Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 1 dealer expo 2013

As always I had an excellent time at the trade show. I like all trade shows for that matter and I often wish I could attend more.

I've been going to Dealer Expo despite all my complaints of having to go into the cold for the last 13 shows. This was the first time we didn't exhibit since I got into the Powersports Industry. I predicted it would be full of empty halls and I wasn't wrong.

Still it was a great show to be an industry person because you could talk to all the important people who never have time to talk. As to exhibitors few will admit to each other if things are bad, you leave that to employees, ex-employees. Didn't take
Long by 3pm everyone was talking about the state of the industry.

As a kid all I was afraid of was nuclear war, dying young, and communism. I still hate communism, but since playing Fallout 3 the war thing doesn't sound so bad. Instead I started a company during the age of crazy currency wars, The Chinese destruction of the Italian manufacturing sector, giant Russian meteors, terrorists, mad cow disease, assault rifles, cyberwar, super gonorrhea, and deadly Carnival cruise ships. Now I am adding overpriced trade shows.

I know several companies that shouldn't be exhibiting but they are here. Because in the powersports industry we have big egos. All of us because its a business of passion. This show was empty and many of us despite knowing it would be smaller pressed on. The decision of Fred Fox and co to leave might have been the final straw.

I will give Advanstar some credit. The public exhbition was a great addition, but why did it take so long? Maybe as a small business owner I hate big companies that don't listen to their clients. I can remember back in 2001 when the halls were so packed you had to wait thirty minutes for a hot dog. George E Fern guys could care less how long you waited because they were charging you hundreds for an extra chair. It was hell for the exhibitors, but we tolerated it because this was the show. I would get checks cut on the spot.

The last 5 or 6 years there has been no return on investment. You got tire kickers and guys who operate from their house from Indiana. You saw distributors giving consumer dealer pricing in desperation and it became a free for all. Indiana is too far, too cold, and no matter how many new posters they put up saying YOU SPOKE WE WILL LISTEN. It won't make sense. The worst part is that they are scared changing dates, moving the 2014 show to September. Makes you wonder if in Orlando there could be a Magic Kingdom for the powersports industry.

Its the same idea in the scooter segment of the industry. We are here despite knowing better. We are all meeting with the same 20 or 30 guys who go to every show and represent small numbers. People get scared so they spend more money at a dying show. I walk the halls and ex employees come to me, veterans of past scooter wars, looking for a new battle. Men who have served many masters, but love motorcycles. Just like me they can't stay away. We came to Indy to see what is happening, because despite the complaining we love the industry.

I did have one fantastic talk and I'm happy for several guys formerly of CF Moto. One made my day by walking up to me to say hi since he's now at Zero another at Puma. They have all found new jobs and in the end that's what this is about building an industry back up. So I see some growth.

Going to meet the AIME expo guys today to see what they have planned.

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