Nov 21, 2016Last week, RFID Journal announced that it had been acquired by Emerald Expositions, one of the largest-trade show organizers in the United States (see RFID Journal Announces Acquisition by Emerald Expositions). A friend in the industry asked me if it was true that I had "sold out." I told him it was true that I had sold RFID Journal, but that I certainly didn't see it as a sell-out (which, for those who aren't native English speakers, means "a betrayal of one's cause, especially for financial gain").
I founded RFID Journal out of a spare bedroom in my home in 2002. Three years later, I took on a small group of angel investors, because I thought their advice and support would be valuable. It was, and they have been very patient investors. But even the most patient investors want to get their money back and hopefully some profits eventually, and that's what started the process that led to the sale of RFID Journal.
I firmly believe that if we had waited a few more years for the industry to reach the tipping point, the company would have been worth a lot more money. But I also believe that we have found a good home for RFID Journal within Emerald Expositions, and that Emerald has the resources and expertise to help us grow with the industry and fulfill our mission of helping companies benefit from using RFID technologies.
I will be running the RFID Journal business for Emerald under executive VP Joe Randall, who has more than 35 years of experience in the trade-show, publishing and event-management industries. I see three ways in which RFID Journal will be stronger under this arrangement.
First, we will have the benefit of Joe's years of experience and insights, and we'll be able to share ideas with other events in the group. RFID Journal has always done innovative things, but when you are a small company, innovation means trial and error. Being part of a bigger company allows you to learn from the experiences of those in other areas who might have already tried some of the strategies you are thinking of deploying.
Second, we'll benefit from being able to promote RFID's adoption through Emerald's other events, magazines and websites, which include Outdoor Retailer, the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, Surf Expo, Interbike, the International Gift Exposition, Jewellery Box, The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, the Environments for Aging Expo & Conference, the Construction SuperConference, design:retail magazine and Healthcare Design magazine. All of these events and publications serve sectors in which RFID will be an important technology.
Finally, I think we'll benefit from the economies of scale that come with being part of a larger company. What an outfit like RFID Journal, with only a few events a year, pays for exhibit space, hotel rooms, audio-visual equipment, food and beverages, direct mail and many other things is far higher than what a firm with 80 annual events pays.
Overall, the acquisition puts RFID Journal in a stronger position than ever to serve our audiences. I remain committed to the industry and to the cause of educating companies about the amazing benefits RFID can enable them to achieve. All signs indicate the industry is growing, and I believe it will continue to do so. We are getting close to reaching the tipping point. It is an exciting time for RFID Journal, for Emerald, for RFID solution providers and for companies that are leveraging the technology to improve the way they do business.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.