Life at the Expo, The Prequel
MWSF ’03

On January 14, 2003, in Macworld Expo, by David Weeks

NEMO STRATEGY

On December 4 Nemo received an email PR announcement from Formac for a private offsite viewing of their new line of digital video and display products. The swanky W Hotel, across the street from Moscone Convention Center, was the designated location. Nemo had been trying to obtain review units from Formac for a year without success, and this was a real opportunity.

One week later email solicitations for Macworld PR meetings arrived from Maxtor, E-Book Systems, and Intego, followed several days later by requests from Exabyte, Macromedia, Aladdin, Roxio, Iomega, SmithMicro, Alias/Wavefront, eMedia, Sybex, Other World Computing, LaCie, Olympus, Peachpit, H-P, ProSoft and O’Reilly.

During Nemo’s first Macworld, in 2001, he ran around Moscone Center like a crazy person, conversing here and there and writing up the experiences in an ongoing manic conversation with our readers. At the 2002 conference Weeks+Nemo delivered an intense combined diary and essay of their days at Macworld, complete with pictures of varying quantity.

Goal for 2003 was fourfold:

  • Weeks to do initial essays covering action on the South and North Hall showroom floors
  • Nemo to write up Steve Jobs’ keynote address
  • Weeks + Nemo to submit captioned photos of entire experience
  • Nemo to provide summaries of PR and other meetings after Weeks left San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, for important prior family engagement.So far so good. On the surface we kept to that agenda, but here’s what really happened:

    1. Nemo’s schedule of meetings was so dense that no writing or photography time was available on most days.

    2. MyMac.com now has sufficient credibility that companies at Expo value our in-person discussion, leaving little room throughout the days for open-ended exploration of the 320 vendors’ products on display, including Apple’s!

    3. Lunchtime and snack time (yum yum) conversations with seasoned Macworld veterans in the Media Room were often enlightening. Weeks always holds his side of the conversation, and Nemo asks occasional questions and takes mental notes.

    4. We ran into people we knew from the past or wanted to get to know in the future: Rik M., the editor of MacAddict Magazine; John Rizzo, the MacWindows guru; David Pogue, author extraordinaire

    5. Additional important companies asked us to drop by their booths for friendly chats about new releases and potential reviews, including Dantz, Asante, Corel, Contour, SmartDisk, Sonic Desktop, Primera, OkiData, and WiebeTech.

    6. Weeks left town on Wednesday afternoon and Nemo came down with the flu late on Monday, severely clouding his already questionable coherence at Macworld. The show must go on, and what you read is the result. Thanks for sticking with us. We appreciate you!

    A COUPLE OF OBSERVATIONS

    Did you look through Apple’s modest photo gallery from the Expo floor? You’ll find it at Apple’s Hot News or you may need to do a search for “Macworld photos” on the Apple website. The pictures are okay, meaning nothing special. I’m not being overly critical; I have been an experienced event photographer for over 25 years. Weeks/Nemo’s quick ‘n dirty snapshots are nearly as good as Apple’s professional pictures, which mean they should hire MyMac.com to do all Expo photography in the future. Your thoughts?

    If I had a couple of minutes instead of a few seconds to create each picture, ours would be masterpieces. With luck we’ll have more people covering MWSF 2004, allowing Nemo to concentrate on world-class documentary photography.

    THE HIGH BURDEN OF INNOVATION

    When Steve Jobs brags, “what is driving us is innovation,” the assembled devotees at his keynote revival meeting are impressed, as they should be. Do you (or Steve) work day after day with newbie’s and geezers and MUG members or scaredycats or Luddites or phobics? Nemo does, and the pace of “technovation” is driving them crazy with anxiety and frustration.

    OS X is fine when everything hums along; so is OS 9. Ditto for 8.6 and 8.1, where many low-impact home users are concerned. Digital cameras are perplexing at best, and basic image editing requires a lot more dedication and repetition than most folks anticipate. AOL still has an unyielding grip on millions of our computers, and broadband service is beyond reach or cost for the majority of the world. Don’t even get started mentioning wireless.

    Borrowing a phrase from my favorite sitting president (political opinion withheld) “Let no Macintosher be left behind!” Technovation is exciting, but can occur too rapidly for a gigantic chunk of our society. End of sermon. Rebuttals and responses welcome.

    PACK IN, PACK OUT

    My mighty Brenthaven Titanium PowerBook backpack has performed flawlessly throughout this expo’s travels and floor walking. My favorite feature is the two mesh side slits for water bottles.

    “Wonderful World” up-tempo version at finale of keynote was played way too loud, as thousands of us snaked patiently from auditorium to collect our free copy of new Keynote software. Joni Mitchell and Louis Armstrong music were delightful, as was that uplifting African (???) song used by Apple for the 2001 keynote and in their stores ever since.

    NEMO: Apple’s developers have been busy (!!!) creating iApps and much more in preparation for Jobs’ rollout announcements and demos.

    WEEKS: Sure, but that takes the pressure off limited new hardware announcements, for a little while.

    NEMO: See what I mean about the pace of technovation? Case closed.


    What’s next? A rundown of all our private meetings with sales, marketing, and public relations representatives from many excellent companies. Check back soon for our next installment.


    John Nemerovski
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