McIlroy--The (Hidden) Meaning of DRUPA
After the show, several vendors announced record sales from DRUPA. But that's not surprising. Most hardware vendors suffer a sales drought in the months prior to the event, as savvy customers delay purchases, knowing that DRUPA will feature product updates and pricing specials.
Some analysts and vendors say that the big news at DRUPA was in digital printing. Benny Landa, president and CEO of Indigo, described DRUPA 2000 as "the digital printing Olympics." But digital printing was big news at DRUPA 1995. Is it still big news five years later?
I walked by Indigo's booth late in the show, and Landa was up on the stage, drawing a big crowd to demonstrations of Indigo's latest boxes. All I could do was remember Landa up on the stage five years before, offering his charismatic presentation. I had the very perverse thought that he had perhaps been in Dusseldorf the whole time, presenting his shtick five times a day throughout.
Past Meets Future
It was somehow appropriate, too, that Germany had managed to tie DRUPA 2000 into another celebration, the 600th birthday of Johannes Gutenberg (or so they guess; no one knows exactly when he was born). Held in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg's birthplace, the year-long festival features exhibits, concerts, lectures and the "Gutenberg Marathon," a foot race. The tie into the musty origins of printing and publishing served only to ground DRUPA in the past, rather than the future, heightening for me the sense that DRUPA 2000 was not the place to be if you wanted to understand where this business is going.
Was there anything interesting at DRUPA? About the only thing that sticks in my mind a month after the event is developments in the print dotcom arena. We've all heard of the big North American dotcoms—companies like Collabria, Impresse, Noosh and printCafe. One of the interesting sports was watching them try to corral booth space at DRUPA. The show essentially sells out of exhibit space years before the event, but print dotcoms are only a couple of years old, so they came too late to the party. Collabria et al at least have some cash to throw around. Would the newer and smaller print dotcoms be able to find a spot to showcase their offerings?