Random thoughts from CES
I had the opportunity to attend CES (the Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas. Not to get too far off the topic of my usual career-related advice, I thought I would share some random thoughts from the experience for those who have never been.
This was the first time I attended the conference (or any conference of this size and scale). Interestingly enough, I was not blown away with much of the technology I saw, but I was taken aback by the size and scale of everything. The conference took up approximately 35 football fields worth of conference space (that spanned the entire Las Vegas Convention Center and all the conference space in two Vegas hotels) with hundreds of thousands of attendees.
Amidst the robot demonstrations, “connected” devices that leverage cell network or WiFi and super thin TVs, I was struck by how the conference organizers paid attention to every single little detail (from both a monetization and psychological perspective). Every square inch of space was maximized financially. All column and wall space was covered with advertisements; even wider than normal hallways had “social media centers” that didn’t have any computers (just couches and chairs) that were sponsored by a technology company, of course. The carpets in the exhibits had very comfortable padding compared to the walkway carpets that were just lying on top of the concrete. This caused you unconsciously (or consciously) to want to stop at exhibits to at least rest your feet almost forcing you to see the technology they were showcasing as the days progressed.
I was also struck by the proliferation of accessories. I am not sure how happy Steve Jobs would be to know that part of his legacy is the “iLounge” area of the expo where there were literally hundreds of companies that had covers and accessories for iPhones and iPads.
What surprised me most, as I alluded to earlier was that I was not blown away but any of the technology. Maybe it is because I am focused on new and cutting edge technology for my job, but part of it was that there didn’t seem to be too many amazing pieces of new technology showcased. I did think the waterproof phones and tablet computers were pretty neat (although I am not sure when I am going to accidently drop my iPad into a pool, and there was an awesome transparent TV made by Haier where you can see right through it- although I don’t have much of a desire to turn one of my windows into a TV. One useful technology (if developed in a less clunky way than I saw showcased) was a keyboard that could be projected on any surface, which would help improve the less than ideal typing experience that I have with touch screen phones/tablets.
Most of the technology was incremental improvements from existing products and a whole lot of HYPE (plus I am not sure if there is any way to make a TV any thinner).
In summary, I think my main takeaways from the experience were as follows:
- There are ways to monetize almost anything
- Technology can really improve (and complicate) how we live and we should leverage what we can to organize our work lives (this will become more pronounced as we see the technology tools we use at work meld together with what we use in our personal lives (like how soon we will not have to carry around a separate work phone, as we can access our work information on our personal devices)
- Wear comfortable shoes, walking around for 10 hours can be tough on the feet
- Hype can really make the unimpressive seem impressive if you don’t take a step back
Let me leave you with a few images from the event that I snapped (including seeing Snooki)
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