Wednesday, February 6, 2013

World O' Concrete 2013

The World of Concrete 2013 Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, was a disappointment. My skirt was not blown up in the least. Let's start with the start time. I got an e-mail last week that said the show was open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. So after a 2-1/2 hour drive, I was standing at the entrance about 15 minutes early. Got my badge and walked around a bit. At 7:30 sharp I tried to walk in. "I'm sorry, sir, but the show doesn't open until 9:30. Only vendors are allowed in right now." So I had to kill two hours. STRIKE ONE.

While I was cooling my heels, I checked out the map of the booths. Only one problem--I couldn't figure the map out.

The helpful "You are here" arrow wasn't much help because the map didn't tell me which way I was facing. If there had been a north arrow, I might have figured it out. As it was, the colored shapes did not correspond to the real shape of the building, so I had no clue where I was in relation to the map.

The obligatory Elvis impersonator. In Vegas, these guys run the street in packs.

I was almost curious enough to ask what this mixer was designed for. It reminded me of one of the Apollo capsules.

Waxed and gleaming! There were only a couple of these ready-mix trucks on display. The last WOC I attended had dozens.

Economizing. In previous shows I've attended, these batch plants were brought in and assembled full-size. I was not impressed. STRIKE TWO.

If these models had been any smaller, they could have been sold with the Hot Wheels die-cast trucks in the lobby.

Some observations on the show. The booth salespeople were so eager to show you their products, I felt like I was on a used car lot--surrounded by instant BFF's. And then some of the salespeople looked at their watches every few minutes, bored to tears. There didn't seem to be anything in between.

There were lots of holes. You could see where the show's promoter couldn't fill it up. Parts of the building were blocked off, and booths were moved in to scrunch up the show. Three years ago, the show was full, in spite of the depression. Three years ago, the huge space where trucks and boom pumps and batch plants are displayed had a large number of young Chinese companies eagerly looking for business. I saw very few Chinese companies at this show. I had to wonder why. Were they still in business? Did they just not consider this a good return on effort and expense?

I saw several software companies, but their software was inventory and bidding and workflow related. Nothing I was interested in. Trimble and Autodesk had dinky little booths with some of their products I've never heard of. I would loved to have checked out Trimble's SketchUp Pro and Autodesk's Revit Architecture.

All in all, Piffle! STRIKE THREE.

Posted by Dave


  1. Did you ever listen to the song "Brainwashed" by George Harrison. Something in your title made me think of that. I know the point of your article was quite different that his intention. He felt that we were imprisoned by the "places of concrete", aka cities. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Susan,

      You caused me to look up from the page and wonder about "places of concrete."

      "Won't you lead us through this mess
      God God God
      From the places of concrete
      God God God
      Nothing's worse than ignorance"

      Which came first, the spiritual deadness or the physical deadness of cities?

      Why do humans bunch up in cities full of dead boxes when there is a whole continent of living land?

      Malcolm Wells used to say that every square inch of this earth's surface should be living, and toward that end, concrete should only be used for underground architecture.



All comments are welcome.