JCL Blog

RetroDex is Tomorrow (and Comdex too)

If you are in Seattle or Silicon Valley (Mountain View) on the evening of November 16th, you should join us for RetroDex.  It should be a bunch of fun.  Info and registration here.  Use the code "CSGfriend" for a discount.

This has been a very fun project.  Starting new things is something I like to do and it is the all consuming part that I like the most.  I suspect my blogging frequency will be picking back up later this week.

We started this whole project because Comdex is being reborn this year as a virtual event.  If you have not yet registered for ComdexVirtual click here.  

Today we closed the loop on the Comdex theme with our new Escape from Las Vegas web based game.  So tomorrow when you are sitting there doing the Comdex thing virtually, you can have a little fun by playing our game.  Try it out and let us know what you think.

Also, we are partnering with the UP CON 2010 Cloud Computing Conference for discounted tickets.  If you did not get the special offer email, please send us an email at sales@retrodex.co.  If you are already going to UP CON 2010, check your bag for discounted tickets to RetroDex.

RetroDex Plan D

It seemed like such a simple idea.  Everything Channel decided to bring back Comdex -- but as a virtual event.  I could not imagine Comdex without after hours parties -- even if it was set in a virtual Las Vegas.  Plus I could not wrap my head around a virtual party.  I even joined second life and walked around in there looking for ways to have a party -- my old brain just could not put that together.

So RetroDex was born.  In its current form, RetroDex is two after hours parties in local markets timed to coincide with Comdex Virtual.  

Along the way we had all kinds of ideas and not all kinds of time. We chased our tails a bit.  Built up a team, and today we launched events in Silicon Valley and Seattle.  You can read all about it at the RetroDex site.

If you are one of the many people we talked to while we have been making our plans, thank you.  Your feedback has helped immensely.  If you are one of my amazing team members working tirelessly on this project -- thank you for making this possible.

Here is a list of things that surprised me along the way:


  1. Having a party just to socialize after a day of virtual event going is not compelling enough.  So we added great feature speakers (Robert Scoble and Larry Walsh).
  2. Bringing together like minded channel partners to collaborate on an event is nearly impossible. So we skipped the collaboration and just hosted the thing ourselves.
  3. Riding the media wave created by Comdex did not happen -- because so far there has not been a media wave.  I still think this could change, but I have been very surprised that the media has not picked up on the Comdex big, Comdex explodes, Comdex dormant, Comdex back as virtual, RetroDex as after hours Comdex parties story.  Seems interesting to me.


So here we are on Plan D.  This just would not be fun if we didn't make it to at least plan G before November 16th.

A few months back I wrote a post about how great things happen when they are tied to events -- because events have dates that cannot slide.  How true!



The Scoble Effect

If you think you are a big time tech blogger, google your name plus the word effect.  Good chance you will get nothing.  Then google "the scoble effect" and notice that the every one of the first 10 items are links to articles about the impact Robert Scoble has on the tech industry.  

So in my quest to figure out if Comdex Virtual is going to be anything in November I sent out this tweet yesterday:

@Scobleizer How are you going to cover Comdex -- now that it is virtual?

You probably already know that Robert Scoble gained his big time reputation because he is in the front row with his live audio or video feed running at literally every significant tech event .  Conversely, in the turn about echo chamber that is the tech industry, a tech event is not big time if Robert Scoble is not there.  His answer:  

Hmmm.  UBM has some work to do.

Comdex the Verb

Some would say that the adoption of your brand name as the accepted description of an action, preferrably the action of using your product, is the pinnacle of branding.  Xerox did it, Google did it, Kodak almost did it, although with a Kodak Moment, the brand is really an adjective modifying a moment. 

Sure it could be great if it happens, but an overt effort to make it happen could backfire.  Are we really ever going to say we Binged it?  Trademark lawyers advise companies to do whatever they can to avoid the adoption of their brand name as a generic description of an action -- because at that point protecting the trademark becomes difficult if not impossible. In fact, Xerox did for many years invest heavily to discourage people from using their name as a verb.  What an interesting world we live in.

Comdex is making a comeback this year after six years of dormancy.  Like many technology companies or even the technology industry itself, Comdex had an unbelievable rocket ship ride from 1979 to 2003.  The event topped out at about the same time that the internet bubble reached its peak in 2000 -- with over 200,000 people attending the main event in Las Vegas, plus the organizers staged many other events scattered around the world throughout the year.  At the end Comdex was the show everyone loved to hate -- and there was plenty to hate about fighting it out with a hoard of fellow geeks -- just to get a hotel room or a taxi.  I suppose that during its time as a must attend event, people eventually came to chafe at the must part.

United Business Media bought the carcass of Comdex in 2006 and has elected to bring the event back this year.  The setting is still Las Vegas, but this time it is a virtual Las Vegas.  No lines, no crowds, and much cheaper for everyone.  This virtual (and green) version of Comdex will really be something to watch.  The spectacle of the real Comdex had a way of dominating the tech news.  Strangely, we are 93 days from the virtual event, and the tech media is amazingly silent.  Google it and you get the press releases from March, search on Twitter and you get references to the MCX Comdex commodities exchange, search on valleywag - nothing, search on techcrunch - nothing, digg - nothing, techmeme - nothing.  Even a search for comdex on the UBM site  produces zero results.  Amazingly, a search on techweb -- the event producer -- no results.  (bear in mind that these links are live searches on those sites, so if content has been added after this posting -- search results may vary)

The other UBM company behind the event, Everything Channel, does not have search functionality on its web site, but does list Comdex on its events page

Given this media vacuum it would not be accurate to say that the whole industry is waiting to see what happens on November 16th and 17th.  It will be interesting however to see if the popular adaptation of "to Comdex" as a verb is different on November 18th.  


Comdex is Back

Everything Channel purchased the company that owned the Comdex brand in 2006 and has just this year launched plans to bring back what was at one time the biggest technology trade show on earth.  Believe it or not it probably never made it into the top ten largest trade shows of all time with Auto, Book, and Agribusiness tradeshows dominating the top 10.

But this is a legacy brand with a new twist:  The show is going virtual.  In an refracting irony suitable for the hall of mirrors, Comdex will be reborn in a virtual Las Vegas -- where there are physical replicas of New York and Paris!  Yow!  We can now go to Virtual Comdex and see virtual renditions of New York and Paris set in a virtual Las Vegas, all without leaving the comfort of our desks.

With this many layers of virtualization, I wonder if I have to worry about getting back safely.  

All histrionics aside, we all should applaud Everything Channel for bringing back this great event while at the same time pushing us into a new experience.  We will be there -- and I hope you will be too.