Regardless of the spin IDG is trying to put on this, this is not a hiatus. Regardless of the hopes of attendees, Macworld Expo, Macworld/iWorld in any incarnation is well and truly dead.
No one thing killed the show. It was a death of a thousand cuts, starting with Apple abandoning the show (and, I maintain, abandoning the community that supported it for so many years) and the strength of various other outlets to get Apple’s and the vendors message out. IDG’s inability to pivot the show to “something else” also contributed, along with their inability to work with and convince vendors and attendees the show still had value.
I have been and will continue to be pilloried for my criticism of IDG and their, quite frankly, botching of so many aspects of the show. For their “fudging” of attendance figures and for their bullying of the media and vendors, among many other things. Make no mistake – a great deal of any blame for the failure of the show lies directly at the feet of IDG and their management.
But the on the floor staff of any particular Macworld Expo was always amazing. Whether it was the wonderfully bubbly Sarah Hindmarsh (now Harvey – congratulations!), the dedicated and devoted Kathy Moran or the hardest working guy at the show, Paul Kent. They did the best they could with what little IDG gave them. And their best was often better than anything anyone else could even imagine.
“That’s what I’ll miss the most—an event that drew together people I read online or communicated with on Twitter into meatspace for a few days.”
There is no trade show I’m aware of that had the constituencies of a Macworld Expo – everything from brand new users to grizzled old veterans. Artists and techies. IT pros and their customers. Shareware developers (remember those?) And huge multibillion dollar corporations. Paul Kent and his staff (and others before them) had an absolute bear of a time trying to serve all those different groups and, for the most part until Apple left, served them well.
I’ve always said the Expo wasn’t about Apple or the show floor or the vendors or the media or the announcements – although all those things were important and the show wouldn’t be a success without them – but about the people and the community. Friends, new and old. Listeners, readers, developers, colleagues, bartenders, taxi drivers, waiters. And all the fun you had with them.
I remember very few of the products or pamphlets or buttons I got at any individual Expo (hell, I went to 30+ of them around the world over the years) but I always remember the people I met and every year, looked forward to the shows to seeing them again.
I’ll miss that the most.