The 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is less than two weeks away, and (as always), I’m pretty excited about it. This is my 7th year attending the show, and for the first time in seven years, I don’t have massive amounts of responsibilities. I’ve set up and worked booths, hotel suites, and meeting rooms. I’ve done 19-hour days, starting at 2:30am. If there is but a single word to use to describe CES it is this: exhausting.
It’s exhausting not just for those involved in making the show happen, but for those attending it as well. Hopefully, this little list will make it just a little easier for anyone going this year.
- Wear comfortable shoes. There are over 2 million square feet of exhibit space, and that doesn’t count the halls or walkways. Your legs will get tired in a single day. The effort of walking around people alone is tiresome. Forget the Blahniks and get something from Nike or Adidas. Freebie bonus tip: while walking the show floor, try to walk on the booths as they tend to have better padding than the walkways between booths.
- Make a daily plan. Go to the CES web site and pick out the attendees you want to see (same for the panels and sessions). Take a look at their locations, and plan your days based on location. You do not want to go back and forth between any two halls on the same day. It’s okay if your plans get disrupted or adjusted, but you should generally know where you want to be on a given day.
- Eat and drink. Don’t forget that 6-8 hours of walking and talking uses energy, so be prepared to replenish. Bring a water bottle and refill it from the fountains as you need. The cafeterias are, well, cafeterias, so I recommend looking for (or bringing) prepackaged food. As another bonus tip: make restaurant reservations as soon as possible if you haven’t already!
- Wash your hands. The second week of January is often “CES Flu Week.” I heard (rumor, not fact) a few years ago that a huge PC company lost a few hundred workers due to colf/flu symptoms after the show. People come from around the world, bringing their various microbes, and you will shake their hands. Wash your hands before you eat and when you get to the hotel at the end of the day.
- Share cabs. When you get to your hotel taxi line in the morning, and it’s huge, here’s a simple trick to save yourself 30 minutes per day (or more). Walk to the front, ask if anyone’s going to the convention center, if they say yes, offer to pay for their cab. You aren’t actually “cutting” in line, because the person who was 2nd in line remains 2nd in line and you have no impact on their wait. Easy one, eh? By the way, you should be sure to tip a little extra when you do this, since you’ve taken away a full fare.
- Pack lightly. My recommendation is to walk the floor with either nothing or a near-empty backpack. Forget shoulder straps, you’ll be aching by the end of the day. Bring nothing you do not need during the day. Also, try to dump your bag prior to dinner, so you can spend the night on the town without having to remember anything later. What happens in Vegas…
- Discriminate on swag. Do you really want a Panasonic pen, or a Sony plastic bag, or a brochure from TiVo? Really? My wife has actually forbidden me from bringing home anything we won’t actually use, unless it’s a gift. This coincides nicely with the ‘pack lightly’ thing above…
- Visit the Sands. There are lots of cool companies there, and it’s quieter than the main halls. Also, you’ll get more personalized attention due to the smaller crowd. There are other… incentives as well.
- Know the resources. Open wireless at the show? Doubtful. EVDO connection? Unlikely. Outlets to charge you phone? Forget it. Charge at night, bring an extra battery if you need it, and just don’t bother trying to get online from the convention floor. Sure, it might happen, but don’t waste any time either.
- Don’t forget your badge. If memory serves, last year it was $75 to get a replacement. Nuff said. And security actually can be fairly tight there, so really, don’t forget it!
That’s it, that’s my tips for making the most out of CES. I hope it helps you make it through the show!
ps – a #11 for bloggers only. Don’t forget to check out PodTech’s Bloghaus at the Bellagio Hotel, but also don’t forget you’re in Vegas and there’s tons of stuff to see and do offline as well!!!