In the past couple days I read an interesting little fact. More American’s are getting their news on a daily basis from the internet than from print media. Of course I read this fact in a newspaper…since I still cling to the old familiar while also trying to embrace the new.
It started me onto a whole chain of thinking about how differently we do business now than we did in the ‘80’s when I started out doing AV. The hottest new projector was one that could project an actual computer signal (dimly) in a very dark room. And huge multi-image shows were the norm. For all you kids out there…multi-image was a “Frankenstein monster” of technologies that allowed us to take a huge number of slide projectors (ask your grandparents about those…) and blend those images into a massive picture that was synchronized with music via some other primitive gear and a DOS based (more questions for granddad) software program.
When it all worked, it could be a thing of beauty. When it failed, it could be a train wreck of epic proportions. My last memory of a multi-image show I was involved in will always remain the sound of my projectionist on a scaffold tower hidden behind the drape banging very loudly on a box (those were called a “DoveX2” and made by a company called AVL who no longer exist.) to make the electro-mechanical relays inside of it come unstuck so we could re-start the show after it had locked up in mid stream….And people wonder why I have so little hair…
Then, my thoughts turned to phonebooks…I mean, I used to have stacks of phone books piled around my desk for call exotic places like Denver or Cleveland and using them to try and figure out where I could sub-rent some lighting tree bases because ours had been left off of a truck when it drove away from San Diego.
Does anyone still use a phonebook? I can’t remember the last time that I opened one.
Sometimes things just pass from our business with little notice, one day they just are used less and less until you suddenly realize it’s been five years since you’ve needed or thought about what item it is that you used to not be able to live without.
I think the challenge that we all face is staying aware of the little things that make up how we do our events as they evolve. We get so lost in the myriad of details that flood us each day…and then that show ends we’re right on to the next, bigger, better and brighter one. I think that for many of us we sometimes don’t step back and look at everything. We just move forward on pure energy and momentum.
You never want to do things by rote because that’s how you’ve always done it. But you also don’t want to throw out what’s good and effective while simply chasing the “new and improved”.
In this current business economy it makes sense to me to look back at what’s worked well in the past, as well as forward to what new innovations you can use to excite and engage your attendees.
I guess that’s why I still read the newspaper, but I tossed out the old phonebooks. One still works for my daily needs and the other doesn’t anymore.
-Jon Trask Alliant Event Services Inc.