In College my good friend Jeff Jordan went to Las Vegas one January weekend and came back with a picture of him and a huge TV, smiling and pointing. He had just gotten back from an annual mecca to pay homage to the Technical Gods, something called the “Consumer Electronics Showcase.” Or, as I called it, ‘electronics porn.’ Later I found out the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo was next door, and everything turned full circle.
Fast forward to this year. I got a call from Steve Poland who told me that a bunch of the NYC Startup Weekend team were going to CES this year, and had extra room in their hotel room. The week worked out for me, and I bought my ticket and decided to be open to anything that came my way. I am very glad I attended. I met some brilliant people, mostly by chance, and have a renewed view of the tech worldwide tech community.
Best Technology of the Show: Small, targeted devices. Robbert Scoble really liked the Bug Labs. I was a huge fan of quite a bit, a few standouts are the super flat Sony TV’s and the use of services such as qik and Mogulus. I wasn’t blown away by anything I saw, but had an appreciation for almost every company presenting. More of the same, but no flops for me.
Best Fallout: Gizmoto Prank I was there when they did it to the poor WiMax “History in the making” demonstration / TV turnoff. They did it once, someone came over and turned it back on, nobody really noticed. Seemed a little weird to me, and seeing the video reminded me of it. Should they have done it? No. Is this the biggest overreaction of 2008? Yes. Meh from me. Would hate to see their actions be cause for limited rights for bloggers.
UPDATE: CES has banned the person doing the bad deeds, and rightfully so. We will see if they take more action against Gizmodo or Gawker (I am guessing yes).
Best Joke of the Show: “Did you hear about the biggest announcement of CES? Oh yeah, MacWorld isn’t until next week“
Best Event: BlogHaus. Thank you to PodTech and Seagate for sponsoring the BlogHaus. I met the most interesting people, and learned the most here. It was great to meet folks I have read for years!
My Favorite: Gelaskins are awesome. Very good product, great design and well implemented (plus some of the friendliest staffers in the show). I will forget I just checked out their blog, which is hosted on TypePad.
Matt Emmi was there looking at all the latest from a buyers standpoint, and had his Grandfather Charles there to show him all the latest. Charles even came in the Microsoft XBox-360 limo with us to the In and Out Burger (what is your GammerTag Charles? – Packman?) Charles, you are awesome, I wish I could go to all the conferences with you.
Biggest Surprise? Attendees didn’t really interact with each other (or expand out of their pre existing networks). It was really hard to figure out if there was an event that you really wanted to go to, and even if you found out about it, finding it and getting in was really hard. That convention center is massive, filled to the brim with technologists and gadgets. Impressive. Another big surprise for me was seeing very niche groups get together. The Microsoft Gamers got together for an In and Out Burger run (in a stretch hummer no less). Any for the record, my ‘gammertag’ isn’t ‘bigdudeohnoes.’
My Takeaway: CES is an amazing event, showcasing companies and individuals with drive. It would be great for there to be less noise, perhaps a tiered release day for each hall or an embargo for each type of product.