Roll Over Gutenberg

APAP Resource Table

If you were standing on a village road one hundred years ago and watched a horse and buggy going in one direction and a car going in the other, what would you have thought?

Would it be immediately clear to you that one form of transportation was about to replace another? Would you take a moment to wonder at how the world was changing? If your best friend came along and was about to put his money into buying a new horse for travel, would you advise waiting a bit longer until the car become affordable?

I was thinking about village life as I watched the marketplace aspects of the annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. In the exhibition halls (2 floors, three large spaces), there was the direct person to person contact for selling (artists), buying (performing arts venues), and promoting (applicable to all). The main gathering space for the conference, outside of the exhibition halls, was the area around the “Resource Tables.”

Take a look at the picture: Thousands of cards, thousands of dollars, and no way to search for what you want. A lot of money was spent on these brochures and cards, and yet taken all together not one of them can stand out. In our age of digital distribution, dissemination, and discourse, doesn’t the table feel a bit like the horse and buggy making its way up the road?

It does not have to be about making something that goes faster, though.

Sure, getting the content you want quickly is a great thing. More importantly, we are making information, promotion and exchange as inexpensive (i.e. free!), easily searchable, and as direct as possible. The key is to create an environment that allows for direct contact — more like a village’s marketplace of goods found, exchanged, and talked about.

The car replaced the horse and buggy. The village marketplace has gone online.

One good find leads to another; one successful barter leads to another; and, one conversation leads to a friendship.

- Bill Reichblum

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