We spent last week at the IAAPA trade show in Orlando. If you have never been, I can assure you it is probably one of the most active, colorful, and noisy assaults on your senses that you will ever experience. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions covers a lot of territory – manufacturers of roller coasters, arcade games, bungee jumpers, zip lines, robotics, food and drink distribution, water parks, plush toys, interactive carnival games, inflatables from little bounce houses to 40 foot tall behemoths – and this only begins to describe the spectacle. I doubt any other show packs in more fun per square foot.
We are still decompressing from the 4-day show, but one of the most powerful impressions we have taken home with us is that you can quickly tell which companies have figured out what business they are in, and which ones don’t know yet. A lot of these companies want to tell you about how much better their manufacturing processes are, or that they use superior materials, or that their wear surfaces are this weight material, and they meet ISO #10 Million, and blah, blah, blah. And others will just hand you the laser rifle to try, or a cup of Dippin’ Dots, or strap a ten year old into a harness and stand back grinning when they fire off the bungees and send them squealing into the sky.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you where the lines formed.
There was a great piece in Home Textiles recently that talks about the failure of the railroads (it was actually about the Amazon impact on retail) and how they were so involved in trying to outperform each other on the rails that they missed the rise of the airline industry. They believed they were in the railroad business when they should have known they were in the transportation business; they were completely blindsided and gave up their position as the undisputed leader in long distance transportation. We saw this first hand at the show – the difference between companies that think they are in the manufacturing business, and those who have realized they are manufacturers in the entertainment business. It may seem like word play but it is a critical distinction.
How about you, what business are you in? Think you are an artist in the art business? Maybe an artist in the licensing business? Or are you an artist who works to assist manufacturers in the product design business? Are you focused on getting your designs out there making money, or on helping your customers have an enjoyable experience?
Think about it, and remember, the line forms on the right….