Ladies and Gents,
I sent a letter to you yesterday announcing the release of the digital version of our January magazine. In that letter, I shared my opinions on current events and reasons for optimism for 2021.
It seems that some of my statements have cause some confusion and were being misinterpreted by a select few. To my dismay, some viewed my opinions as potentially disparaging or negative with respect to certain companies.
That was not my intention in any way, shape or form. I thought I communicated my intentions clearly and that I had nothing but positive things to say about any and everyone mentioned in the letter. Some did not take it that way. While I know there are some folks that will read things in a negative way and spin things to create drama because they have an ax to grind, I’d like to believe that nothing of the sort was the case with how people read my letter yesterday. I think responsibility falls solidly on my shoulders and that I potentially communicated poorly. For anyone affected, I sincerely apologize.
I will attempt to be as concise as possible in this clarification letter, so there is no doubt on my opinion and the facts that formulated what I think. Here are some bullet points.
- The NTP-Stag show was a massive success.
- That success came despite unfathomable macro-economic challenges caused by the pandemic.
- I honestly can hardly believe they were able to organize it and have it run:
- So smoothly
- So safely
- And provide such a great experience for all who attended
- Especially considering all the all challenges every business has faced in the last 12 months.
- Due to the pandemic, government regulations and NTP-Stag’s immense wisdom to tailor the show so it was as safe as humanly possible, while still being productive, the show was scaled back in size from previous NTP-Stag shows.
- There were fewer vendors, fewer attendees and fewer NTP-Stag staff members in attendance to make the event safe. Only 800 people were allowed at the venue. Despite the scale back, the 2021 NTP-Stag show still ranks as one of the largest trade shows in the RV industry, even in normal years when we are not battling a pandemic.
- I don’t prefer NTP-Stag or its show any more than any other distributor or their respective shows. Each is unique, valuable and well run.
- I do not prefer distributor shows more than association trade shows. Each has its purpose.
- In my letter yesterday, I cited a few examples of other shows that normally take place when a pandemic is not stifling face-to-face meetings and business interactions.
- That show list was not all inclusive, but just a few examples.
- Yesterday, I said and still believe all the shows mentioned (and not mentioned) are absolutely crucial and equally important for the RV industry.
- Each is professionally run by great people who truly care about their business partners, whether they be exhibitors or dealership/retail customers.
- In my attempt to describe NTP-Stag’s show, I foolishly compared it to Arrow Distribution’s show. Because I know so many attend the Arrow show, either as exhibitors or buying customers, I thought it would be an illustrative way to help people understand what attendees saw.
- The comparison was a mistake and poorly communicated.
- Arrow is the largest regional distributor in the country.
- NTP-Stag is a national distributor.
- Despite not being a national distributor, Arrow’s show is of a size and scope (with vendors and attendees) that borders on trade shows put on by national distributors.
- Arrow’s show has been notoriously successful in past years, so I thought using them as an illustrative example was a good comparison. This was unwise on my part, as some people misinterpreted my “similar-size—similar show experience” to “similar-size—similar show experience” illustration.
- Much like NTP-Stag and Arrow, other shows are equally awesome experiences. In my opinion, all RV trade shows, regardless of who hosts them fall into the “awesome category” for one unifying reason—the people we get to see and talk to at them. A strong second is the ability to conduct business.
I’ll wrap up with this one, last, long factual rant. I love shows because of the friends I don’t get to see in person any other time of the year. To me, people matter no matter what company you own or work at.
In my letter yesterday, I used the word “disappointed.” Let me clarify what I meant because this isn’t about companies or shows or comparisons.
I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see more people I know and care about. I miss my RV industry friends. I miss shaking hands and looking someone in the eye while I sincerely grin at them. I miss giving RV industry people I care about a hug to show them how much they matter to me.
To me all business boils down to people. For that reason, I am disappointed more shows didn’t happen in 2020 and early 2021. I’m disappointed all shows are not as massively big as possible.
Yesterday, I used the word “disappointed” but that’s an understatement when I look at the impact of the pandemic and how it has affected people.
If you read my letter yesterday it all came down to this: I’m happy someone succeeded and wish others could too. I’m sad 2020 was what it was. I truly care and think 2021 is going to be better. For the person who called and asked me where my head was at when writing my letter yesterday, there is your answer. I hope I’ve made myself clear.