They can be as modest as a few dozen tables set up in a hotel ballroom, or as elaborate as two-week extravaganzas at giant German facilities, drawing hundreds of thousands of people and eating up million-dollar budgets. They're trade shows, and they inspire a full spectrum of praise and condemnation, kudos and kvetches aplenty, sometimes from the same people. In fact, some industry marketing managers will tell you in one sentence that they're sick of doing so many shows, and in the next ...

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