And so it begins. Big over priced events are failing

Last week Adobe announced that it would not be participating in Macworld (they also laid off 600 people, wonder if it would have been less if MAX didn’t cost so much to produce?). Following that announcement was Seagate and Belkin.

Tom and I aren’t surprised. We’ve believed, and said that events of this magnitude are doomed for some time. The economy is speeding the process up, clearly.

“And while these by themselves aren’t necessarily dangerous to the show’s health, people familiar with situation also claim that attendee registration is down by 20 percent versus the same period last year, providing the main reason for IDG’s last-minute extension of the Early Bird discount for registration until December 8th.”

I can imagine registrations are down. Companies are laying off hundreds or thousands (AT&T announcing something like 12,000 jobs to be cut), sending a single person to an event that runs well over $1,000 just to get in the door, let alone, airfare, hotel, and incidentals, is likely out of the question for many businesses, let’s not even look at the cost of sending several people. No duh, they’re not gonna send them!

Looking at these events from the consumer stand point, I can also see why registration is down. If I’m an indie iPhone developer, looking to network, how successful am I likely to be at an event the size of Macworld? Is it worth spending my own coin to go be lost in a sea of people? Even more so, a sea of people who aren’t all in my sphere of interest. Do I care about the Pro tools people? No not really. I’m sure they’re nice, but our worlds don’t intersect much.

It makes much more sense to attend an event focused on my sphere of interest, with sponsors and speakers talking about iPhone Development. It also makes sense that this much smaller event will cost less (it should, and those that don’t are robbing people), and oh yeah at an event that’s focused on my interests, the community will be more than a huge ocean of people, it’ll be a smaller sea of all people I want to meet, and it’ll be easier to meet them.

Sure super huge mega shows will never go away, they’re marketing expenses usually and help clean up the books. But the conference and trade show space, is quickly making room for the smaller indie events, that serve a tighter (better IMHO) community, affordably, while still offering top notch sessions, speakers, and sponsors.

Oh yeah, this example also serves to make clear our intentions :) 360|iPhone is coming.