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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 I.

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.

MacSense Booth picture
MacSense Booth
ilene  and Sinbad
Sinbad and Ilene
oobers booth
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 social fest?

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 and Ilene picture
Andy Ihnatko (Author) and Ilene
4 writers picture
Bob Levitus, Tim Holmes (Apple), Joe Holmes (MacAddict), Ted Landau (MacFixIt)
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Sal Sagoian (Apple) and John Welch (AER)
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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 PEOPLE!

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Ted Landau (MacFixIt) and Richard Ford (Pakateer)
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Ilene and Donna Sanclemente, POV and their salami at the Designers' Deli Outing
Tom Irish and Catherine Kunicki look on.
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Page design, content and updates by Ilene Hoffman, MS. Pictures © 1999 Ilene Hoffman. Permission is required for reuse.
Created Wednesday, Nov. 3, 1999, Edited: 12/14/99; Edited and moved to new site 5/27/01; 6/8/01.

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