Dvorak: Fixing Comdex
Comdex is broken. I suspect this happened because of a combination of changing ownership, lost vision, and pent-up resentment of the show that has been building for a decade. The sociology could fill a book, but the show has never been liked much, and it seemed as though people everywhere were waiting for the moment when they could take it out on someone else. This year, they did.
Let me explain what I mean by "broken." A show is broken when exhibitors find endless excuses not to exhibit. Its broken when former showgoers stay away without worrying about hurting their businesses. Its broken when all the buzz is negative.
A show like Comdex has to be both important and compelling. The industry needs a Comdex, and although a lot of one-time Comdex exhibitors will be going to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2004, there is no substitute for an industry-specific show like Comdex. How many people at CES have even heard of Cat 5?
After hearing estimates of about 50,000 to 60,000 moaning Comdex attendees, Im hoping the show will rebound. And it can.