One trend that has been ongoing in the industry for some time now is the value of smaller conferences, user-group meetings, and specialized trade shows.  PODi’s AppForum is one of them.  The organizers of the event bill it as more of a boot camp styled learning experience than just a show.   

The event kicks off on Monday, January 28th and runs through Wednesday.  This year there are 5 full tracks with over 40 sessions that will challenge attendees to learn something new and apply it to their business.  Each day will also feature one general session with a keynote speaker to kick things off.  Last year Ken Schmidt, former Communication Director at Harley Davidson Motor Company, was one of the keynote speakers and he talked to attendees about breaking out of a traditional printing model and how to differentiate your business to eliminate the “commoditization” of print media.  

We were lucky enough to have Ken sit down with WhatTheyThink at the show last year and share some thoughts from his keynote on video.  (View video from Jan. 25, 2012)

We talk to many printers at this event and almost all of them tell us this is a “go-to event”, one that they just won’t miss.  I think this happens because it is very focused, small, accessible, and has attracted both thought leaders as well as those who are engaged in the application of leading industry thinking in their businesses.  The event is a literal who’s who of the tip of the new printing industry spear.  

This year’s conference attendees will represent over 150 different companies.

In addition to the morning keynotes, there will be panel discussions, case studies, and intensive sessions that will help printers with best practices and strategies for keeping their businesses ahead of the curve.  Networking, as with any live event, is another great benefit of the AppForum.  It’s always good to surround yourself with the smartest people you can and the AppForum is full of printers who are finding ways to avoid commodity pricing and increase their overall profits, leverage solution based selling, maximize the use of cross-media, and growing segments of the industry like wide format and packaging.  

Events like these are fun to go to and WhatTheyThink enjoys being a part of it.  Even we come away energized and more excited about the industry we cover after being at the AppForum.  We also come away with some great video content to share with you over the course of the year.  Many of our best segments you saw in 2012 came directly from this event.

That reminds me.  We’re shooting video at the AppForum!  If you are a printer, a print service provider, print buyer, consultant, vendor, or anyone else who has ideas worthy of sharing please get in touch while there and stop by the WhatTheyThink studio.  Our studio should be conspicuously located and we welcome everyone to pay a visit even if they don’t intend to shoot a video.  If you’d like to schedule a 30 minute slot, just send me a quick email: [email protected]

We look forward to seeing old faces and new next week in Las Vegas for what we know will be a great event.