The Big Cheese with David Welzman,
Merlin Award-winning Trade Show Magician
The great thing about my job is… The work itself – I love performing. Tradeshows allow me to perform my unique infotainment magic shows all day – doing two shows an hour for eight hours a day, sometimes five days in a row – unlike a Christmas party where I do two hours of roving magic or a stage show and I get pumped up, but then the event ends.
I also like developing relationships with my tradeshow clients – something I didn’t do so much when I only performed corporate events – but some clients hire me for seven of their tradeshows a year. As I get older, I value the relationship even more.
The challenge for industry is… For me, the tradeshow industry in Australia is so far behind the rest of the world and this is mainly due to the service providers not being able to effectively market their services.
If a new service comes out that helps exhibitors, there is no marketing channel to effectively market that service, which is why I expanded to Dubai, Europe and the US. In the US, for example, I can buy a list of exhibitors but over here in many cases the exhibitor list is hidden so I can’t even find out who my customers are.
The tradeshow industry can only improve because of the providers that service it – if there were no services, there would not be an industry. It’s like trying to build a house but not being able to find a brick layer or architect
My greatest achievement is… Winning the International Merlin Award for Best Tradeshow Magician Australia from the International Magicians Society – this is the Merlin that David Copperfield and Criss Angel won. I was also selected as the only magician in Australia to appear on a US TV special entitled Great magicians of the world. This is a serious acknowledgment that I have never received in Australia. I just finished filming the first half of the performance and will film the second routine later next year as our scheduling was conflicted.
The biggest thing in MICE this year will be… Hmm, hopefully people will realise that face to face cannot be replaced with screen to screen – there is a lot of focus on using technology to replace the human component of live events and some of it is good but it can be abused. Technology should enhance communication but not replace the human component.
I try to relax by… Drinking scotch but only because it tastes nice. I have not been on a holiday in about 12 years because one of the pitfalls of pioneering a service in an industry which is hard to market to is that there is no time to rest. I don’t have a manager or agent so I do all the work – and now that I market in Dubai, Europe and expanding into the US, I am finding I am stretched thin.
But at the end of the day, you don’t need a holiday if you do what you love. Taking a holiday will take me away from what I enjoy doing so why would I want to do that?
I don’t understand why… Exhibition organisers don’t recommend my services – I have a documented 250% to 600% increase in lead generation for my clients. At Cebit 2012, my client generated 900 leads, the stand diagonally opposite my clients generated 225.
Currently the album playing on my iPod is… A combination of ACDC and movie soundtracks including Iron Man, The Dark Knight, The Last Samurai along with some classical music.
My favourite venue is… Dubai World Trade Centre, but in Australia I have spent a considerable amount of time at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre doing shows so I would go with that, except it is going to be torn down. I do like the Opera Bar – not the drink prices but the views.
I am scared to death of… Social situations. I am extremely confident when performing but off stage I am very shy and I don’t know what to say, so cold calling is not ideal for me.
I can’t live without… My electronic cigarettes. I used to smoke a pack a day but in November last year I went on these and have not gone back – my health has improved and mindset as well and I see a day where I can be removed from them entirely.
Blackberry or iPhone… Blackberry
I really wish I had… More hair and better skin.
If I could invite four people to a dinner party, they’d be… William Shatner, James Spader, my mother (because she loves William Shatner and I would never hear the end of it if she wasn’t invited), and the last seat I’d leave empty so I could put my feet up on the empty chair, just listen to James and William talk, drink scotch and see my mother enjoy chatting with William.