Woke up this morning about 45 minutes before I actually needed to, but that was pretty much it for me and sleep this week. Que sera sera. I noticed my CES Tips article was a little more popular than my average post (extra special thanks to Michael, Kevin, Tris, Jeremiah and Darla) and taking a cue from those folks in Hollywood, I decided to write a sequel. And… action!
- Be conscientious of booth staff. For most people, there’s nothing fun about booth duty (which is part of what makes me such a lunatic, I actually really enjoy it, but that’s a different story). It’s long, tedious, and can be quite frustrating. Not only that, there’s a lot of cross-departmental staffing. So if you have some really technical question you’ve been dying to ask a company, take a moment to ask whomever you are talking to what their job is, as they might not be the right person to badger. Also, lots of companies hire temps to help out at the show – it’s not a reflection that they don’t care about you, it’s just hard to staff a booth for 4 days and keep a company running at the same time!
- The nights are cold. Vegas is in the middle of a big desert, and while it may be warm during the day, the nights are very cold in January. Bring a jacket or a sweater when you go out. But don’t forget to leave your CES badge in your hotel room before you leave for the night!
- Moisturize. I’m not kidding. And bring chapstick too. Remember what I just said – it’s a desert, and deserts are dry.
- Plan on 45 minutes between destinations. In a nutshell, if you are getting into a taxi, and you are going anywhere remotely central, it is going to take a long, long time to get there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. One recommendation I would make is ask your driver if there is a nearby alternate spot they can drop you off that might save you 10 or more minutes (e.g. drop at LV Hilton instead of LVCC).
- Only get cabs at hotels or LVCC. You cannot hail a taxi in Vegas, so don’t bother trying. This was more like a “Vegas Tip” than CES-specific, but hey, couldn’t hurt!
- Go to the International Zones. What started years back with exporters from Taiwan and Hong Kong has now expanded to include many nations. Countries buy small zones and put small vendors/manufacturers in booths to show their wares. You should be able to see everything from toasters with iPod docking stations to digital cameras embedded in the tip of a ballpoint pen.
- Get your badge off-site. The lines to pickup badges will get long by about 10am Monday morning. Getting in Sunday during the day? Head over to the Venetian/Sands and pick up your badge ahead of time so you can roll into the show without a delay! There are a few other spots to do this, including the LV Hilton.
- Don’t pester the booth babes. Don’t be that guy!
- Bring business cards. I would say roughly 97% of the people that I’ve met at CES over the years who don’t have cards regret not having them. Maybe it seems cool now not to carry them. Maybe you think they are so 1990s (I actually beamed contact info to someone recently!). The truth is, there’s almost no reason not to carry cards, and even looking at it from a potential loss vs potential gain perspective says: carry the darn things!
- Leave early. I don’t know if the word swarm or horde is more appropriate for the rush to the airport on the last day. I’ll probably head over about 3 hours before my flight, if not earlier. It may be true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but for your own sake, you don’t want it to be you that stays in Vegas!
So there you have it. Like many sequels, it’s not quite as fresh as the original, but still adds a little something that made it worth the time.
I had one more, but it’s not really a tip. Want to have a bit of extra fun at the show? Go find the most bad-ass speakers/audio system you can find. Listen to a few demo tracks. Get really into it. Ask intelligent questions. React to the sound quality. Then, right before you leave, get in front of your demo guy. With a totally straight face, say the following:
“Thanks again for the demo, it was really impressive. Mind if I ask you one last question? When you rip MP3s, do you really think 192Kbps sounds better than 128K, because I can’t tell the difference myself.”
Have a great show everybody!