Thursday, October 4, 2007

Like no business, I know...things I will miss now that Storage Trade Shows are dead...

Steve Duplessie is probably right – storage trade shows are waning fast as a useful venue for finding potential customers. I think that frankly sucks. As everybody who has ever been blinded by a florescent trade show shirt knows… I love storage trade shows.

Speaking of Dupe – is it just me? Does he just “Louk Faabulus, Darlink”? All metro-sexy, trim, duded out with the Regis Philbin shirt and tie combo, the euro-buzz doo. I mean seriously for a guy with that many miles on him (naturally aged or otherwise) – he is lookin’ HOT!

That's it! I am getting a hair cut, going on a diet, and signing up for a Men's Wearhouse credit card...

Things will miss (besides Steve) when the last storage show dies…

- Hanging out at the fire pit, smoking cigars with the storage industry equivalent of big shots. If those gas jets and palm trees could talk, there would be a lot more millionaires and a lot more divorces in storage…

- The pain in my feet at the end of the day. I know shin splints are my friend.

- The breakfast buffet at Citron – that coffee rocks!

- The vibe at the BIG BAR at the Hyatt in Chicago when its so crowded you have to crab-walk side ways to squeeze past the dueling pot bellies of the storage analysts holding court under the glass wall of vodka bottles. Its fun to watch them try to eavesdrop on (while pretending to ignore) each other.

- Shooting the bull with the drunk and half-drunk storage vendors hanging on the handrails of the handicapped ramp outside the JW lobby bar – especially interesting after Red Sox games, which often seem to happen during Fall SNW. Any good drunk storage vendor worth her salt is a member of Red Sox Nation.

- Seeing what new and truly foolish shirts the foo foo men’s shop in the lobby of the JW is offering this season – and for me to say those shirts are foolish…well…

- Hotel Lobbies. So many hushed whispers, winks, hardy handshakes, backslaps and BS… I love the lobbies. The indoor waterfall (and the little boats) in Palm Springs. The birdcage in the lobby of the Renaissance in Orlando (why did we move from there?) The live parrots standing watch at the Hyatt in Orlando. The candles in the port a tier at the JW in Orlando. The eco-dome at the Gaylord in Orlando. The timeless elegance (and slightly tired seediness) of the St. Francis in SF. ( But - I won't miss the lobby of SNW in San Diego – that hotel may in fact be one of the reasons storage shows are going to hell in a hand basket…)

- Big iron. I was always impressed by the tractor trailers of equipment crammed into the tiny vendor exhibit area at Gartner Storage in Tucson – back in the day. Tape libraries you could walk into. Disk arrays built to withstand nuclear attack - big heavy boxes with hundreds of blue blinky lights – surrounded by throngs of stern, clean-cut, freshly graduated hockey players from catholic universities in the Northeast wearing their first Brooks Brother’s blue suits and red rep ties. Yes Virginia, those were the days.

- I will miss chatchkees. My tee shirts (of course), squishy balls, blinky lights, pins, a plethora of cheap pens, superballs, blinky superballs, blinky super ball pens, assorted fuzzy items, little radios, screwdrivers. A factory and a half in China is going out of business when we shutter the last storage trade show.

- Chocolate Chip Cookies. Need I say more?

Damn – I will miss storage trade shows, but I agree with Mr. Metro-Sexyman. It is over. There just is not that much interesting new stuff, not much ground breaking new storage technology being introduced lately. And, there are better ways to learn about the new stuff that is interesting than going to a trade show. Or - the sponsors (you know who you are) need to reinvent the genre. Shows need to be exciting - interesting - useful to attendee, with breaking news, industry changing outcomes. Shows can't be nice to have, they need to be must have. Thank goodness I am not in the business of untangling that hairball.

Boat shows are timeless - because people love to climb inside boats, but you can’t climb inside a tape library anymore – which is a freak’n, damn shame, because as sick as it is, I luv, luv, love! storage shows.