Earlier this summer in Vienna, Austria, 1200 people gathered for the European conflab of the Digital Solutions Cooperative, more commonly known as DSCOOP.
Around a third of participants, some 650 people, were HP Indigo customers or prospective customers. They were there to share ideas, be inspired, to network and to look at kit: 57 technology partners participated in the showcase. DSCOOP, like all user groups, is about the people involved and helping one another to learn and grow. They can also use the group opportunity to put pressure on developers and manufacturers to deliver the solutions they want. In addition to the European DSCOOP, similar events take place in the US, most recently in Dallas where 2200 people participated and in Asia: Dscoop Korea attracted about 1000. User events such as these are supplanting classic random access trade shows to become the industry’s primary drivers.
This was a well run and well thought out event, but for many people an errant keynote speaker stole the show. Kevin Gaskell, exboss of Porsche GB, BMW and various other companies seems to rather fancy himself an all round superhuman. It’s possible that he thinks we should all model ourselves on him or embrace feelings of deep inadequacy in his presence. Such posturing tainted what might otherwise have been an interesting speech, had the content stretched further than Mr Gaskell’s laudable achievements. He rarely mentioned the graphics industry or even print, focusing instead on walking to the north and south poles for charity and rescuing various companies from forlorn decline. The most interesting part of this presentation was the mysterious presence of the ProKom logo on the slides. ProKom is Konica Minolta’s user group, to which Gaskell presented the previous week. Not so superhuman after all. The superhuman DSCOOP production team managed to remove the logo halfway into the presentation.