Let’s Talk - Joe Paone
I'm a born complainer. A cynic. A killjoy. A grouch. A long, long, long-
suffering Philadelphia sports fan, for cryin’ out loud. So cut me some slack.
But yeah, I’m a cranky one.
Sometimes, though, I’m moved to get all warm and fuzzy about something, and last month was just that kind of time. Specifically: I was sincerely blown away by how enjoyable and convenient this year’s CEDIA EXPO venue, Denver, was. And judging from your comments, both during the show and in these pages, many of you felt the same way.
Thanks to the free and frequent 16th Street Mall bus, I never had to hail a cab. Thanks to the layout of the convention center, I never had to budget time to get in and out of “the dome,” as in Indy for the past three years. Almost all of the booths were in the same large room in Denver.
And somehow, despite the proximity of everything and the highest total attendance in CEDIA EXPO history, I never encountered a crowd, never felt claustrophobic, never had to wait for a seat at a restaurant, never had to jostle for a beer or wait in a long line. Even the airport was a piece of cake, albeit quite a hike.
All in all, Denver was a perfect place for a show, and I look forward to two more EXPOs in the Mile High City.
As for the show itself, I sensed some uneasiness over the direction—think IP-based, think digital, think software—in which the market is headed. I heard complaints about the number of “commodity” products on hand. I heard talk about a collective identity crisis in this industry.
All of which misses the point entirely. Yes, the industry is irrevocably changing. The days of serious listening and viewing rooms and A/B comparisons and the hobbyist/enthusiast aura that once characterized this industry and this show aren’t gone, but they’re certainly not the mainstream any longer.