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Sunday, December 4th, 2005 at 1:04 am Written by:

So that was the Euromold trade show. I’ve never understood what these trade shows are for, since not more than a small fraction of the customer base would ever have the time to attend such an exhibit. But there’s an insatiable need to convene a physical embodiment of the industry all in one place. Athletes do so when they hold their competitions, but in business you can’t risk such an event with an unpredictable outcome. There’s too much at stake. It would have to be fixed and discredited in advance, because, if you lost, your business would be ruined. You wouldn’t have the money to redouble your efforts to go for the prize next time after a solid year of customers just buying from the winner. The fact is, if customers ever knew for sure what was the best product on the market, it would be a disaster. So, for the sake of fairness, it would be better to hold a carnival parade down Main Street, where every company could run a float and throw brochures, demo CDs and pretzles at the bemused public as they go past.

Euromold lasts four days. Normally we get terminally bored halfway through day two and sit around drinking coffee and cluttering up our associated company stand for the remainder of the days. But this year it was something else.

The cold I’d picked up in Yorkshire made me truly awsomely sore in the head that I went to bed in the hotel for most of the first day, before eventually walking over to the exhibition hall where I didn’t have a ticket. Martin wasn’t answering his mobile phone because he was too busy talking to a company director of his former place of work when I called, so I was left out in the cold for hours. My voice sounded deep and baritone once I’d spent the night coughing, and it was good.

Martin and I spent the second day attempting to hawk our Adaptive Roughing algorithm to various companies, expecting to get thrown off their stands as fast as it took people to understand what we were talking about. We had some brochures of our product as a Mastercam add-on, and Martin’s ibook laptop so we could show people what a computer looks like when the batteries are flat. Later on I began carrying around a freshly cut three kilogram lump of steel for demonstration purposes because there was no way it could fail to leave painful splinters in my thumb.

It should not have worked. Here’s what we were like.

Suppose you want to get into show-business, and you go down to Broadway where they have all the musicals, wearing your grubby street clothes and a scruffy backpack carrying your belongings. Out front they’re selling tickets from the box office for the evening’s show. You knock on the side door and some stage hand who’s very busy pokes their face out and you mumble that you’ve got a song and dance number that you’ve made up on your own while you were out of work and living with your mother, “would you think about putting it into your show?”

Only the ghost of Elvis could hope to be invited in for an interview with the director right away.

Something like this didn’t happen at the Tebis stand, because they are notoriously unfriendly, but almost everywhere else we tried we got a positive response. I couldn’t explain it. The absolute most I had hoped for was a level of polite curiosity. It’s rational, I think, for companies to learn as much as they can about competitors when information is offered to them, if only to know about what they might have to copy or discredit in advance.

Mmm. Time for some preliminary business management, in case there is actually some business to manage. I am now returning on the fast train back from Frankfurt to London. I drank no beer or wine and took only one free dinner while I was in Germany. That’s healthy. I dreamed up a 5-axis roughing routine on a walk along the river, but there was no one to tell it to.

1 Comment

  • 1. Garry B replies at 14th December 2005, 2:50 pm :

    Hi guys,

    I finally got round to looking at the site. Great to see you at Euromold.


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