Lowered Expectations

Judging from the outpouring of post show press releases from vendors, Print 09 went very well. Release headlines have included such gems as: “record sales … success story … well-received … results oriented … surpassed expectation.” I have written about how the first four days of the show were a mixed bag as far as attendance went. In reality, the six-day show finished much stronger than it started. Were the vendors happy? Well, that is always a tough question to answer. Having done the show circuit for more than 20 years, I have a pretty good handle on which vendors would gripe even if their booths were inundated with customers and which would put the best possible spin on lethargic attendance. What makes a show successful? Is it good attendance? Or is it the quality of the attendees? Or perhaps a bit of both? Prior to the show I was reminded of the football coaches who talk up the opposition – even if it’s The Little Sisters of the Poor University – and downplay their own formidable talents. Lower expectations so that if the game is a disaster they can say “I told you so,” and if they stomp the opponent as expected they can claim a glorious win. Expectations were certainly lowered prior to Print 09 and the result was a show that indeed “surpassed expectations.” In these times I think that’s a victory.

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