I know that there is no official position to speak of on the issue of an east coast PAX, but ever since the idea of another PAX on the opposite coast has been floated, I've been thinking about the positive and negative potential that is bound therein, and I want to get some feedback on my ideas (I don't want a coast vs. coast flame war). Now that E3 is significantly diminished and PAX is poised to absorb a great deal of the market space E3 previously occupied, my concern is that the position of PAX is too fragile to leverage yet as a divided or franchised event.
Before advancing too far into my thesis, I should first address the matter of my own bias. Yes, I'm a native to the Seattle metro area, and I've not only been to every PAX but several Necrowombicons and Child's Play Charity Dinners. I will certainly admit that part of my worry is that building any kind of PAX spinoff somewhere else will somehow weaken or diminish the WA PAX experience. If not in scope then in the specific people attending (will the supertrips still run? I would miss not seeing those guys).
However, honestly my main concern is that an east coast PAX would weaken the identity of PAX. PAX has been evolving from the first year in a very productive direction, but it's fundamentally based on a network of volunteers that date back six years to the Necrowombicons (one of my friends has several times remarked that so many of the primary enforcers are original attendees of the Necrowombicons, and in fact I almost took up the black myself the first year but then I lost my job etc. etc.). This network does not exist on the east coast and would have to be built from scratch, endangering the entire PAX identity on unknown and untried individuals. Or a contract solution would have to be used, increasing operating costs but transfering performance liability from PAX to the contractors. Although that functionally mitigates risk, it would not prevent poor performance from damaging the PAX identity. These performance risks where an untried east coast staff are concerned could not be more potentially damaging than in light of the fact that explicitly or implicitly PAX is trying to take E3's mantle, and and east coast PAX would potentially draw too many people (due to higher population density over there) for an untested system to handle without overloading and collapsing. Hell, debatably that's already happened in both the first year and last year, which goes to show that a known and tested system can stand only so much strain and expansion. If an east coast PAX were unable to stand such strain, I think that the attendence numbers involved (once again due to density) would make such a failure a more public embarrassment, and such an operational overreach could tarnish the reputation of the entire PAX identity.
Assuming all of that is just paranoia, and no doomsday failure comes, there are other lesser concerns. Would the division of PAX result in retarding or even reversing the growth of the original? How many east coasters and midwesterners are coming here now that would not if they didn't "have to"? I myself would probably go to both events should a second PAX come to be, which also raises the question of how many in the east would keep coming west and how many in the west would go east? Of course this naturally assumes the two events would be at different times, they would have to be, after all, PAX would be next to nothing without Jerry and Mike. I don't reasonably expect that attendence to the original would fall, but what about the division of the sponsorship pool? How many sponsors would support both events, and how many just one? Which one? What would that division of sponsor money take away from the PAX experience?
There are potential positives I will grant. Two PAXes might more aggressively wrest market share from other events, especially but not exclusively the husk of E3 which never had an east coast presence aside from drawing journalists and such with its exclusive siren song. A second PAX would make life easier for the two thirds of the nation that lives over there, and would give me an excuse to travel more. It even could conceivably increase attendance on the west coast because fence-sitters will finally be able to see what it's like and become addicted to the point where now they will go to the original whereas before they would not.
There is more to this I'm sure.
Aside from convenience (please, I don't want 500 posts about how you want an east coast PAX because it will be more convenient. We all know and understand that), what does everybody think about this as an issue? Objectively, do the rewards outweigh the risks?
Numquam magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit.
There has never been a great spirit without a touch of insanity.
(Seneca Philosophus, De tranquillitate animis)