Small Is The New Big

There’s been a lot of talk about things dying, so I’ll throw another one out there — are tradeshows dead? I think people mean tradeshows are dead the same way they mean newspapers are dead — new forms of media and communication are coming around, but no one could really imagine a world without newspapers.

Trade shows still seem to be the way for everyone to meet. The problem is, there are seemingly thousands of companies that want to get your attention. Trade shows don’t seem to be the way that any of them can get more than a few seconds of it. I’ve walked around many times at shows — colorful and innovative shows — completely overwhelmed. I want to look at everything, but it feels like I have time to look at nothing.

Innovative organizations are addressing that feeling. In-person events are transforming to cozy meet and greets. Like marketing guru Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/) says, small is the new big. The more personal, one-on-one contact, the better. No one wants to deal with a big, corporate conglomerate. Everyone wants the personal attention that small can afford.

Even we’re getting into it. As I write, Greenhouse Grower is gearing up for our first ever GreenhouseXchange, an up-close-and-personal event connecting buyers and sellers.

I can’t imagine that any of you are looking to spend any more time away from your production than you already are. So what choices are you making? How do you choose which trips are worth your while and which are missable? Maybe the most important question of all — why do you travel? For networking or to find the new processes and products that will help your company along? For education? E-mail me at [email protected]

The Big Stink About Gas

I just saw the first few snowflakes of this winter, and it’s not even Halloween yet. I hate seeing that, and all I have to pay to heat is a small bungalow. I’m sure you hate it more. Next month, we wrap up our year-long series on controlling your energy costs, but the thread that runs through this month’s issue is gas. Alex Masson is avoiding it, while environmental controls, common-carrier trucking and boiler maintenance help you save it.

The energy buzz in the news now is prices are actually dropping. That doesn’t mean research grinds to a halt. In October, Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Ceres Inc. received a $1.5 million grant from Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a joint USDA-DOE effort. The grant will fund the doubling of switchgrass for use as a biofuel by 2020. In August, Harts Nursery was given a $35,000 grant from the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program for greenhouse energy efficiency improvements. Keep it up!

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