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Trekkin' around FOSE

So I have spent much of the last two days at the FOSE trade show (pronounced Foss-eee). As I mentioned yesterday, FOSE is the big government IT trade show – the government IT equivalent of what Comdex used to be for the rest of the world. It is interesting because the trade show business, well, it ain't what it used to be. Comdex, which used to be the granddaddy of all trade shows, is no more, of course. FOSE, however, continues to survive... at least so far. The afternoon yesterday was fairly quiet, but things seemed to be happenin' this morning.

This morning, FCW editors John Monroe, John Zyskowski and I gave our annual FOSE presentation talking about some of the issues facing the government IT market, what issues we are watching, and how to get into the magazine. Somewhat surprisingly, a good chunk of the discussion – particularly questions – were about FCW.com and specifically about blogs. It was a fascinating discussion.

But it is always interesting to roam the hall to see who is there, and in my vendor meetings, I often ask what they get out of the show. For example, I met with executives from Research In Motion – the BlackBerry people – and it seems to me that a show like FOSE works very well for them. The BlackBerry, after all, is something that needs to be seen, touched and used in order to fully understand what it. (More on BlackBerry in a future post.)

But as you wander the halls, there are other interesting booths. Korea, for example, has a huge booth as does Great Britain. The front of the room where people enter is reserved for all the big guys – Microsoft, CDW-G, Dell, H-P, Adobe, etc. Those companies pay for that prime location, no doubt. And then there are all kinds of smaller vendors around the back of the convention center in smaller booths.

But here is a little bit of a FOSE 'behind the scenes': FOSE is owned by the Washington Post, which also happens to own our primary competitors. (Sorry, I'm not providing a link. If you want/need to find them -- and why would you hehehe -- you'll have to do that on your own! ;-)... I was surprised to learn that since the WP bought FOSE, they have not allowed us to have a booth at the show. Yes, we were going to pay them, and they just say 'No.' So our marketing folks have to resort to handing out copies of the magazine outside the convention center. It ends up that they even try to stop that... Then, Tuesday night there was a big party for exhibitors co-sponsored by Input. That being said, even though it was an exhibitor party, there were all sorts of non-exhibitors there. But this year, two people on the business side of FCW Media Group were actually asked to leave and then escorted from the building. Ah, competition runs rampant.

I actually love the competition -- and I think the readers are well served by healty competition. Having worked for both publications, I am also somewhat perplexed when people say they don't notice the differences between the two pubs, but I also acknowledge that I'm not completely objective. But I'm also very happy to have my publication sit right next to theirs. But...

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Mar 08, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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