Dscoop5 – Funny Name, Serious Conference

More than 1,500 users of HP Indigo and wide-format technology attended the Dscoop users’ group event in Dallas last week. I was at the first Dscoop five years ago. There were a couple hundred people there and at the time I had some doubts that this fledgling group would ever amount to much. After all, it was conceived as an independent group of users of HP equipment, but it relied heavily on the support of HP itself. How independent could it be? Obviously, the folks behind the Dscoop organization have made it work. The group does more than gather once a year for a conference and trade show. It also offers members year-round educational opportunities, peer groups for owners and technicians, online discussion forums, and discounts from “partners.” There were some 80 partners at the Dallas event, ranging from Adobe to xpdex and featuring many major players in the digital production printing arena. Certainly, HP’s support was obvious, but the event revolved around current users and only a tiny handful of prospective buyers of HP equipment was invited. The four educational tracks (Business & Sales, Operations, Labels & Packaging, and Large-Format & Signage) offered practical content, mostly devoid of sales pitches. All in all, this was a very impressive example of how a vendor and its customers can interact for their mutual benefit.