Encompass launched the drumbeat of marketing for its 2007 conference during the past week. Today HP chipped in a new verse to the "come commune with us" song. HP's e-mail shows how essential the user group meeting has become to HP communication with customers. Between the lines (as Adager's Alfredo Rego would say about a love letter), HP's e-mail also explains why the traditional autumn conference called the HP Technology Forum has jumped ahead to be a midsummer meeting this year at The Mandalay Bay.
HP now calls this year's June 18-21 meetings in Las Vegas "the trifecta" by including a long-standing HP Americas StorageWorks conference and a new "HP Software Universe" on the agenda. The Storage meeting has always been held much earlier in HP's fiscal year, unlike the Tech Forum held twice in HP's Q4. But since HP is ever alert to the possibilities of collaboration and consolidation (both good for profitability), the three meetings now merge in a single week.
It's kind of like having a "South by Southwest" week-plus rear its head in Austin, instead of the original three-day music festival. Us Austinites have watched the engine of the week, the Austin Chronicle, rev up just-ended SXSW to include Interactive (Web and gaming) and Film festivals, all overlapping by a bit. We see a lot of hipsters in the coffee shops here for about 10 days in March. We also see movies and hear music which may never see screens or ring ears again (alas, no distribution deals for much of the content). And if you design for the Web or create interactive software, well, you can find out how far you've fallen behind the cutting edge.
You will need cut loose an invitation to HP's StorageWorks meeting, held at the more tony Venetian resort a few casinos down the street. For the HP 3000 customer, the new Trifecta could offer a way to combine three research trips into a single junket, and in the city of Lost Wages, no less. The only downside we can see is The Weather in June. The temperature on last June 18 topped out at 107 degrees. But it's a dry heat, my mom says, having lived there since 1990. Of course, those Las Vegas resorts boast the Superdome of air conditioning. A tram takes you between resorts for a few dollars a ride. At night, June's outside air almost makes it down out of the 80s.
If only HP and Encompass had decided back in 2005 to make their new show a mid-June event, perhaps the Interex HP user group would still be around. (Perhaps not, considering the debt which was already on the back of Interex.) Back then, the new Encompass event was scheduled less than a month after the promised HP World show. HP World never raised its 2005 curtain. The '05 Tech Forum ran into Hurricane Katrina, but retreated to Orlando to emerge as the only remaining North American HP technology show.