Brian Combs

Online marketing pioneer Brian Combs talks the issues of the day.

The End of Macworld Expo?

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Power Computing team

Apple Computer announced yesterday that this January’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco will be the final one in which it is involved. And CEO Steve Jobs will not even deliver his traditional keynote at the event next month.

The east coast Macworld Expo (originally in Boston, then moved to New York City, and finally moved back to Boston) was cancelled after the 2005 event.

Paul Kent, VP and GM of Macworld Expo organizer IDG World Expo said the shows would continue:

Macworld Conference & Expo has thrived for 25 years due to the strong support of tens of thousands of people in the Mac community worldwide who use [Expo] as a way to find great products, partake in professional development training and cultivate their personal and professional networks. We are committed to serve their interests at the Moscone Center, January 4-8 2010.

Unfortunately, I don’t see Macworld Expo surviving long, perhaps not beyond the January event. I expect many exhibitors will use Apple’s announcement as a reason not to sign up for the 2010 event. Some may even back out of the 2009 event. Sure, they won’t get their booth fee back, but anyone who has managed tradeshows knows that this is far from the bulk of the expense of an event.

At best, future Macworld Expos are likely to only be a faded simulacrum of what it used to be. I’m really quite saddened by all this. I have many (mostly) fond memories of Macworld Expo, including:

Brian Combs at Macworld Expo

  • Having Macworld Magazine pick up the entire Power Computing team in limos after one of the show days at Boston 1995, and take us to City Grill for large amounts of food and wine
  • Watching Mike Rosenfelt take his rented cell phone phone out of his pocket, see it slip out of his hand, bounce of the ground, and into the Boston Harbor, and wonder how he was going to handle that on his expense report
  • Sitting in the VIP room of Mama Kins for the Power Computing party at Boston 1995, talking to Adam Engst of TidBITS, Carl de Cordova of Apple Computer, a bunch of the guys from StarNine, Bob LeVitus and more
  • Being placed at the front-and-center station of our front-and-center booth at San Francisco 1996, and watching the crowd enter like a wave when the show opened
  • Turning around at this same show and seeing actor/comedienne Sinbad talking to Mark McAuley in the middle of the booth
  • Abandoning my station to go shake Sinbad’s hand
  • Somehow finding and talking my way into Mac the Knife’s secret party at San Francisco 1996
  • Spending more than two weeks in Boston in 1996 for the setup and tear down of the booth
  • Sitting in the outside area of the Power Computing party at Boston 1996, smoking a cigar and listening to James Taylor play at the arena across Boston Harbor
  • Seeing Sean Copeland do his Klinger impersonation by taking a Power Computing tshirt and seeing just how far up the product scale he could horse-trade it
  • Being the second to last person to bungy jump at Boston 1996
  • Watching the last person to jump, Mike Rosenfelt, be lowered into the Harbor after his jump
  • Having Sinbad recognize me outside Moscone before San Francisco 1997
  • Having Sinbad later spend about two hours with me in our booth, where I was webcasting the show
  • Seeing Lyle Lovett perform at The Fillmore
  • Seeing Brian Setzer perform at The Fillmore
  • Attempting (with the help of about eight other guys) to hogtie former Longhorn defensive lineman Mark McAuley after the final expo day
  • Learning just how strong a former D-1A football player actually is
  • Watching in stunned silence as Power Computing president Joel Kocher publicly berated Apple Computer at his keynote for the Mac Volume Buyers conference before Boston 1997
  • Finding a reason not to take part in the public protest/rally he held afterwards
  • Attending San Francisco 2000 on my own accord, and actually being able to walk the show floor

I’ll miss you, Macworld!

Written by Brian Combs

December 17th, 2008 at 10:16 am

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