COFES 2009

I will be attending the CAD Oscars again this coming April. As will 5 Bob’s, 3 Dave’s and a David, 3 Michael’s and a Mike and a couple of Brian’s, Chris’, Scott’s, Mark’s, Joe’s and Joel’s. Take a look at the list of Key Participants for COFES 2009. My title clearly stands out of the crowd: “Blogger,”.

This year the theme is Innovation. I asked Brad Holtz and Joel Orr of Cyon Research, the organisers of COFES, the reason why they chose Innovation this time. According to Joel, innovation is the major factor driving Manufacturing and AEC and it seemed like the obvious choice.

Brad tells me that attendee count is capped at 300. Remember that COFES is an invitation only event and before you apply note that the organizers expect you to hold a position which, in their words, “empowers you to implement strategic technology decisions in your company”. In a typical year, 15% of attendees are from the user community and 20% are from the press and analyst community, which explains why my name is on the list.

I asked which event competes with COFES, or whether it has a competitor in the first place. Joel does not believe that there is a competing event to COFES. “Just about everyone who comes to COFES wants to come back”, says Joel and I agree. I definately wanted to. “The COFES experience is unlike any other, and nobody else has come up with anything like it. We continue to improve it each year — but very carefully, because we have, by design and by chance, created something magical, and we want to sustain the magic.” Brad adds, “In some respects, COFES fills a void that was created with the death of the major, cross-vendor shows like AEC Systems, NCGA, and Autofact. Today, only Siggraph remains. All of the other events that are healthy are focused on a single vendor (AU, COE, SolidWorks World, BE, etc.) COFES is the industry event where vendors in multiple verticals can get have a conversation in a non-selling environment. That’s a major part of why COFES is a community event and why there really aren’t any direct competitors to it.”

I asked why COFES was held at the Scottsdale Plaza every year. Here is Brad’s explanation, “A key component of why COFES works is that we are never in a building for more than 90 minutes without going outside to move to a new venue. The connection with the outside is important and we need a location that can almost guarantee sunshine. Also, the event must be relatively easy to travel to. An executive can leave the office at noon from any major city in the continental US and still be at the event in time for the opening reception.”

I look forward to COFES 2009. My only worry is that, like last time, I have to use four planes and five airports to get my sorry ass there. And then I have to get it back to India.