More on a SWSX/ETC for Houston
I'm back from SoCal for my brother's wedding, and I have a new appreciation for what people mean when they say "LA traffic." It's a whole 'nother level well beyond anything you find in Houston. Traffic that *creeps* along at less than 10mph for miles on end. Really painful, hair-pulling stuff. And their HOV diamond lanes are worthless, as far as I can tell, because they're almost always as slow as the main lanes - they're just a sorting mechanism that puts all the cars with 2 or more people in the left lane. The weekends seem as bad as the weekdays. An eight-lane freeway to San Diego is already running full at 8:30am on a Saturday. And don't even try to imagine how bad it is by the afternoon - both directions. I can't fathom how the people who live there stand it.
Continuing my post from a couple weeks ago on establishing a major Energy Technology Conference in Houston - this is from an email exchange, responding to an option of targeting various renewable conferences:
For what it's worth, I would argue that the goal should be to establish *the* largest, signature, flagship conference on energy technology in the world, broadly covering both renewables and traditional sources. It should be the one that attracts the broader generalist media - not just the niche industry media. As an example, there are lots of auto shows, but the Detroit one is where the major announcements and product unveilings are made, and both the industry and general media give it strong coverage. There are lots of film festivals, but all the buzz is around Sundance and Cannes. Comdex in Vegas used to be that show for technology (and they would *fill* the city with it, booking almost all available hotel rooms - it was the "must attend" event for everyone in tech). Austin's SXSW has become that level of show in music and creative media.
Sure, different sub-industries and specialists will tend to stick to their parts of the show, but we want generalists to find it interesting and be able to see an overview of all the technology developments going on in the broad area of energy. These shows tend to be so large, visitors can't possibly see everything even if they want to - but that's ok: they have to pick and choose, or, better yet, bring a team with them to cover everything. Ideally it requires both Reliant *and* the GRB. We want to be the kind of event where every substantial media organization feels they need a reporter filing "News from the annual Energy Technology Expo in Houston" - the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Forbes, CNN and the other news networks just to name a few. That's the kind of buzz you can't buy.
Somebody will establish this kind of signature annual event in energy technology. I just hope it's us instead of California, Colorado, Austin, or elsewhere.
Update 6/24/11: It's happening!
Labels: economic strategy, economy, energy, environment, identity, tourism