Bad news for Supercomm fans (if there are any left). The 2010 Supercomm has been cancelled. A very short press release came out today announcing such. There’s no indication whether the event will come back in 2011 or beyond.

It’s not terribly surprising. Rumors have been floating for weeks that this would happen. I for one am saddened by the news. I don’t think it’s a great reflection on our industry to have its signature event floundering, and apparently, now dead.

By its nature, Supercomm was a difficult animal to slay. Having two trade associations own it, and a third entity manage it is a recipe for disaster. Too many constituencies to please for one. Maybe Supercomm itself is not an indictment on the telecom industry. Rather, it’s an indictment on how NOT to operate a signature tradeshow.

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4 thoughts on “Supercomm Dead?

  1. Bernie,

    Perhaps it's part of a natural process of industry evolution, and the one-size-fits-all show has lost its appeal. In contrast, trade-shows that are more focused on a more finite "community of interest" might perform better. Frankly, I think what missing is greater emphasis on service provider business model evolution, and then weave the vendor perspectives (and associated product platforms) into that more compelling context.

    1. David – thanks for the post. Those are good points, which I don't disagree with. I was part of the founding team for TelcoTV and that was exactly one of our strategies – create the best 'community of interest' show around IPTV as possible. Something we knew Supercomm could never replicate.

      I just wonder though – does the indictment of 'one-size-doesn't-fit-all' apply outside of telecom. I mean the Cable Show is still going strong (I think anyway – maybe it has its problems too) and my impression is every other major industry still has a signature show. Shouldn't we?

      1. Bernie, perhaps other major related industries, that can still support the mega-event like CES, are much better at developing a compelling value proposition for prospective attendees. Truly, I've been underwhelmed by most telecom related shows for some time now.

        Moreover, if I was a vendor looking at where to invest my limited marketing budget today, relative to the proven ROI track record, then I wouldn't be exhibiting at a trade shows. I would gladly present at a session, or participate in a panel, but not exhibit.

        Supercomm organizers found themselves in an unfortunate situation — an expensive unfocused event in search of an engaged audience of exhibitors and prospective attendees. Therefore, time to re-imagine the event — based upon the real needs of the major exhibitors, and start over from the ground up. It's all good. This is an opportunity for meaningful progress.

  2. I am surprised it lasted this long. I am an old hat and attended the first Supercomm. It was called Southeastern Independent Telecommunications Exposition and was held in Birmingham, AL. It was the idea of Mrs. Jean Brandli, who was President of the United States Independent Telephone Association. It was originally intended to be a regional showcase and there were five of them established in different regions of the country. The regional settings were to enable the telecommunications staff people to be able to attend the showcases to see the products the vendors were displaying. After several years and mergers of associations, the United States Telecommunications Association (USTA) took it over and sponsored one gigantic "Supercomm". The show became so large over the years and other associations came in to help organize the event. It also became so large and so expensive to attend that smaller telcos could only afford to send management staff and not the people who actually worked with the equipment. It just became overwhelming to the attendees as well as very expensive for the vendor community. Now everyone is cutting back so it may be time to get back to the smaller venue.

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