Turning Archive 2006

Symposia and vendors - a view

Ed Moore
>I think that some of the rhetoric about symposia organizers and vendors needs to be reined in a little. Until recently I was one of sixteen board members of the Virginia Symposia and I have had a fabulous time at two OVWG symposia and at Louisville. Yes, things can be improved, but these events are run by volunteers and the operational aspects are NOT understood by the general populace.

There were comments about which lathes could be sold by a vendor at some symposium. Let's look at things from the viewpoint of the vendor who very kindly supplies a large Brand X lathe for use at a symposium. That vendor has done a great service, so I think he deserves a little slack and has earned the right to be the only vendor there selling Brand X and if he puts a sign on the lathe pointing out that this Brand X lathe is for sale, SO WHAT! Vendors make their living by selling their products, should we expect them to be nothing but charities and never grant them some reciprocity? Understandably, another Brand X supplier would be shut out of that symposium and I don't see that as politics, but as a consequence of loyalty to the vendor who supplied the Brand X lathe for demonstrations at no cost to the symposium.

In Louisville a demonstrator could not find his keyless chuck and had no cash with him, so he went to a vendor and asked him to trust him to pay for it later. The vendor did, the demonstrator's audience was told where to get a great deal on keyless chucks, the vendor sold out of the chucks as a result, and the vendor would not let the demonstrator pay for his chuck when he went back later to settle up. And you say "What's your point?" Simply, the vendors provide more than an opportunity to spend money, they actively support the symposia and its operation.

The AAW board and associated volunteers are honorable folks who by and large work their fannies off trying to produce good symposia. And I thank and applaud them. I think they learned this time that as the number of attendees increases linearly the associated problems increase exponentially - so that doubling a crowd doesn't just double the problems, the problems may increase by a factor of 6 or 7.

Frankly, I appreciate the contributions the vendors make to help the symposium be a success. And I don't see politics as the villain here.

Just a point of view.


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