The Consumer Electronics Show – the preeminent event for anyone interested in leading-edge consumer technologies – is officially underway in Vegas. Having attended the show a seemingly countless number of times, I feel qualified to provide some practical tips on how to best experience it. (And, truthfully, I just provided these tips to my friend Hugh and thought they would be of interest to the wider group!)
Here is some advice for positively experiencing CES:
First, there are lots of parties at CES – and you should pay attention to the invitation. That is, rather than blow off an invite to the SONY (or other big CE brand) soiree, you should consider it, because some of the bashes that happen at CES are surreal. Years ago I saw B.B. King in a small venue on the strip, merely because I decided against skipping the party. We’ve all been to good parties in Vegas, but the gigs at CES are better than what happens in the same city the rest of the year.
Second, and far less exciting than party counsel, I strongly suggest you plan to get a morning coffee and/or eat lunch at the show early or late because the lines – all of them – are ridiculously long. If you are like me – and you require your caffeine strength in the morning – I suggest you plan ahead. Otherwise, you’ll be talking about nothing with another show-goer while waiting in an endless line at the Starbucks cart.
Third, I strongly suggest dedicating a significant amount of time in each hall of the show, before walking from hall to hall, in the spirit of saving time and energy. Going anywhere in Vegas is a hike, so it’s smart to stay in one area until you are “done” with it. (This sounds like a rudimentary recommendation until you are asked to pop-by a meeting room at the Hilton which is adjacent to the convention center.)
Fourth, bring mints – and don’t hesitate to share them with the guy or gal demonstrating a new gadget on the show floor who forgot to bring their own. Don’t be stingy, and help the crowd out by sharing your stash.
Fifth, if you get overwhelmed by the masses, you should consider retreating to the back-half of each hall as they are rather empty. The best “stuff” in the front of every hall will be packed – or, it should be! – but you’ll always find elbow room to the rear.
Finally – and here’s the best tip – be sure to eat it up! The CES show has a long tradition of unveiling technologies that will change our lives, and this year’s show will likely be no different. Savor the show, and marvel at the power of technology to improve our lives.