Gassing in Essen

Since Sunday evening I have been in Dusseldorf, Germany arriving home late last night. It is amazing to me how quickly traffic to this site drops off and tails away unless I post to it every day. In just three days, traffic declined by 70%! What I find interesting about that is that this blog is filled with content – short stories, poetry, thoughts, articles – most of it is not time sensitive. I guess, people only look at the latest material on blogs and that must mean all of the good stuff on this blog goes largely unread after it is first written. Sad but probably inevitable….

Anyway, I visited a huge trade fair in Essen with my business partner who flew in from Houston, TX. Over 15,000 power and gas industry people from all over the world descend once a year on this quiet (and I will say it – remarkably boring) little German town each year. For me, it is an essential opportunity to meet people who I only get to meet, well annually in Essen! After two days of walking the floor, meeting with clients and prospects and just bumping into old friends and colleagues, I am exhausted. My back aches, my feet are sore and I have partially lost my voice.

e-world_2008_13_2008

The thing about the energy trading industry that amuses me is how male dominated it remains today. I would say that 90% of the people are men. Why? I don’t know. Another observation is how small a world it is. I never look at the name badges to see the name but who my colleague is working for these days…. People move from company to company with alarming regularity.

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This year, while the booths were big and bold (read expensive), the crowd thicker than ever before, the give aways seemed to lack variation. This is a bad sign actually. Usually, I come home armed to the teeth with pens, sweets, soft toys, electronic items, novelty goods and so on all marked boldly with corporate brands. This year, there were pens a plenty but more expensive give ways were hard to find. Based on past experience, this means we are having a difficult period as an industry – costs are being scrutinized and profits are down.

Still, I don’t go for the giveaways but to catch up with a few hundred friends and colleagues – and that is always a gas.

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