VIP Q&A With CEO Alan Meckler

In November 1998, Alan Meckler’s company Mecklermedia was acquired by Penton Media Inc. for $274 million in cash. This represented nearly a 1000% return from its IPO of February 1994. After the deal was completed, Meckler purchased an 80.1% interest in the Mecklermedia Web site which became what is today corporation, a NASDAQ traded company with worldwide bureaus, over 400 employees and 170 million monthly page views.

Meckler will be in Seattle on January 31st to share his thoughts on the Internet industry at the Internet Breakfast Forum . caught up with the CEO of our parent company yesterday for a pre-arrival Q&A. When was the last time you were in Seattle? What were your impressions?

Alan Meckler: I was in Seattle last in October of 1998. First it is a beautiful city, but I have never spent more than a few hours there at any one time. What is the most exciting part about your job as CEO of a real-time news company?

Alan Meckler: Building the prototype of a 21st century trade publishing company and proving all the pundits wrong about making money with advertising in the content arena. I like to “make” history as I did with the Internet World trade shows. How did you come up with the idea to launch the Internet World Tradeshows?

Alan Meckler: I had been in specialized publishing for the university and special libraries for over 20 years running seminars and specific trade journals. I learned about the Internet in early 1990 because libraries were the early users of the Net (of course this was pre-WWW).

My concept since 1970 was to find a special topic and start a newsletter, a database directory and a seminar around the particular subject. Thus it was natural for me to do this in the Internet field since I was the first in the space. I had no idea in 1990 that the Net would be for anybody outside the library world, but nonetheless I rant forerunners to the Internet World industry trade show as early as March 1991

By early 1993 I realized that the Internet was going to be bigger than the PC and then decided to run a trade orientated show called Internet World (December 1993). How do you believe Internet historians 20 years from now will look at what our industry is going through these days?

Alan Meckler: In 20 years the Internet will be the number one means to obtain information (wirelessly or via computers). So they will write that like all revolutions, there were periods of euphoria and periods of gloom. However, they will write that people in 2001 thought the Net was in trouble because they looked at Internet stock prices and did not see that even in the turmoil of market valuations, the Internet was boiling along in terms of causing sea changes in every industry and in the simple management of every enterprise.

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