INTERNET WORLD SPRING, Ides of March, 2001

Los Angeles, CA

A Chaos Manor Photo-Essay Report
Wednesday, September 26, 2001

11:17 AM

Internet World Spring happened the day the Dow went below 10,000 and CISCO was below $20. You'll see the results.





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My friends at APC. I use a lot of their UPS and other equipment. I hadn't been at the show long enough to realize just how few people there were, although the fact that there were actually good sandwiches left in the Press Room should have been a clue.

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I begin to realize things are different. No Internet Cafe. No crowds of tshotske collectors, and yes, I know that's spelled wrong. Someone will correct me. Anyway, it began to look grim.

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I find s crowd at last. This guy is going to escape from a straight jacket while riding a stilt unicycle; and he is giving a spiel about the company as he does it. Like everyone else I have forgotten what the company sells, but the show is interesting.


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Here he is again. With people.

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And almost out.

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This is prime space, in front of the main entrance. Someone obviously cancelled. And there is a LOT of this kind of space in the main Convention Center hall.


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Can you imagine that this will favorably impress anyone? In the high flyer dot com days I suppose this was cool; now it seems abysmally stupid. Why inflict ugliness on your potential customers? Does it give anyone a warm feeling? Cybercredit may be a good outfit, but they need a new ad creation department.

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A genuine crowd watching something; one of the few demos with filled seats I saw all day. Note who it is.

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The booths were as elaborate as ever.


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Even the Microsoft Partners Pavilion was mostly exhibitors pitching to each other, but it did have some action.

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This is mostly for atmosphere. I lost whatever notes I had about this picture but you can see that some demos got attention.



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Ah. The Intel E-business Pitch. That got as much interest as anything at the show not involved with big free giveaways.

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I have no idea why I took so many shots of this pitch. Probably I was happy to see that some people are still interested in the Internet. Glory Be!

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There was also considerable interest in the new Microsoft integration of VISIO into the Office Suite (although it is not yet included, you can guess that it will be Real Soon Now. I have the new VISIO and it's the old VISIO with pretty good integration into both Word and Front Page. And you will note that people did stop to look and listen.


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Macromedia had a big presence but this crowd was for tee shirts.


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A huge presence for the US Postal Service. Heaven knows what all that cost. I doubt USPS is really trying to promote the Internet as a communications medium, but they do want their share of parcel delivery.

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Live drummers, performers, a really expensive pitch. For perhaps 15 people watching. I forget what they were selling.



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But they better sell a lot of it to cover this cost...


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Food service and tables in prime floor space. Yep.

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Your Tax Dollars At Work. The IRS has a booth, and gives way mouse pads and paper clip holders. Free!


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It was no small presence, either.

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Another general floor shot.

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It's not all exhibitors pitching to each other, but there's a lot of that.


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Action at last! But it's which at least in theory will find you a job... Or a career change.



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I have no idea why I took this picture.

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But I must have thought the subject was interesting?



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A crowd: of people who have nothing better to do than line up for free tee shirts. Me, I can afford to buy them. On the other hand, maybe they had nothing better to do.

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DreamSpeed at showing dual Pentium III processors in a tiny box and no chip fans. Those gold heat sinks do the job. Ran cool too.

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And another, included mostly to make this table come out even.


OK. So enough with the doom and gloom? I fear there is more. Here, quick shots as I was leaving. You will get the idea. Note that one of those below is offering free massages. And there is no line. Then the parking lot. Note that the final one is of an outdoor Apple Think Different sign: Ceasar Chavez, Robert Kennedy, FDR, Mrs. Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King. But the parking lot was pretty empty.



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So. That was the show. The final six pictures are not well chosen.

Wednesday night I went to the J. P. Davis press party and peep show, but I didn't have my camera with me. I should have, and my apologies. I did make some notes and collect some press kits, and most of that will be in the column. I also got a look at the new Sony AIBO. I am not much into artificial dogs, but long time readers will recall I had a delightful interview with AIBO's inventor while I was at Sony HQ in Tokyo last year. AIBO is a rather remarkable thing, and I suspect a harbinger of things to come.

 I went to the Davis event before I had seen the show floor. Some of my colleagues warned me that "it seems a little slow."  Yeah.

Next day after I walked the floor I went home to look in on the dog (another story, see view for that) and then back downtown for Showstoppers.

I always have a good time at Steve Leon's SHOWSTOPPERS press party and peep shows, and I should have taken more pictures of the elegance of the food -- Showstoppers always has the best, hands down -- and of Steve and his elegant wife Jackie. But I didn't, and what I did get was largely accidental. The first three are JASC, one of some twenty companies exhibiting at Showstoppers. Why three of JASC? I have no idea. But it's what I have.

Then there's a general shot of the room; you can see that the exhibitors are actually getting some attention from the press (and they're real press, too; Showstoppers is pretty careful with invitations). Then my son Alex with a CMP editor Allyson Baer. Alex and his connectivity company provided the Internet access for the show. That do that for a lot of shows. And finally one of my favorites, US Robotics is back. They were submerged into 3COM and were not allowed to talk to the press on their own, but now they're spun off to be a separate company. Of course they haven't got everything together yet. Their press kit was one of those business card sized CD's and nowhere on it do they have the name of the pretty girl I was talking to, but I make no doubt I'll find out.

(That didn't take long. She's Christine Pomeroy, VP of Marketing at US Robotics.)

 US Robotics has always made the modems I rely on, and I carry an external USR when I go to Washington: the hotel I like on Capitol Hill was built before the Wilson Administration and the phone wires date from about then, too: if you want to get reliable modem communications there you'd better have a USR external. They have some new products coming, too.

Others at Showstoppers were Executive Software -- I collected Diskeeper 6.0, and I use Diskeeper on my NT and W 2000 machines. There was which according to CIO Edward Arenberg allows you to have classified ads on your web page; they do all the work. I don't quite understand that but I'll try to find out. And Roxio -- a name I have a lot of trouble remembering -- was there with their latest version of GoBack, which is in fact very useful software.





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And so as the dot com industry sinks slowly into the west, we leave colorful Internet World.

Of course the industry will recover. We needed a bit of return to sanity: when companies were being valued at fifty times, not earnings because they never had any earnings; not even revenue because they didn't have any revenue; but projected revenue, we begin to think we are in an O'Henry story about his friend J. Peters, the Gentle Grafter.

( Incidentally, Peters ran a Ponzi scheme in one of the Gentle Grafter stories long before Ponzi did it in real life. And while those stories are very readable still, fair warning, they were written in a different time, and some of the language and concepts are likely to be offensive. Not obscene. Not blasphemous. Offensive.)

So there was bound to be a shakeout. This one was largely triggered by the Microsoft Anti Trust suit, and the resulting crash didn't do Sun and other Microsoft enemies much good either. Economists differ over whether it's possible to grow out of a bubble, or level one off gentle, but most believe that it's possible to keep the solid structures in an over-hyped industry from collapsing: but it isn't if the government is helping feed the panic with threats of punishing success.

And there was one large booth  for proclaiming loudly that

We Buy &; Sell Used


which may or may not be a sign of these interesting times.

The Ides of March, 2001

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