Virtual Show, Real Value

We are eagerly looking forward to next week’s Virtual PCB trade show. It’s the fourth year we’ve produced the Web-based event, and we’ve learned a few things along the way.

1. Although the attendees are online, they usually act as if they are in the flesh. There’s plenty of the “how are you doing,” “great to see you,” and gentle ribbing that takes place when we run into each other at PCB West, SMTAI, Apex or one of the other “bricks and mortar” shows. It’s social. (Perhaps that’s why they call it “social” media.)
2. People are polite to the point of near invisibility. Just like a physical show, some attendees do lots of talking, while others never utter a peep. That’s OK. Lurk away. Everyone learns in their own way.
3. Speaking of learning, it’s almost impossible to attend Virtual PCB and not take away something. Nearly 3,000 people registered last year! These are your peers across the entire electronics manufacturing spectrum, from design to assembly to test. The same experts you might see at a physical show — folks like signal integrity expert Dr. Eric Bogatin or reliability guru Werner Engelmaier, will be there, holding court and sharing their wisdom. More than that, it’s a chance to meet folks from all over the world. These are potential future colleagues and employers. Insofar as networking is concerned, it’s tough to beat.

We hope you take a moment to register (it’s free!) at and log-on to Virtual PCB, March 8-9. It’s a fresh way to stay up on our industry — without ever leaving your desk.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow