Archive for February, 2018

Message from the Universe

February 6th, 2018

Not sure who knows, or how many of you know that I live in Israel.

You would have thought that my ‘Message from the Universe’ would be interesting enough it it were only entitled ‘Message from Israel’. In fact, I HAVE been writing ‘Letter from Israel’ since the turn of the Millennium. I am in the process of uploading them to the Net; most of them can be seen via Just go to the site an centre ‘Stephen’, and you will find my 2 sections: one pretty picture of me is the cover for my ‘books’ on any subject. The other picture of me, under the Milky Way (a true image of me at the Mitzpe Ramon crater, taken by Jeff Pulver – look him up) is the cover for my ‘Letters from Israel’. Well over 300 of them.

[Believe it or not, I am writing this message at a coffee house in my neighbourhood, and at the table next to me sits Yair Lapid, potential successor to Netanyahu. I could add that I lived in the same building as Shimon Peres, 2 houses down from where Itzhak Rabin lived, and so on…That’s how small this country is.]


The changing Dental Exhibition

Back in the mid 60s, when I started in the dental industry, the dental exhibitions were ‘a little different’ to say the least.

Only perhaps the IDS, which is officially the provenance of the German dental industry, has changed little in format – except

  • It’s every 2 years, instead of every 3
  • The location is now permanently located in Cologne, as opposed to a different German city each time
  • Used to be 6 days, now only 5 (first day continues to be Dealer Day)
  • The ‘pavilion’ is now a popular format: a forum for a country’s ‘smaller’ or newer companies to present their goods as part of a ‘national club’, whereby all arrangements are made on their behalf by the club. I believe the Americans were the first to introduce this (through the then-DMA, now known as the DMA), but were closely followed by the British, Italian, Korean, Israeli and many other national organisations.  In fact, this has become the norm at many of the larger international shows, as in Dubai, Singapore and Sao Paulo.

Of course, one factor for any show is the identity of the organisers. Is it the dental profession, or the trade, or a combination of both?

Next is whether the show is combined with a conference. (That’s of course when you get attendance peaks and lows…And then, the location of the trade area and the flow of people to and from that area is a paramount influence on the success of the show.

The big company, whether trade or manufacturer, is understandably a do or die influence. When company ‘A’ decides to miss out, there will be a percentage drop of attendees. And that usually has a domino effect: other companies dropping out and more absentees.

Same thing for dealers. In Europe, there used to be separate shows for companies inside and outside the relevant association. European law stopped that, and bona fide dealers were forced to share their hall with catalogue companies, discount houses and now, online entities. So some larger dealers just abandoned the shows and established their own ‘open house days’ – a closed trade show.

I’ll be attending the Chicago MidWinter meeting in 2 weeks’ time. My first was in 1967, when it was held in the Conrad Hilton. That’s another change in format that has been dramatic. Certainly the case in the USA, shows were held in hotels, which guaranteed confusion. Stands in strange-shaped halls and corridors; stands which were so hidden, their own staff had trouble finding them. (And, with rare exceptions, then rental for the best spaces was the same as the hidden spaces). Even when they had reconstruction work at the Hilton, the show venue became the Hyatt Regency, not an expo centre.

Somehow, that system worked. But of course, the attendance rate was much higher; the atmosphere totally different from today. It would almost unthinkable today not to have a show at regular trade fairground or centre – in Chicago, it’s the McCormick Center.  (And, whether in Sweden, Italy, India or Brazil, the norm is a symmetrical building at a location outside the city, with good private and public transport access).

Paris remains an exception. The ADF is held every late-November, always timed just before or after the Greater New York, so that to attend the opening of one and the closing of the other, you have to be ‘beamed’.

The Palais de Congrès is located within Paris. The building complex includes a entertainment venue and limited shopping mall. Now held on 4 floors, the lay-out of the expo is most strange. Unquestionably divided into ‘popular’ and ‘less popular’ locations – again all of which cost the same rental. They’ve half-solved that problem by grouping stands by subject: equipment, implants, hygiene, digital technology etc.

But….there are few complaints, either from the exhibitors or from the visitors.

Perhaps because it’s Paris. A great city on any day.