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Re: AJA will not be on-site at NAB2020

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Tim Wilson
Re: AJA will not be on-site at NAB2020
on Mar 10, 2020 at 7:10:57 am

And now Adobe has pulled out of NAB. Making the Adobe Summit online-only was a no-brainer, because they were hosting that themselves, but pulling out of exhibiting at NAB is increasingly obviously a no-brainer too (sez me). I'll let their announcement at The Adobe Blog speak for itself.

Each year, we look forward to seeing our video community at NAB to talk about the latest trends and our product innovations. Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring and evaluating the situation around COVID-19 and have made the difficult but important decision to cancel our presence at the show this year.

While we are disappointed, the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners are always our priority. We look forward to engaging with our NAB community through a digital experience in the near future.

That's it. That's the whole announcement. Nothing extreme, no "this is the end of trade shows", just an acknowledgment that this year is different, so they'll do something different.

I came across an article at The Verge that presents a statistical model for what happens when you cancel public gatherings like festivals during epidemics called "flattening the curve" -- not that event cancellations cause outbreaks to zero out, but that they keep peaks from occurring, which makes treatment easier and creates less burden on public resources. Canceling events early can help keep an outbreak from getting worse

One especially illuminating chart shows the difference between what happened in St. Louis in 1918, which banned sporting events and closed cinemas early in the influenza outbreak, vs. Philadelphia, which went forward with plans for a parade. One of them had a death rate that peaked at only one-fifth of the other, but spent most of the outbreak at more like a tenth of the other. Any guesses which was which?

How'd you do on your guess? LOL Thought so. There's literally nothing to be gained by treating this year as business as usual, and a considerable amount to lose.

I saw another image in another Verge article that made me think some more about thinking different, in a much broader way. It's kind of obvious if you think about it, but now that China is observing a number of travel restrictions, it's made for a huge drop in air pollution. I'm not making any political observations about Chinese policy or government intervention in general. I'm just reading a map, and the map says, fewer cars on the road has meant clearer skies.

Here's the article, which gets into a lot of extra nerdery. I am an extra kind of nerd, so I dug it, and you might too.

So I've been looking at things like, companies who've for years strongly discouraged working from home, if not forbidding outright, now requiring it. Companies canceling in-person events. Dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, business travel. Doing all hiring interviews using web conferencing.

What if, just as a tape shortage following a devastating tsunami forced us to acknowledge that there was really nothing holding us back from adopting tapeless workflows, we could use this challenging time to admit that we've been making ourselves do a lot of stuff that we just don't need to do.

There will always be exchanges that are more efficient in person, making dozens of deals in little more time than it takes to make a couple, insights to be gleaned from informal conversations after formal presentations, boundless pleasures of finding miracles in the festival film we saw and loved when the one we'd wanted to see sold out, and so on -- but really, honestly, we don't need to go to the office so often or stay so long. We don't need to take as many business trips. We don't need as many events. We really can live longer, be happier, and have everything about our world be better if we just decided that we'd rather do that than chase one more widget that we'll only believe exists if we see it in person, hundreds or thousands of miles away from home.

All this stuff will be around next year, but it won't matter if we're not. And yeah, in virtually no scenario are most of us in the most vulnerable populations, so we'll all still be around even if we lick all the handrails at the airport....but wouldn't it be cool if we spent some of the time NOT going to all this stuff and taking all these trips to think about how we can build a media production lifestyle that actually makes our lives more sane, instead of more exhausting?

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