Trade show bellwether: looking up

Summary:I just heard that InfoWorld/IDG, which is sponsoring the SOA Executive Forum to be held this coming Tuesday in New York, is expanding the venue's capacity to accommodate additional attendees.Good news for IDG, of course, but it also suggests our IT economy is really picking up steam.

I just heard that InfoWorld/IDG, which is sponsoring the SOA Executive Forum to be held this coming Tuesday in New York, is expanding the venue's capacity to accommodate additional attendees.

Good news for IDG, of course, but it also suggests our IT economy is really picking up steam.  I always consider trade show attendance as a reliable bellwether on how things are going. 

Take the cavernous Javits Center, for example. When things are slow, the place really gets cavernous.  I knew in the late 1990s that Unix Expo was on the wane when you could walk through the downstairs food court and get your $8 sandwich in a matter of minutes. 

At events such as PC Expo and InternetWorld at the time, the food court was packed, and I even had to sit on the floor to eat my $8 sandwich.

That all changed in 2001, as attendance at all the Javits IT events, not to mention all other trade shows, plunged with the Nasdaq. I led a session at Electronic Commerce World in late 2000 that drew about 50 attendees. My session in the fall of 2001 had two attendees.  Okay, people learned their lesson and knew to avoid my session.  But ECWorld also saw attendance drop from 4,000 to 600 between the two conferences.

Around that time, I recall attending the XML show at the Broadway Millennium, which was so sparsely attended that you could hear your voice echoing up and down the halls.  This downward trend continued for a couple of years.

Next week, I'll be at SOA Executive Forum in New York, and if hope to meet some of you if you're in town. (Don't worry, I'm not leading a session.) But it looks like we'll be waiting in line for lunch.  But it beats hearing your voice echo.

 

Topics: ZDNetLive

About

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. Joe is co-author, along with 16 leading industry leaders and thinkers, of the SOA Manifesto, which outlines the values and guiding principles of service orientation. He speaks frequently on cloud, SOA, data, and... Full Bio

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