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the last Macworld Expo

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Remember when Macworld used to get 30k people coming to it? Well we have days were over 1m people visit our stores.
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Macworld Expo has been “the tradeshow” for all things Mac for the last 25 years. there was a time when it was mandatory for anyone who had an interest in Mac to attend. companies came here to announce products, users came to learn, buyers came to do deals and the press could see all their contacts. it was all under one roof.

today it’s not the show that it once was.

the show has become filled with hodge podge of iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories and software for those devices. granted that Mac is only a third of Apple’s business it makes sense that the show would reflect this. which is why we think that Macworld should not be the name of this show. it’s time for Macworld Expo to die.

trade shows in general need to rethink why they exist because the internet has changed the way that we do business. there is less of a need to rely on “events” for product launches. companies no longer have to deathmarch to make a show date. they can release a product when it’s ready which generates its own buzz around the launch.

what has gone missing from the show? practically everything: 3D, CAD, design tools, database, word processing, page layout, business management, utility, development and all the other wacky ideas that people brought to the show. you can blame the spread sheet for the wacky. that’s where somebody uses the 1-10% of the show attendance to base how many of something they will sell. you know the thinking, “if we can sell this many of our thing we’ll be on our way to success!”

but all the vendors that we used to see at MWE have decided that it’s better to stay at home, concentrating on keeping the user base they already have then it is to find 50 new users. all of these tools haven’t gone away. no, lots of things are alive and well. like MacDraft made by MicroSpot a company that started 26 years ago on what would have been a Mac Plus. think about that… CAD running on a 4 megabyte computer with a 512×384 screen!

Macworld Expo was a catalyst that held together a community of users and vendors. it was a place to meet, learn and grow. which is hard to say about other “trade shows” and we know because we’ve been to lots of them. there are similar things. ComicCon, WonderCon, and APE come to mind right away where the line between the stage and the audience blurs together into a mass of mutual admiration. the hacker conferences bring a different kind of respect both in code and finding out that everyone you thought was more l33t is just like you. or the conferences on specific things like Photoshop, Flash or 3D where you come away smarted and inspired.

all of those things used to be found at Macworld Expo. but it’s been several years since we’ve left the show with feels of wanting to change the world with new found powers.

and that’s why it’s time for it to go. at the very least it’s name should change to reflect what it’s become.

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the Robert Hess “party list” wasn’t ever updated this year. it was taken care of by Ilene. we hope she is okay.

Adam Christianson from MacCast joins us on the talk.