Thanksgiving in the United States is just days away as I
write this. We are in the final stages of a unique Fall that brought a
mix of early cold weather and spectacular cacophony of colorful leaves.
This Fall has been especially busy on the travel front as well. Our staff
has been to Atlanta, Memphis, Toronto (twice), Nashville, Milan, Seattle
and Las Vegas, all since September 10. While each event has had its own
distinct style, there were some general show themes that emerged. Specifically:
1. People go to trade shows because they have the need for one another.
They need a read on the industry, on new products and new people that
can only be gained through live interaction. Every survey I have ever
seen about trade show attendance cites as one of the most important benefits
“networking opportunities.” This is why shows may change but they won’t
2. See me, feel me, touch me? Not so much. More booths are showing
video clips, hooking up via the Internet or offering pre- and post-show
visits to their plants. This type of hybrid show-and-tell is no longer
seen as a disadvantage.
3. Whether homey or high velocity, each show has its own rhythm. Every
group is unique, yet all of these groups look forward to their annual
4. There’s always something new. I saw my personal favorite at
one convention where the exhibitors literally carried the web on their
backs in the form of embroidered QR tags.
5. Travel is torturous. Since I am on the road a fair bit, I tend
to ask the same question to the many airline employees I meet. I ask it
because I have a hard time believing that the people in charge of the
airlines would actually mandate the type of customer experience it has
become if they truly knew how awful it was. My question is always the
same: “Do you think the guy who runs this airline ever actual flies it?”
Here are just a few of the answers I’ve received:
“Not in a million years” … “Maybe. But only on great weather days in first
class with three assistants on non-stops without luggage … Then he can
go on TV and say what a great experience it was” … “No earthly way” …
“I don’t know if he does or not, but I do know he doesn’t listen to us”
(from a flight attendant)… “He says he does but no one’s ever seen him”
… “No, he wouldn’t fit in these seats.”
Unless you are in the cash-for-gold business, 2011 has probably
been a tough year. But here we are in November and you are still here.
That is a victory especially in these tough times. In many and perverse
ways, the economic conditions have made the survivors stronger and better
at what they do. So it’s against that backdrop that I’d like to share
some of the things for which
I am thankful:
1. For God. Not much I can say here that won’t sound woefully
2. For my family. Especially my Mom who has had a very tough year
and is the strongest and most tenacious person I know.
3. For my office family. You know them too. They are wonderful
people and it’s an honor to work with them and to watch them grow professionally
and personally. They help me grow every day.
4. For our customers. We appreciate you so. Our goal is to do
the best job for you possible in the world.
5. For our readers. In the end, everything we do is for our readers.
It is an honor to work for you.
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