IPCPR 2015: Dear Readers

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For the most part, I believe our coverage of this year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show speaks for itself, on paper.

There was more live coverage than ever, an added video component for the vast majority of the booths we visited, a reduced amount of typos and most notably, a substantially increased amount of coverage in the most basic of terms.

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Despite these achievements, there was more internal frustration than I ever recall in our relatively short history covering the trade show; and there was definitely some fierce frustration with manufacturers and to a much lesser extent, our readers.

I remember remarking in the cab ride to the hotel after landing in New Orleans that it hadn’t felt like the spectacle that is IPCPR had arrived. This, despite weeks full of excessive amounts of posts, more emails to manufacturers than any reasonable person would ever send, weekly staff meetings regarding the show and months of dialogue amongst our staff regarding how to better organize our coverage of the show.

While there may have been a steady stream of posts once the show opened, the level of disorganization on the backend was beyond what we normally deal with at halfwheel. Despite my best efforts, the ball was dropped when it came to preparation. While it may have not been apparent to you, it was clear from the moment we entered the convention center to begin day one.

That won’t happen again.

We are never going to perfect covering the show. It’s too big, there’s too much and even with double the staff, it would still be incredibly daunting to produce totally seamless coverage of 200 booths in what amounts to around 35 hours of time on the floor.

But we are going to get better.

That’s the promise I’ve made to the staff, that’s the promise I’ve made to the disgruntled manufacturers and that’s the message to you, the readers.

More than anything, this post is about making that commitment, in as public of a manner as I can. One that we will hold ourselves to not just come July 25, but for the next 360 days.

We want posts to go up with greater frequency. We want to cover more booths. We want the coverage to be more consistent post to post. We want to make you better feel a part of the trade show. We want things improved.

Much like when we launched halfwheel, the next 11 months are going to be spent trying to figure how to better gather information and then relay it to you. It’s the most basic concept of what we do everyday at halfwheel, and while in many ways what we did this year “worked”—it failed at the intersection of effectiveness and efficiency. We will start from a blank post: should there be headers, more pictures, less pictures. More interviews? More analysis? Less blogs?

It very well might be that what we do next year has its basis in what we did this past year, but nothing is guaranteed and nothing is off the table for consideration.

Ever year, I get back from the show and field questions from everyone from people that were there to my father, who hasn’t smoked a cigar in five years—how was the show? I don’t know. There’s a blindness that engulfs me during the show. It’s so much that it’s hard to stop and digest what’s taking place, not just in what we do at the show, but the 300-plus exhibitors, the some 750 shops in attendance and the thousands of people visiting the site multiple times per day.

Our staff will meet internally, we will have conversations with manufacturers and retailers who are there, but this is about producing better content for you. And if you have suggestions, I’d love to know.

This is not HALFWHEEL X, The Newsletter or Reklame; this is our Super Bowl, our election night, this is year after year, the four most important days for the industry and that our coverage “worked” is not good enough.

One day we will figure out how to cover the show, in the mean time, we’d love your help in doing so.

Charlie Minato

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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