(Graphics by Katherin Kunicki)
<-- Judy's report and More Pictures Here -->>
Adam Engst, TidBITS
Macworld Expo New York 99 just didn't seem as exciting to
me as last year. Maybe it was because I felt like a water
logged hot air balloon as the show got under way, (I'll
spare you the gory details), or maybe it was just the
intense hot weather we'd had on the east coast the previous
week. It could even have been that I didn't start my Expo
with the Town Meeting, like last year. I found the barely
mentioned Town Meeting exciting and informative in 1998; but
didn't manage to get there in 1999. I was more focused on
making sure my presentation was up to par, finessing the
party site, and making sure folks knew where they had to be
when. So, this show was my "social secretary" show -- remind
me not to do *that* again. :-)
Zipping in and out of press appointments which gleaned
little information, yet highlighted many "yet to ship"
products, I managed to spend only about 4 hours on the show
floor. Thankfully the impressions I got of the crowd on the
show floor were more enthusiastic, lively, and involved than
The crowds were more dense this year; this is a good
thing. The pomp and circumstance exhibited by vendors was
low on the entertainment scale, with the possible exception
of the Global Village "Village People." I was disappointed
by the number of vendors who had small booths or joined in
the pavillions. I suppose this accounts for the higher
number of booths at the show, but less real estate used on
the show floor.
Pavillions are multiplying each year. I'm not a pavilion
fan -- they don't have enough room at the little cubicles
for more than one person to stand and see product. You
constantly bump into people viewing product at the next
cubicle, and if the vendor is boxed in, you have to listen
to 3 presentations at once. They do provide cost-efficient
booths for companies though. Size doesn't really matter though, does it? Ah... but color, that matters! The vendors did provide a peacock array of bondi blue, tangerine, lime, and more.
Sinbad and Ilene
Toobers and Zots Booth
The parties and events have changed in the past two years
as well. Vendors have moved away from large
fill-your-belly-with-booze-and-gluttonous materials to
smaller, more intimate parties for preferred customers and
sometimes the press. Beer and wine were on the house, and
the food was generally well presented, but far from the
sushi extravaganza we remember from Claris. Remember the
rich panoply of artery-clogging treats offered all over the
Science Museum by Ingram and partners at the Boston shows?
Won't find that in New York!
While the San Francisco show still offers some of the
larger parties, its painfully obvious that New York does not
foster the community of spirit in the same way. Three days
for the show impedes party planning (companies rarely use
Friday nights after the show), as does the financial
requirements of hosting a function. As a result a number of
smaller user gatherings have sprung up in recent years. I
hosted a luncheon at the beginning of the show, and a dinner
at the end -- mind you these were self-pay, as I'm no
software selling deep pocketed soul. I heard the Netters Dinner was a success, but occurred at the same time as 2
other press events, so I had to miss it. Jax's Toast Party,
always the night before the Expo, was pitifully attended,
considering almost anyone could attend. How could anyone
want to miss this inventive bring your own bread and jam
Apple's Developer Party was a grand success, but they
neglected to serve food this year. It was in the same
location as last year, and varied little, although the mad
scientist strip tease was omitted. I've not known Apple to
repeat its party plans like this before. Acquiring
invitations to the Developer Party was akin to seeking
buried treasure on a huge desert island. Actually Apple
hosted at least four parties, and snubbed or neglected most
of the press, which everyone thought was odd.
The award for the nicest "DO" goes to Intuit for their
buffet and driving range product announcement (Quicken
2000). Parties requiring travel offsite tend to turn off a lot
of folks, so few members of the Press attended. Those of us that went and had a great time. Excellent food, and a few lessons from a Golf Pro while driving balls on a pier range was a lot of fun.
I'd have to say Ingram's "Ingram goes to Mars" multiple
company soiree came in second. The site was great, the food
tasty, and the attendees interesting. Unfortunately, it
was a short event, I don't understand why it wasn't made a
whole evening's entertainment. There were many MIS and press
people there who probably were very open to a little product
pushing in the wings; but none was to be had.
Andy Ihnatko (Author) and Ilene
Bob Levitus, Tim Holmes (Apple), Joe Holmes
(MacAddict), Ted Landau (MacFixIt)
Sal Sagoian (Apple) and John Welch
Bob Levitus, MacCentral and book author.
The award for the most packed party goes to "The Knife."
Either someone printed too many invitations, or the
organizer was not informed of the size of the potential
crowd. Ever try to fit 300 people into your living room?
They did! I suppose Mac Publishing, LLC was the responsible
organizer, as I know the sponsor (MindVision) was as surprised as
everyone else at the location. When the party jolted us into
sobriety by closing early, the sponsor was livid, the users
dismayed, and those who refused to quit scurried across the
street to dance or drink the rest of the night away. This was the highlight of my show - slouched around a table for 2 hours discussing network protocols, and the state of many arts with Richard Ford (formerly of Apple, now with Packateer), Mark Jeffries (Sr. Systems Specialist, Genentech, Inc.), and Chad Coleman (Computer Support Analyst at NTSC).
For the next Macworld Expo, as the times change, and big
events become extinct, while the Mac's popularity rises,
keep those ears and eyes peeled for the smaller more
intimate events. That's where you will do your best
networking, and meet the most interesting people. I know
that is the reason I go to Macworld Expo -- THE
Ted Landau (MacFixIt) and Richard Ford (Pakateer)
Ilene and Donna Sanclemente, POV and their salami at the Designers' Deli Outing
Tom Irish and Catherine Kunicki look on.
More Pictures Here -->
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Created Wednesday, Nov. 3, 1999, Edited: 12/14/99; Edited and moved to new site 5/27/01; 6/8/01.