The Best-Kept Secret of CESJanuary 13th, 2012 | Posted by in Uncategorized
We just got back from our first ever Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
At CES we learned a little secret: it’s not really about what happens on the floor of the convention center.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with CES, it’s the world’s largest tech tradeshow. CES takes place every year in the Las Vegas Convention Center, transforming it into a nerve center of the latest tech products, ideas and deals.
This year there were 3100+ exhibitors, ranging from Samsung to Intel to Ford to TLYT, and it took up three separate conference halls in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Over 150,000 people flock to this tech mecca every year – consumers, buyers, press, exhibitors, advertisers and the rest of the tech world. The event spills over from the multi-million-square-foot convention center and takes over the entire city. Every hotel, restaurant and cab line is booked. Not to mention, every night, companies try to one up each other by throwing lavish suite parties and hosting bands in private clubs.
The press tends to hate on CES, mostly because of the logistical nightmares of attending an event this big. This year was no different. As you can imagine, it was an absolute madhouse – too many exhibitors, too many people and too much news. It was nearly impossible to walk from point A to point B, and it was nearly impossible for companies to stand out.
People often complain about the CES chaos, but they’re missing the point. CES isn’t just about the exhibits and the newest and coolest gadgets. It’s about what happens when people aren’t at the exhibits, behind closed doors, in private showrooms and executive meetings. The event is really about the deals that are made by the world’s largest tech companies. There are an insane amount of deals because CES is the only time every major tech executive is in one place.
Apple is famous for not being among the countless floor exhibitors at CES, but Apple is definitely there, in private meetings. Microsoft, which has always been a huge mainstay at the show, has decided to follow suit and announced that this year would be its last major keynote and exhibit presence.
We were fortunate enough to experience the real CES. Most of our partners were at the tradeshow, so we had back-to–back meetings every day. We sprinted between the Cosmo, the Aria, various meeting rooms in the convention center and dinner meetings. So many meetings, so little time.
It was awesome. We were able to make more progress in four days at CES than we would usually make in a month.
Here’s our takeaway from CES, and a piece of advice for other startups: if your partners are at CES and you plan on going, set up meetings ahead of time. If you leverage the conference correctly, it can be a fantastic opportunity to make deals happen.
CES isn’t just about the floor exhibits. CES is about the people and companies who come together to get deals done, to pave the way for yet another year of great products.