Diablog: Trade-Show Control Act

You have that look on your face. It's the look that I see only when you're about to hatch some kind of stink-bomb. Come on, out with it.

I was just thinking.

You really shouldn't do that.

I was having dinner with one of my industry contacts and he bemoaned the fact that CEDIA has added a fourth day this year. Have you ever noticed that trade shows never get smaller or shorter, only bigger and longer?

You don't enjoy your free meals? You are becoming a stranger to me.

Sure, I enjoy seeing my contacts and what they're selling this year. But there's an optimal size for trade shows and CEDIA has just about surpassed it. Of course CES surpassed it long ago.

All right, what do you have in mind?

A new federal law called the Trade-Show Control Act. Here are the main provisions:

  • The size of a show shall not exceed that of CEDIA, in Minneapolis, circa 2002. This applies to all electronics shows, not just CEDIA.

  • The largest exhibit shall be no more than a dozen times the size of the smallest exhibit (the Panasonic Clause).

  • Hot products must not be hidden behind closed doors.

  • Off-site exhibits are banned.

  • No shows in Vegas. Never, ever, ever again (the Shoot Me. Just Shoot Me. I'm Serious Clause).

  • Shows shall move around the country, covering every region.

  • Fifty percent of all trade shows must take place west of the Mississippi River and the other fifty percent east of the Mississippi.

  • There shall also be an equal division between Red States and Blue States.

  • Every show must come to New York City a minimum of once every 10 years.

  • Hell, why not Puerto Rico too? Just once in a blue moon? And Hawaii! Yeah, Hawaii!

  • No shows within two weeks of any major religious or national holiday.

  • No shows anywhere in the country during blizzard-prone weather (the We Hate Icy Runways Clause).

  • No shows during the flu season.

  • For hygienic reasons, handshaking shall be discouraged, to be replaced with a vertical hand wave entailing a gentle rotation of the wrist (the Royal Wave Clause).

  • Shows must not exceed three days in length.

  • Preshow press events must not exceed 20 minutes per event.

  • An exhibitor that stages a press event devoid of a single particle of useful information shall be permanently banned from staging future press events. That about covers it.

    Well. That's...interesting. I like your regional-justice provisions, especially the idea of moving around the country. Instead of being an annual beating, a show could become a cultural education in itself, an experience that broadens a person. Need I point out, however, that federal regulation is very unfashionable these days? This doesn't sound like a serious proposal.

    That's not the point. The point, as I said before, is that every trade show has an optimum size, and shows exceeding that size do more harm than good.

    You may be right. But writing your point of view into law seems impossible.

    Maybe so, but the Law of Comdex is very real. It may not be a federal law, but in the long run, it's very sternly enforced.

    And what is the Law of Comdex?

    No matter how big and powerful it may appear, any trade show that gets too big eventually implodes. It goes poof, and then it's gone.

    Mark Fleischmann is the author of the annually updated book Practical Home Theater. For links to the latest edition, visit www.quietriverpress.com.

    Dave's picture

    I must have a magical internet connection! I am able to read your blog and you haven't even posted it until tomorrow at 9 a.m.!