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Large Tradeshows are Dying…Is Social Media to Blame?

December 19, 2008

Robert Scoble has a GREAT post today about the death of the tradeshow.

It’s always been believed that when marketers are looking for ways to cut costs in lean times, trade shows naturally draw their attention. They’re expensive propositions that carry long-term commitments and relatively small audiences. Instead, many tech companies, such as Apple, are opting to hold their own product showcases and use the power of social media to broadcast their message to a much wider audience for much less money. As contracts begin to run out in 2009 and 2010, trade shows such as CES International might rapidly shrink.

From Scobleizer:

I’ve noticed a trend lately (actually I noticed it back when I worked at Microsoft and my bosses kept refusing to buy booths at conferences, saying they didn’t return the ROI, but that trend has grown and grown big time). Big companies are throwing their own parties to get news out inside of going to big trade shows. Last night I was at Facebook’s party, where they told everyone they had just passed 140 million users. That deserves a blog post of its own, but we’re here to discuss the trade show crunch.

Earlier in the year we attended a day-long event where Electronic Arts introduced a bunch of bloggers to Dead Space, here’s our video with the producer of that.

I’ve watched as Apple invites a few hundred bloggers and journalists into a conference room at its headquarters in Cupertino and gets the news out to the world without having to go to an expensive venue.

What changed?

Blogging and online video.

Big companies are looking at the millions of dollars they spend for booths (not to mention bringing employees to) and are realizing that it’s just not getting the return on investment that they should get.

My sponsor, Seagate, told me they are reducing their spend this year at CES. AMD and Delphi are doing the same thing and I’m hearing about many other companies who will either stop going, or reduce the size of their booths, either this year, if they could, or in 2010 (contracts make it tough to shrink booths as fast as companies might want).

The news is all over the place about Apple’s decision to stop going to MacWorld. It’s being discussed on FriendFeed big time. This post’s thesis got 40+ comments in about an hour.

To me this makes total sense. Why? 44,000 people go to MacWorld. Hell, a lot more people watch Engadget report from that much cheaper conference room.

And Apple has the personal touch already thanks to their stores. They don’t need to meet with consumers anymore in expensive trade show booths that, simply, aren’t a very good experience anyway.

So, what should we expect over the next year? A lot of bad news for big trade shows.

What’s killing them? The Internet. You can launch a product live now from a living room. Thanks to Stickam, Ustream, Qik, Kyte, YouTube, Flixwagon, Viddler, Vimeo, SmugMug, etc and blogs.

Just give the people on Facebook something to pass along and talk about and your product is out there, big time.

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Caylee Anthony Prayer Vigil Scheduled for Sunday Night

November 24, 2008

George and Cindy Anthony will be hosting a local vigil along with Kid Finders Network, Helping Heroes and D&A Investigations.

I know that people bash the Anthony family a lot but I know that they must be going through some very difficult times right now.

The question remains: Do they actually know what happened? Some say yes, others say no. This has been debated on this site, and many others, over the past few months. I wish that I knew the answer.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Caylee Marie Anthony is still missing, and there’s another prayer vigil scheduled for Sunday night to raise awareness of her plight and that of all missing children.

Eastside Baptist Church, 1900 Conway Gardens Rd. in Orlando will host the vigil at 8 p.m. Several similar vigils are tentatively planned around the country. See www.helpfindcaylee.com.

Kenny Chesney, George Strait Win Big at 2008 CMA Awards

November 13, 2008

It was a great night of music and awards last night on ABC. Country music once again brought together the top superstars (minus one of the greatest, Toby Keith) for the annual CMA Awards. Awards were handed out in all categories all night but to complete the evening, Kenny Chesney won his fourth entertainer of the year award, a feat which ties Garth Brooks for most Entertainer of the Year awards.

George Strait took home both single and album of the year, Sugarland won for Best Duo, Rascal Flatts took home the honor for Best Group and Lady Antebellum was named the Best New Artist.

Near the close of the show, Kenny Chesney did a great live version of “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” with The Wailers. Other top artists performed on the show including Kid Rock “All Summer Long” and James Otto “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”.

Otto will be performing at Club Rodeo in San Jose, California on Thursday, November 20. Tickets can be bought in advance at the KRTY studios for just $10. Tickets will be $20 at the door.

From the Associated Press:

After winning the evening’s top award, Chesney said: “As much as tonight is about awards, I really believe that being able to stand up here is more about great songs, more about the fans, more about being on stage every night in front of a lot of people that really make it happen for me and the band out there.”

“This is my fourth time standing up here, and I’m really humbled and I really appreciate it,” added Chesney.

The award — his third straight win in the category — helped Chesney avoid a shutout. He was the night’s lead nominee with seven but did not pick up a trophy in the other categories.

George Strait won single and album of the year. Strait thanked the songwriters for “letting me sing such a beautiful song” after the poignant “I Saw God Today” won single of the year. He later won album of the year for “Troubadour.”

“Everybody says they’ve got the greatest fans. Well, I’ve really got the greatest fans,” Strait said in accepting the album award.

Also winning two awards was Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Sugarland won the award for duo of the year, and earlier, Nettles won song of the year for Sugarland’s hit “Stay.”

“It’s just been a gift from the beginning and been a gift to write and I hope it’s been a gift and touched your heart,” she said in accepting the award.

Carrie Underwood, who co-hosted the show with Brad Paisley, won her third consecutive female vocalist award.

“I just want to say Mom, it’s real hard to sing when you’re in the second row crying,” a teary-eyed Underwood told her mother during her speech. It came after her performance of her No. 1 hit “Just a Dream,” about a woman who lost her loved one in war. The song was introduced by Leslie Ponder who lost her husband in Afghanistan.

The former “American Idol” champ also thanked country fans. “I got here in an unconventional way, and you guys didn’t have to accept me at all.

Paisley, who won video of the year earlier, hugged Keith Urban and kissed the stomach of his pregnant wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, as he went up to collect his award.

Rascal Flatts won their sixth straight vocal group of the year award, beating out the Eagles, Emerson Drive, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town for the honor.

Hurricane Gustav Makes Landfall West of New Orleans

September 1, 2008

Hurricane Gustav has finally made landfall on the Louisiana coast this morning and it appears that the brunt of the storm will be passing to the south and west of New Orleans. It appears that the city will be spared destruction on the scale of Hurricane Katrina three years ago but the people of the Gulf Coast are not out of the woods just yet.

From the New York Times:

Bill Haber/Associated Press

Credit: Bill Haber/Associated Press

Hurricane Gustav made landfall along the Louisiana coast late Monday morning, and with the center of the storm striking 70 miles southwest of New Orleans.

While and the storm lashed the Gulf Coast with strong winds and rain, it was downgraded from category 3 to category 2, on a scale of 1 to 5, because its winds had slowed to 110 miles an hour from 115 m.p.h., according to the National Weather Service. Officials at the Army Corps of Engineers said that New Orleans’ levee system was being severely tested, but they did not think that the hurricane would cause water to flow over its walls. If the levees were not overtopped, that would be good news for the city, since “overtopping” can cause levees to fail.The center of the storm struck land at Cocodrie, La., about 70 miles southwest of New Orleans, the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin at 11 a.m., ET. As the hurricane moves inland, the broad path of the storm plotted by the National Hurricane Center showed it likely to pass through the towns of New Iberia, Baton Rouge, Houma, Morgan City and Thibodaux.

Dave Martin / Reuters

Credit: Dave Martin / Reuters

The atmosphere in the emergency operations center in New Orleans was tense. Workers on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal — considered a particularly weak link in the city’s levee protection system — said that the water level in the canal was a little more than 10 feet above normal, or about three feet from the top of the floodwalls. There was some reported spillover at the west floodwall, though officials said the water level there was no longer rising.

From MSNBC:

A weakened Hurricane Gustav slammed into the heart of Louisiana’s fishing and oil industry Monday, avoiding a direct hit on flood-prone New Orleans and boosting hope that the city would avoid catastrophic flooding.

Wind-driven water was sloshing over the top of the Industrial Canal’s floodwall, but city officials and the Army Corps of Engineers said they expected the levees, still only partially rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, would hold. The canal broke during hurricanes Betsy and Katrina, flooding St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward.

Stephen Morton / Getty Images

Credit: Stephen Morton / Getty Images

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav hit around 10:30 a.m. EDT Monday near the Cocodrie, a low-lying community in Louisiana’s Cajun country about 72 miles southwest of New Orleans. Forecasters once feared a storm that chased nearly 2 million from the coast would arrive as a devastating Category 4 with much more powerful winds.

While New Orleans avoided a direct hit, the storm could be devastating where it did strike. For most of the past half century, the bayou communities that thrived in the Barataria basin have watched their land literally disappear. A combination of factors — oil drilling, hurricanes, river levees, damming of rivers — have destroyed marshes and swamps that once flourished in this river delta.

From CNN:

There were reports of water going over the Industrial Canal levee near a railroad bridge, said Chris Macaluso, a spokesman for the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration. The Port of New Orleans will raise the bridge to ease pressure on the system, he said.

The Industrial Canal levee failed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, devastating the Lower Ninth Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said two Navy boats that were being scrapped at a facility on the canal broke away from their moorings and were driven against the pilings of a nearby bridge.

A tow boat was being dispatched to retrieve the vessels, the agency said. Brandon Touchard, emergency coordinator of St. Charles Parish, said that five barges had also come loose there.

Gustav made landfall Monday morning near the coastal town of Cocodrie, Louisiana, about 80 miles southwest of New Orleans.

US Men’s Volleyball Takes Home the Gold

August 24, 2008

In what could possibly be the greatest story coming out of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing (sorry Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt), the US Men’s Volleyball team defeated defending champion Brazil today to take home the gold medal.

Associated Press/Andy Wong

Credit: Associated Press/Andy Wong

From the Associated Press:

As the crowd roared and his team exulted in its gold medals, the coach of the U.S. men’s volleyball team buried his head in his hands and walked off the court. He had gone from the lowest low to the highest high, and it was all too much.

Hugh McCutcheon needed to be alone.

Just two weeks ago, at the start of the Olympics, his father-in-law had been stabbed to death in Beijing. He stepped away from his job to take care of his family. But his team, stirred by the tragedy, began an incredible run, ending Sunday with a 3-1 victory over defending champion Brazil — a team that they were never expected to beat.

In two weeks of competition, the Americans were undefeated. The 20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 final gave the U.S. men their third Olympic gold medal in the sport, matching the record set by the Russians. Top-ranked Brazil, a two-time gold medalist, was left with the silver medal. Russia won the bronze earlier in the day with a three-set victory over Italy.

Usually, the Olympic focus is on the athletes. But the tragedy endured by this coach was an integral part of his team’s story.

This run by Team USA was a;mazing to watch and is just an amazing achievement for a team who was not expected to win gold. Thoughts?

US Men’s Basketball Team Defeats Australia 116-85

August 20, 2008

The US Men’s “Redeem Team” is now just one win away from the gold medal game after defeating Australia 116-85.

From the Associated Press:

Kobe Bryant scored 25 points in his best game in Beijing, and the men’s U.S. Olympic team advanced to the semifinals by beating Australia 116-85 on Wednesday night.

The United States will play defending champion Argentina or Greece on Friday night for a spot in Sunday’s gold medal game.

Locked in what looked like another tough game with Australia, the Americans sent the Aussies’ upset hopes down under with a 14-0 burst to open the second half, featuring nine points from Bryant.

LeBron James added 16 points for the Americans, who are guaranteed a chance to play for a medal. They need two more wins for their first gold medal in a major international competition since the 2000 Sydney Games.

It appears that the US team may in fact be destined for gold. The team has not won the gold just yet but it appears imminent. The toughest challenges are ahead and there are still a few hurdles left to get past. Thoughts?

Michael Phelps 10,000+ Calorie Diet

August 14, 2008

You do NOT want to try this unless you are a world class athlete, preferably named Michael Phelps.

From the New York Post:

Swimming sensation Michael Phelps has an Olympic recipe for success – and it involves eating a staggering 12,000 calories a day.

“Eat, sleep and swim. That’s all I can do,” Phelps, who won two more gold medals today, told NBC when asked what he needs to win medals. “Get some calories into my system and try to recover the best I can.”

By comparison, the average man of the same age needs to ingest about 2,000 calories a day.

Those numbers are staggering! I can not even imagine eating that many calories in one day.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Here’s Phelps’s typical menu.

Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.

Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo on white bread. Energy drinks packing 1,000 calories.

Dinner: One pound of pasta. An entire pizza. More energy drinks.

Incredible. I guess you eat what you have to, to become the greatest swimmer of all time. Imagine the calories that Phelps burns. He spends at least five hours in the pool each day.

Phelps remains on course to at least equal Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals won at the 1972 Munich Games. He could eclipse Spitz’s mark this weekend. He currently has five gold medals and will participate in the finals of the 200 Meter IM on Friday morning.