by Tom Isler | January 01, 2009

old coverTwenty years ago this month, M&C ran a cover story about Sheldon G. Adelson, then president and CEO of the Interface Group, organizer of COMDEX, a trade show for the computer industry. Adelson later became one of the richest men in the world as CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

In 1989, Adelson spoke about promoting COMDEX during tough economic times for the computer industry -- and his insights are particularly relevant today. There are two options, he said: "You can conclude that all marketing and promotional dollars are wasted because nobody is going to buy anyway, or you can conclude the contrary, that the world hasn't evaporated and that there is still business out there, albeit less.

"The point is," he continued, "while everyone else is tightening their belts, you start crowing a bit about the qualities of your show and why they should go. Whatever market share is out there, you have a better chance of getting. And to me, the more people you convince of that philosophy, the better you'll be in saving your own trade show."