How many things do we continue to do out of habit that we don’t change until circumstances force us to? That questions as far as tradeshows go seems to be one that 2009 is answering. I followed what was happening at the MacWorld show in San Francisco via the Internet, and what was reported was mostly disappointment overall. A lot of the anticipated new products from Apple did not materialize, so maybe besides having his own health problems, Steve Jobs did not make his annual keynote presentation just out of habit. Why bother in these difficult times doing something just for show and to keep an unneeded function alive? Like Jobs my health is a personal issue but more important I don’t need to go to a tradeshow to learn what new products there are available, the companies that have anything of interest to me have already sent me a news releases by e-mail. The only thing I found new shown at the Moscone Center floor of MacWorld is a neat, new inexpensive software package to design, format and output words and pictures in a Acrobat .PDF documents called iPublisher from iStudio (http://www.istudiopublisher.com/index.php/home/home/). Of course thats not all that was new, beside another MacBook model, Apple upgraded their functional software suites iLife and iWork with their usual evolutionary efficiency improvements.
Now the tradeshow disappointment is now focused on the carshow in Detroit. No one expected much from the big three considering they are alive only because the government is keeping them afloat. But besides making themselves anachronisms by their blindness to a future that was predictable, GM, Ford and Chrysler are creatures of habit making cars for habits people can no longer afford.
It’s really scary because so many will suffer in this near Depression economy, those creatures of habit that don’t like change the most, but adaptation and finding better ways to accomplish the essential things we value for less may now get more attention. We are so used to working with bloated over-priced software like Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop maybe its time to try doing more with less. That’s what caught my eye with iStudio’s iPublisher software, priced at $50 it promises, “desktop publishing simplified - stunning results with a simple and intuitive user interface with everything in easy reach – less windows, less time trying to find elusive features, more design space, more possibilities. Why not give it a go?” I downloaded the trial and will give it a go. If I find it is worth the license price, I’ll pay that too and at least put a line in this blog that it works for me, if you have not tried it yourself, nothing like a free trial, drive it around the town a bit. I may also do a lot more image work with Photoshop Elements too, if for no other reason than to find out if there is really any need to have anything more costly.
But back to the question of whether tradeshows are anachronisms. I think they are and would not mind at all seeing the Photo Marketing Show or Photokina for that matter disappear. But does their functional usefulness have to disappear as well? I can easily imagine a virtual tradeshow organized and presented on the Internet (where you could even invite the public), and you could visit the booths of various companies represented in a virtual show floor, even go in a booth and have a face to face video conference including a presentation on all the new stuff being offered. For press people like myself that is something we have already gotten used to, and it works. I wonder how much less it costs both the companies and the individuals who would otherwise travel to a tradeshow, stay in a sterile hotel and eat mediocre overly priced food? A lot less I would think, but then you’d have to booze and schmooze by yourself. I won’t go any further with that thought.
Obama promised change, but a near depression economy will likely bring more possibilities for a better way to do things than the politicians Obama has to deal with, in my humble opinion.