Lessons from the San Jose, CA. Y2K Expo

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I just attended the Y2K Expo at the San Jose giant convention center. The organizers seem to be good people who sincerely want to educate people. The Joseph's project were involved to help get the church people to attend. Somehow the expected crowd did not turn out. Most of the big name speakers did not draw a big crowd. The biggest crowd (many Asians)came to hear Raymond Kwong (sp?) speak. From talking to the exhibitors and conferees, there seems to be a lot of complacency in this region, ironically the silicon valley! Looks like unfortunately, many will lose money due to this show. But one person said the organizers had great attendance in a previous Y2K expo, I think it 's Seattle. Perhaps what we can learn from this is 1. location, location. The center is huge and nice, but somehow the crowd did not want to go to downtown. Since I am not local, I don't understand. 2. Some complain they did not appear to have any full or half page ad. in the paper. I did see a billboard and heard radio spots. Again, I don't know enough about advertizing. A friend of mine went to the sacramento Y2K expo, they had 6,ooo(?). But he also heard that sacramento people loves to go to expos. They usually had good crowds. 3. This expo is from Wed to Fri. because they could not book it for Fri. to sunday. Don't most peple have to work weekdays? Anyone had experience in organizing a Y2K expo? What are the success factors? I hope somebody will try again in our area, because apparently many people did not hear of the event. Anyone attended that expo too?

-- Andy (andyt@abc.com), April 11, 1999


The Seattle Expo possibly benefitted from misleading advertising. I remember seeing a news segment previewing the show saying it was not for Y2K pessimists but for common ordinary folk. That doesn't quite square with Jim Lord and Chuck Missler being keynote speakers.

-- Not Impressed (with@y2k.expos), April 11, 1999.

Attended Seattle. It was much larger -- supported by the public -- because there are more active Y2K community organizations up there. Better name speakers too.

Attended San Jose on Friday and was stunned by the lack of attendance. (Perhaps 1/10th in comparison). I think it's due more to Silicon Valley's inattention to the potential problems.

Will comment on speaker notes later.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 11, 1999.

I believe lack of attendance is due to:
(1) weekday scheduling in contrast to weekend
(2) relative lack of advertising
(3) a form of techno-hubris in the general silicon valley community.
Almost everyone is busy in the valley. I had to take time off to get to attend. There was no buzz about the show in any of the local interest circles that I was aware of.

Diane, looking forward to your report!

steve14XXXatXXXhomeXXXdotXXXcom (remove XXX's)

-- steve14 (x@y.z), April 11, 1999.

As I posted earlier I attended when the Expo Opened on Wed. There were lots of TV camera's but it sure did not materialize into free advertizing.... I did not hear or see one Main Stream report on the Expo. I did not see and advertizing or hear any ads on the radio. I learned about the expo on this site. Like preaching to the choir. Most of the professional engineers and managers I talk to in the valley are convinced that Y2K will be a nonevent. Maybe they will buy 5 gal of water and take $500 out of the bank... That is big time preparation in the valley...

It is really scarry because if this attitude remains the norm we are getting set up for a real nightmare senario.... No food no water, no supplies.. Chaossss.....

It will take the loss of jobs and a stock market tank to get the attention of this bunch before the big one hits. The 401 injection into the market is over on Thursday, maybe a little dip in the market will wake up some of these techno wizards....

-- helium (heliumavid@yahoo.com), April 11, 1999.

The people who organized the San Jose Expo are decent people. They have made great sacrifice. I have come to appreciate them. It's not that they have not spent enough money in the expo, perhaps in hindsight more money could have been allocated to newspaper ads & radio spots. I helped them to contact one popular radio station to pay the host to come down. He could not fit it into his schedule. Another station did not agressively help promote it. I told them from day one , do not pick a weekday to start the Expo, but they sincerely felt they have had a good attendance on a weekday before. I guess locations differ. Also, I called for joint press conference with 2 Oakland Y2K awareness groups the week before on the bay area Y2K remediation progress with a hope to get the word out on the expo, guess how many reporters came? 5. All were Asians. The major paper, TV, radio stations di not bother to come! The day before, Oakland had a major breakthrough in that the city finally agree to launch a city-wide Y2K awareness campaign, guess how many reporters came? 2. small paper/radio. The complacency is pathetic! But there were some good things that came out. Some filipino, Japanese & especially the chinese communities got a breakthrough. About 90% of those who attended my presentation Friday afternoon ended up being serious about preparation. They were seen buying barrels, food, and natural medicine. Some vendors got a boost. It's tough to educate people about Y2K. I have been talking about it for over 1 1/2 year. At first my words were falling on deaf ears. I now believe 90% of the people in the Bay Area will not be prepared (at least adequately) by year end. But we just must not quit! Next Saturday, I will donate my time to help answer questions at the Oakland Y2K fair (supported by the city council & mayor).

-- Raymond Kwong (kcorner67@hotmail.com), April 11, 1999.

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