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In my last post I shared how my annual tour of the tour of the ESC show floor inspired me to ask the community their preferences on trade show formats. Since I'm not certain how persistent these free survey sites are, allow me to replicate a snapshot of the survey results from the official results page below:
Question: Which type of event do you prefer in general?Booth-centric events (like ESC or DAC) -- 44%, 8 responses
Paper-centric events (like DVCon or CDNLive) -- 33%, 6 responses
Neither - physical shows are obsolete in the Internet age -- 5.6%, 1 response
Other -- 16.7%, 3 responses, which were:-- I only attend boat, motorcycle and car trade shows :-)-- Sponsored booze-related events-- A balance of both-Booth centric (marketing oriented) and paper centric (R&D oriented)* There is no clear preference for one category above all the others (I'll reveal my personal bias shortly), but instead there is a clear preference for physical events of any kind. For the purposes of this exercise, I classify boat&car shows as being booth-centric, and credit "booze-related" to both booth & paper-centric formats. (Taking a step back, there seems to be a net preference for booth-centric shows, but given the relatively small sample size you have to take such a conslusion with a grain of salt.)
* Conversely, it's a surprise to see that the "shows are obsolete in the Internet age" choice drew only one vote. Given all the activity in EDA-related forums -- whether it's the Specman Yahoo Group, Cadence's own Functional Verification Community, or new EDA meeting places like Xuropa, I would have imagined at least 2-3 votes for this.* My preference [drum roll, please]: I'm a big fan of "paper-centric" events, for two reasons that blogger Brian Bailey cited in an article he wrote about CDNLive San Jose '08 that have stuck in the back of my head since then:
-- Total cost to put on such a [paper-centric] show was significantly less than what [Cadence] usually had spent on DAC.
-- The quality of the people who attended was so much higher than the leads [Cadence] got from DAC
I wasn't the Cadence person Brian was paraphrasing, but it easily could have been me as I continually come away from CDNLives and DVCons with the same conclusions.
Now before I get a bunch of hate mail from DAC lovers, allow me to state that I have enjoyed supporting the annual DAC -- either as a customer or a vendor -- for many years. It's just been my experience that for any booth-centric show there is *always* more noise than signal than you get with the other formats. Consequently, the value of the booth-centric forum is inherently lower no matter how hard you work to create an environment where the quality of content and conversation is as high as a paper-centric show.
But wait -- isn't Cadence coming back to DAC in 2009? In a word, "Yes"! While there will be some show floor presence, I hope to see you all at the "User Track and Management Day" this coming July ...
Joe Hupcey III
A nice start Joe - We need to do this more regularly on a larger scale to get some meaningful results.
One thing, you need an additional question as your "trade shows are obsolete" question is too "binary". There are very few people that I have spoken to that say that they're obsolete (me included). However, many say that they need to evolve to accomodate things like modern information needs and the globally distributed nature of industries (espeically ours).
The missing question should be something along the lines of: "Would you prefer smaller more focused trade shows with an online component to facilitiate year-round access to people, information and technology?" (Of course, Xuropa would be the online component for electronic design ;)
Having said that, DATE is a pretty focused show with a balance between papers and booths (historically) but I'm not hearing good things wrt support.