This is the second year in a row that I decided not to attend the International CES tradeshow in Las Vegas. I just don't think tradeshows are that useful anymore. It used to be a good way to learn about new advances in our industry and meet with potential partners and suppliers, but that's not the case for us. Also, I've never invested in a booth at CES to demonstrate our technology because we simply cannot afford it, so I don't know how beneficial that would be. As far as getting new information about technological advances in our industry, there is so much noise at CES, that it is hard to learn anything except the big announcements coming from the major manufacturers. Especially those that happen to present a keynote address, which you can't attend unless you happen to be lucky enough to get an invite or are a member of the press. As for networking, it hasn't really been as useful as I'd like. Some of the companies that I'd like to meet with don't have a booth at CES and those that do usually get a private suite in the Hilton and will only meet by appointment. Naturally, their appointments are all booked up with existing partners or potential partners that have the potential to become large accounts. They don't seem to be very interested in meeting with a startup that can't commit to purchasing 1,000 units a month. On the odd chance that we do get to meet with a company of interest, we usually talk with a marketing representative who can't provide us with any useful information.
As a gadget junky, it was kind of fun to attend CES and walk through the exhibits and see first hand all the gadgets. I especially enjoyed touring the high performance audio & home theater exhibits at the Venetian Towers. So maybe I'll go back some day. I still register every year just in case I decide to go.
Anyhow, with the Internet, I can read most of the big announcements and learn about the new gadgets from my office and/or home. On Wednesday night I even watched Steve Ballmer's keynote address streaming live to my HTPC. In the next couple posts I'll talk about a few of the big announcements and speculate on their potential impact on our business.