Macworld Musings: An Outsider’s Perspective

Following the brouhaha over the future of the Macworld Conference and Expo is interesting to me, because I am essentially an outsider here. When the Angry Mac Bastards do our thing there this year it will be the first time that I have attended a Macworld, ever. I suppose that this gives me a different perspective on things than many of the people who have commented on the matter. For one thing, my opinion isn’t colored by memories (distorted or not) of previous Macworlds.

The biggest thing that stands out to me is that the majority of the people who seem to be beating the “Macworld is doomed” drum are journalists and bloggers. That makes sense to me. I can fully understand how, if the main benefit that someone derives from attending a Macworld is being among the first to hear and report on the words of His Steveness, Apple’s absence makes the conference pointless. And without an Apple booth to allow journalists to get their grubby hands on Apple’s latest and greatest for their “first look” articles, the show floor is also pretty worthless.

Of course, as others have pointed out, Macworld is not just about the keynote and show floor. At it’s heart Macworld is trade show and industry conference. Many other industries have similar shows/conferences without the dog and pony show of a Stevenote, and they muddle along just fine.

Again, as others have pointed out, there are many factors that will have an effect on the future viability of Macworld. Macworld may thrive, and it may well fail. If Macworld does fail though, the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of one organization. That organization is not Apple. If Macworld fails it will not be because Apple “abandoned the community.” As others have pointed out numerous times, even sans Apple the trade show and conference aspects of Macworld have the potential to bring value. If that value is insufficient to bring in enough vendors and conference attendees then the blame will fall entirely on IDG.

Understand that, when I write that the (potential) failure of Macworld is IDG’s responsibility, I don’t intend to cast them as villains any more than Apple. That’s because there are no villains here. Regardless of whatever fond memories you may have of Macworlds past, or how much fun I intend to have there, the bottom line is that Macworld isn’t a party, it’s a product. If that product fails in the market, then so be it. Perhaps another vendor will create a better one.

At any rate, there’s my two cents as a Macworld virgin. Hopefully they can help provide some perspective.