Channel Partners

SPR 2015

For 25 years, Channel Partners has been a resource for indirect sales channels, such as agents, VARs and dealers, that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications, and managed and professional services

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> COLUMN <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< CHANNELPARTNERSONLINE.COM 26 Welcome to the Big Show Unless you walk away with new contacts. So you know what, scratch that first paragraph. If you walk away from the Big Ideas event with one thing, make it new contacts. That's what trade events, especially ones with the audacity to call themselves the "Big Show," are all about. If you can walk away with new contacts that can strengthen your business, then we will have done our jobs. Unless it's experiences. As you can see from the show agenda, there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy new experiences. You can attend keynotes where customer CIOs will share harrowing tales working with partners, participate in roundtable discussions or network with your peers and suppliers. There will be hands-on workshops, an exposition hall filled with nearly 150 of course, one of the largest convention towns in the world. And The Mandalay Bay where our Big Show is scheduled? It has 1.7 million square feet of conven- tion space, enough for 30,000 people. We have big covered in terms of space, in other words. Ditto for people. This year's event is expected to attract 4,500 attendees — our most ever. As for quality, we are faithful to the ideas pioneered by Dick Swandby, who, according to Exhibitor Magazine, founded Exhibit Surveys Inc. in 1963 and "intro- duced performance-measurement metrics to the trade show industry." In preparation for this year's Big Show, we huddled with executive sponsors, members of our advisory committee, fellow event plan- ners and readers like you. We pored over satisfaction surveys, recruited recognized thought leaders and retooled the layout, timing and flow of the event to better meet your needs. For the Big Show to live up to its billing, we know it has to deliver a big return on your time. This includes downtime. When I think back the hundreds of dinners, celebrations and parties that I have covered as a journalist, several stand out. This includes a party for emerging market executives held at the Hard Rock Resort's outdoor pool. It featured KC and the Sunshine Band and a lot of studly Russian business partners in their skivvies taking full advantage of the warm waters and endless flow of vodka. The most famous (or infamous) event would surely have to be the party that Fujitsu threw at Comdex in 1989 for 1,000 guests. The Arabian Night-themed event featured wandering musicians, sword swallowers and belly dancers. Then the "slave" auction began. Really. Two, chained "slave girls" were sold off and "carried away kicking over the shoulders of male attendants," wrote Alice LaPlante in InfoWorld, before mortified Fujitsu managers put an end to the spectacle. We won't lower our standards (or yours), but we promise the fun at the Big Show will be memorable indeed. Enjoy. T.C. Doyle is executive editor of IT and cloud for Channel Partners. @tcdutah If you walk away with one thing from the 2015 Channel Partners "Big Ideas" Conference & Expo, I hope it's insights that you can apply to your business throughout the year. This includes insights on innovations, business strategies and process excellence. If you walk away with this, we at Channel Partners will have done our jobs. FINAL THOUGHTS BY T.C. DOYLE vendors and a spirited debate over the future of the Great American desktop. So if not insights or contacts, make this year's event all about experi- ences. Or all three. Our team has set out to make this year's event the biggest ever. In terms of setting, quality and fun. To prepare, I did some research on the history of trade events, which date back thousands of years, to get a better sense of what constitutes "big." The first source I looked to was Exhibitor Magazine, which has a wonderful timeline of events that begins with the construction of the Great Crystal Palace of 1851 in London. In terms of visitors (6 million) and square footage (760,000 square feet), the Crystal Palace certainly qualifies in terms of "big." So rule one when putting together a big show: Pick a big spot. Las Vegas is,

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