Someone over at CNN has noticed that the big name technology trade shows aren't doing so well these days. They look at the big name shows, Comdex and Internet World, and realize that it's tougher for companies to justify going to these shows (whether as attendees or exhibitors). However, they admit that there seems to be some room for smaller, niche trade shows. They mention the Game Developers Conference and the Consumer Electroncis Show, which both have been doing well lately. They haven't caught on to the popular shows in the geek world, such as those put on by Tim O'Reilly and Kevin Werbach - but I wonder if that's because they mostly view those as a bunch of folks patting each other on the back. I agree that those conferences seem way too "insidery" right now, and also mostly consist of people preaching to the converted rather than really generating new ideas. However, I think both have the potential to be a lot more. Eventually one of those conferences - or another like it - will become the "disruptive conference". Just like established tech companies ignore "disruptive technologies", the established conferences seem to ignore these new, niche conferences. If you compare the two types of conferences right now, it wouldn't look like the bigger ones have anything to worry about. However, as the smaller conference change over time, I can certainly see how more and more companies will view things like Supernova or O'Reilly's Emerging Tech conferences as the "must attends" while Comdex and Internet World look like dinosaurs.
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