This year happened to be my first year going to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The show basically displays products from various companies that we should see in the upcoming year. The event lasts for nearly a week and includes thousands of products from hundreds of manufacturers in all different areas of tech. It’s held primarily in downtown Las Vegas and is a great event to visit if you’re into technology — and if you can.
As a member of the media, it’s always been my dream to go to as many significant events as I can. CES is the first big event that I’ve been to. As such, I wanted to go to as many press conferences, private meetings, show floor booths and anything else I could. I quickly found out that press conferences aren’t a real NEED to go to as media, seeing as we usually get embargos and press kits beforehand or during the events.
Everything else is incredibly fun and essential, in my opinion, to visit. Private meetings get you some hands-on time with yet-to-be-released products and more intimate settings. The massive show floor has way too many products, so many that you’ll not be able to view them all adequately. Even still, you can find some gems and hidden products, along with seeing many bigger companies and their catalogs.
One of my favorite parts of the events was just getting to meet and strengthen my relationships with the contacts I have with companies, as well as introducing myself to new companies that I’d love to work with. Beyond all the product releases and hands-on, networking was the main reason CES was so vital to me. Connecting with friends, colleagues, and business partners are essential in almost any field that you want to get into.
Speaking of connecting with friends, I got to room with a couple of members of YTE (Andrew and Alex) along with a few members of the 9to5 crew. I’ve known most of them for years and got to meet some for the first time in real life during the trip. We all had great fun together overall, and the trip definitely would’ve been boring without them.
As most of them were veterans of CES, they helped me to know the in’s and out’s of the event. I ended up saving a lot of time, exploring more things, and getting into special events by having their knowledge at the ready. Of course, hanging with friends all the time can hurt (or help) your productivity, which is already a struggle at an event like this. Next year, I’d still want them by my side.
Bigger than friends, though, are my personal influencers. These are the people who I look up to and respect in a different light. I got to meet a few YouTubers including, but not limited to, Karl Conrad, Armando Ferreira, and Carlos Delgado.
More importantly to me was meeting writers that I admire, considering I’m more of a writer than a YouTuber. Finally, after talking with them over Twitter the last few years, I got to meet with Tim and Kellen (of Droid-Life) and David (of Android Police). Kellen and Tim, being a bit lighter and freer, and David, being a bit more cynical, all gave me advice about the industry — directly or indirectly.
Talking with them solidified my thoughts on a career change into tech journalism. We also discussed widening and maturing my stance with my online persona. So that you know, they are all taller than you think…
Of course, you can get gifts from CES. Personally, I got several phone cases, computer accessories, and some other smaller stuff, but some of my friends got even bigger things such as the DJI Osmo Mobile 2. Even with getting these items, and potentially knowing that we were going to walk away with some free merch, it had little effect on the show’s impact on me.
CES was a great experience for me, regardless of what I physically got from the trip or the tech that I was able to view before anyone else. For me, it was all about networking and connections — talking with people whom I’ve never met before and improving long relationships with others. I definitely enjoyed the trip and expect to go again next year, and I hope a lot of others will. To circle back to the title of this piece, my experience from CES can be summed up as getting inspiration, perspective, and focus.