I ended up spending much of the time not in the sessions, but trolling the reception areas looking for that big story. It didnâ€™t come.
My view of show dailies is pretty emphatic: They need to NOT be about the sessions and speakers that everyone sees and hears anyway. They need to be about the buzz. They need to be conversations starters. As in, â€śCan you believe the management team at Penton is getting $12.5 million?â€ť Or, â€śDid you hear VNU may be changing its name?â€ť Etc. This is the lifeblood of a good daily in this spaceâ€”Peter Craig called our daily a â€śrag,â€ť but heâ€™s wrong.
This is especially true of the TMM, which is all about high-level networking, with a bit of content mixed in. Itâ€™s about CEOs, CFOs and suppliers, especially bankers, brokers, lenders and private equity.
So anyway, I spend the day Wednesday looking for the next big breaking story, and didnâ€™t get it. And near the end of the day, I reset my thinking. What ARE people talking about, if not the next big deal? And smart lenders like David VanderLugt of Goldman Sachs, Seth Rosenfield of BMO Capital Markets, David Harrington of GE Capital and others led me to the story: The world of b-to-b publishing is awash with easy money, which is helping to fuel all the M&A activity over the last year or so.
What the heck, rates are at historic lows, and lenders are willing too extend far out on the limb, providing much of the leverage for private-equity buyers. But some lenders are talking now about excess, about the climate not being sustainable. Once one or two loans default, they say, watch out.
Not to say more deals are coming fast: Look for Ziff Davis too be broken up in the months ahead and perhaps for Advanstar to come out again next year.
Meanwhile, some of the other blogs were weighing in on the conference, including a brief but typically insightful and humorous post from Rex Hammock and the ABMâ€™s own Steve Ennen on Mediapace.
And Iâ€™m hoping my capable colleagues Matt Kinsman and Bill Mickey will be weighing in soon on the actual sessions. More...
Paul Conley wrote a terrific item on e-media ethics on October 3, riffing off a recent Folio: magazine article, but also updating a recurrent theme on his blog. In the past he has covered this topic extensively, including September 25, August 23, , and November 15, 2005.
It wasnâ€™t so much as the fact that he referred to a story of ours. Conleyâ€”more than ASBPE or ASME, in my opinion, has been really working the ethics issue, taking offenders to task and laying out a reasoned, and unwavering direction for those grappling with what is acceptable and what is not online.
Meanwhile, a b-to-b blogger of significance, David Shaw, appears to have gone dark. His blog at B-Or-Not-to-B is gone after sitting dormant for a month and a half after a post about Penton Media in mid-August. I e-mailed David a while back, and there was no response. If heâ€™s stopped blogging, heâ€™ll be missed. David is one of the astute observers of this industry.
Meanwhile, I like what I see from American Business Mediaâ€™s Sara Sheadel on ABMâ€™s Mediapace blog. I think sheâ€™s posted only three times, but each combines insight, wit, a clear, clean writing style and a point of view. Plus one of her posts had video. Nice work to Sara at Mediapace.More...