BrainShare, what next

As promised, some additional information.

The BrainShare Forum announcement of the cancellation. I've met Mr. Groneman. He works with the BrainShare crew, as does a lot of Novell, as he has to get the Support and SysOp areas set up. He's also the guy who is (I believe) in charge of the whole thing. He states clearly that this is not the end of BrainShare for good, this year's step was taken due to the apparently marked decrease in registrations they've received to date.

Brainstorming some replacement ideas for the short term. One item mentioned a lot in the above thread was to have an ATT Live event during the same week as BrainShare is now, presumably to allow the people with nonrefundable air tickets to get SOMETHING out of the travel.

GWAVACon is offering discounts to BrainShare attendees, now that their travel budgets suddenly have more room. They claim they have more than just GWAVA and GroupWise there.

There are some hard economic factors that figure in here, I'm sure. Until this year, I understand that BrainShare attendance had been growing. From personal experience, the groups that had seen the most growth were the IDM and Linux portions of the conference. More than once I've heard BrainShare attendees say it feels more like a Linux conference than anything else, any more. Still, they were seeing regular growth. To see a sharp decline? That's clearly overall economics at work.

I know that the Sponsors for BrainShare expect to reach a certain number of attendees, and if Novell can't deliver the head-count, it could go poorly. Also, the $1695 reg-fee is heavily subsidized by both Novell and sponsors. While direct per-person costs such as food-service are rather low, the sunk costs of the Salt Palace and other such items are a fixed cost, so having fewer people around means the apportioned fixed-cost-per-head is much higher when attendance is down a lot. A lot of those contracts were probably signed months ago and have no back-out clause, or those that do have punative penalties associated, so Novell isn't saving a lot of money by doing this.

Also, Novell is not the only group cancelling a big trade show. MacWorld will be Jobs-free this next time around, and there are others. I guess travel-bans are one of the first things that employers are putting in place in light of reduced income, and that's really taking a bite out of the convention-business.

I wonder how the big Las Vegas hotels will make out?