I have (needlessly) attended this thing too many years. Learned absolutely NOTHING.
Cost to attend = $220. Parking = up to $75 per day (that's $225). Time off work (if one is an owner/manager) = "invaluable". Things learned = less than we have ever learned vs several other options, land grant universities, websites, etc, etc and several other resources.
The advantages of NOT attending this thing GREATLY outweighs our attendance. Fact is:
When we have attended this event in the past....we ended up sharing our experiences, tricks of the trade, etc, etc, and we NEVER got anything in return. To me, that harms my business, cuz my business has been copied so many times, in so many ways, for so may years. Go figure.
Let others pay for my six-years' of college degrees, my long hours, my hard work, my lessens learned ---- valued experiences.
IMO this "show" is for beginners or those that don't know wtf they are doing.
Folks who have known me over the decades know exactly what I'm talkin' about.
I figure I've never been. But it doesn't sound like you had a very good experience. Sorry to hear that. I'm going to give it a try and see what it might have to offer. But yeah I've learned never give up too much about your business because it will cost you. This winter I was going to do a $250,000 but it never happened because the general contractor I was dealing with went and just did it himself after I did all the work and honestly answer his questions. Although the best part is the place looks like crap now and the Owner is asking me to fix it. gotta love those connections. I hope parking doesn't cost me that much.