The fact that it took two shuttle buses to get from the hotel to the Orlando Convention Center , where Microsoft held its annual Convergence user conference says something. There was a quick walk from my room at Disney’s Caribbean Resort to the hotel’s shuttle to take me to a bus stop to pick up the shuttle to the convention center. It took 48 minutes to get to the show.

Then, there was the normal “big event’ at shows like this, a party at the Universal Citi Walk. Since there were no buses from the Convention Center to the party, we had to return to our hotels—and drop off a laptop because bags wouldn’t have been permitted at Universal.

That meant a shuttle to the hotel bus stop, a shuttle to my room, a run into the room to drop off the computer, a sprint back to the bus stop, waiting for the hotel shuttle, which took me to the shuttle to Universal.

From the convention center until the time I entered the Universal property, it took 90 minutes. I spent three hours of my convention-going time on buses the first day.

Outside of the personal aggravation, this speaks to the fact that Convergence, which has been my favorite show, has gotten too large. And there were some resellers saying the same thing.

After I reached the party, one reseller came up to me, “This place is packed and you’re the only person I’ve seen that I know. There are 10,000 people here and I don’t know 9,950 of them.”

The secret to a good show rests on common experience. Lacking that, we might as well be at a mall with 10,000 people.

Convergence has, in fact, become two shows. The first day, reserved for resellers, is proving popular because it’s everything Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference isn’t.

The resellers show up there, and then they start skipping things, like the question-and-answer session with MBS executives. I heard comments about the session. I couldn’t find anyone who attended. The rest of the show is what we’ve always called Convergence, except that it’s become an ungainly mass.

Shows that outgrow their usefulness can collapse. That happened to the Comdex computer show, although its demise wasn’t hastened by the Sept. 11 catastrophe.

It’s like the dinosaur era. The saurians kept getting bigger and bigger. Then, they went away.

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