I am another faithful attendee of Comdex Canada for the last half dozen years or so. My fondest memory of my first Comdex was looking down from a hospitality suite in the Skydome Hotel that overlooked the show floor with Microsoft occupying about a third of floor space to hype Windows 95. I still have the red beanie with the propeller on top that I got from a modem manufacturer who has since been bought out by a larger competitor. In years gone by I looked at Comdex as a paid vacation day; a bag full of kitsch for the wife and kids and a handful of brochures to take back to work. As a business person in Orillia,Ont. it is hard to get manufacturers’ reps to make the one-hour drive up from Toronto to visit, so I attend every convention and presentation I can in Metro because it puts all the key contacts I need in one place for me. Wireless and telco conventions are my bread and butter but when management felt I should start taking my assistant with me I would warn him or her (two in the last year) that, unlike the other trade expos, we were there to have fun and if you lucked into any useful information it was a bonus.
In a word, this year’s Comdex was a business show. Gone were the catch phrases like “paradigm shift” and “new economy”, replaced by “return on investment” and “revenue generation.” Gone were the “booth junkies” with an endless> supply of keychains and brochures and smiles, replaced by the knowledgeable company reps with the straight answers to tough questions. Gone was the freebie feeding frenzies replaced by the opportunity to spend a full day of “face time” without wading through the tire kickers.
My Microsoft tote page was awfully light at the end of the day, but this was the best Comdex for me that I ever attended.