ICS Magazine

The Sky's Not Falling Quite Yet

September 29, 2008

When it comes to pronouncing the arrival of doomsday, the bandwagon is open for business 24-7.  But don’t feel bad; with the sledgehammer-to-the-skull approach the headlines are taking these days, it’s not much of a stretch to find yourself buying into the program lock, sinking stock and $700 billion bailout.

At least, that’s the attitude my cynic’s eye and I took as we strolled into the Las Vegas Hilton last week for the Connections Convention and Trade Show. It was a done deal, the Experts agreed: attendance would be down, enthusiasm was on the wane. Golly gee, was it possible this be the beginning of the end?

The pundits need to go take a flying leap.  I don’t know but that I’m the only one who walked away with this feeling, but the show revealed itself to be just about as strong as I’ve ever seen it. Strong, that is, in the way I gauge such things. Attendance figures and dollar amounts are niceties for accountants and advertisements; the measuring stick I use is a simple, “How’s the show been for you this year?”  It works as follows:
  • Ask the question of a decent cross-section of attendees and exhibitors
  • Take their answers and factor in the shifting eyes, the number of grimaces and the total volume of dripping sarcasm.
  • Adjust hip boots (or in really bad years, chest highs) and begin wading through the crap to try and come away with the real answer.

This year’s reading? A surprisingly sincere response to the positive all around; the crap didn’t even rise to shoelace level. Maybe people are sensing a bottoming out of things, perhaps they just needed the break that Connections provides. What I can safely say is, there’s quite a bit more fortitude in this industry than many are giving people credit for; not many will there be going gently into that good night.