same emotional response was at TechCrunch 50.
We all look at VON as the passing of something before its time. I say different. VON was always the harbinger of things to come in VoIP. With it's passing, and what I saw at CTIA and what I heard from others who shall remain nameless, the trade shows just don't do it for them any more. Add in the fact that ZiffDavis cancelled Digital Life, a massive consumer event due to lack of support and realize the trade show as we know it is following the printed word publishing industry down the same path.
It's time to redefine the trade show or else. If the organizers don't begin to put the money back into the shows that they made in years past, enliven the events, bring in more reasons to be there, the business public will simply stop attending.