As those of us who are preparing to depart for Comdex next week get ready for our trip to the big amusement park known as Las Vegas, its time to reflect back on why Comdex has declined as sharply as it has and to pause to remember how important and necessary an event like this has been—and needs to be again.
Comdex started as a way to get resellers and buyers of technology excited about new products and build demand for them. Because of the timing of the event, Fall Comdex was always more in line with what VARs and other resellers needed than with what buyers needed but buyers went anyway to get a sense for what was coming. As a result Spring Comdex, which was timed better for buyers (due to budget cycles), was always relatively poorly attended.
A second advantage of the fall show was that, since a large number buyers and resellers were both in the same place, a lot of meetings could occur in a very short period of time; buyers could express interest in products and resellers would know what to buy to cover this demand. It was seen as a business powerhouse and, even though it was in Las Vegas, it became a “do not miss” show for vendors, resellers, and large IT buyers. In short it was a good part of what built demand in the IT market in the 80s and early 90s.