Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Macworld Boston Day 1 Summary

MacworldI remember my first Macworld Boston. I was in college and worked part-time at Liberty Mutual's Portsmouth, NH location. It was a big deal back then, especially since Liberty was standardized on the Mac platform, and they actually provided days off and buses to get there for pretty much anyone who wanted to go. It was mostly people in the IT department that went, but it was still a significant number of people who made the trek. Back then it was huge. I don't remember the keynote being that big a deal, I mean keynotes by Scully and Amelio were hardly the Steve-notes of today. I do remember the launch of the Newton, which had it's own venue in Symphony Hall, and I remember Macworld Boston being so big that it filled both the World Trade Center and the Bayside Expo and sometimes additional buildings on top of THAT. Attendees had to take buses between the two major halls and we always started at the WTC first, as it had the biggest booths, the biggest vendors and the best stuff. It was easy to spend at least an entire day seeing everything.

Flash forward to Macworld Boston 2004. My how things have changed. I am well aware of the tift between Apple and Macworld's parent, IDG. Apple said that under no circumstance would they follow Macworld from New York to Boston. I think that really, this gave them an out from what had become the "Macworld" ship schedule that they were stuck with. Apple was clearly tired of having to come up with "one more thing" two times a year, on a schedule dictated by someone else. This spat gave them a good excuse to bail out, though the bad blood has certainly changed things.

Let me first say that the new Exposition center is beautiful. Let me also say that it currently sits in the middle of an uncompleted wasteland of confusion. Where do you park? Who knows? Signs, both for Macworld and for things like parking, were pretty scarce. When we entered the exhibits hall, the first thing that stuck me was the number of exhibits. Now, I wasn't expecting anything similar to the size of shows past, but this was tiny. What made it worse was that the layout and flow was terrible. They only used half of the hall they were in, and everyone felt crowded. Places that were popular pretty much blocked traffic flow completely. The second thing I noticed in the first pass around was that there was a clear lack of applications on display, of any kind. What I mostly saw was hardware, gadgets and the odd software package. It seemed that the only software vendor of any size, after Quark, was Software MacKiev. That says something I think.

The uber-booths of a lot of shows were also missing. At the big shows, a lot of the bigger vendors have theaters where you can sit and watch their demos. There was maybe one or two of these, tops. This was a Macworld on a much smaller scale than previous ones, in pretty much all aspects.

I attended because, well I'm a diehard Mac guy, and also because I wanted to see if it might be worth getting a booth next year. A booth is a huge expense, but with a lot of traffic and sales, it can pay for itself. What is needed for both of those, though, is a lot more exhibitors, which means a lot more people browsing in general. As it stands now, unless they give big discounts to exhibitors to increase attendance, it's not going to happen. I really, really want to see a successful Macworld again. I WANT to see Advenio there with a booth. With that in mind I offer some suggestions for next year's Macworld:

1. Spread things out, use more of the space you have. Come on, things were WAY too crowded and no one was fooled, because we all knew how small the space was.

2. Add an showcase for indie developers. Give them a large section, and make the booths reasonably cheap. We'd go in a second. I think this would be an incredibly interesting area to visit, as Indie Mac developers make up a significant portion of the software market.

3. Get more software there, period. There was hardly anything new to see or kick the tires of. Not even the major players showed up, like Adobe and Microsoft. I didn't see any pre-release software either, as was common in past shows.

4. Where were the games???? I didn't see a single major Mac game in sight. This is a huge omission.

5. Essentially it takes money to make money. Give more exhibitors more incentive to be there, then raise the prices later. Macworld is back to square one, so you need to build from here. With more exhibits, come more reasons to attend, and more money.

I think the show can be summed up best in the words of a guy standing next to me at one point, while talking on his cell phone: "We came here at 12:00. We finished at 1:30. That was about it. We're leaving in a few minutes."


Post a Comment

<< Home