Tuesday, January 12, 2010

9 days at CES

You will read from other writers about the four days of CES. That is the official days when the show is open. I am here to describe to you what happens before the show opens and during the event.

Think of CES as a small city onto itself. There are about 3,0oo exhibits and some are almost a city block long. Others are as small as a 10 by 10 foot booth. Some have 2000 TV screens showing waterfalls and plabes flying overhead. Others are lucky to have a few brochures.

You do not so much enjoy a CES as survive it. The first five days before the show opens are horrible. All the aisles are filled to overflowing with boxes, giant crates, carpets, furniture, cables and debris. To work your way to your booth you must first negotiate The Maze. All the aisles are blocked in some way or another. Many aisles are impossible to pass through... you have to go back and explore other ways. If it takes 5 minutes to get to your booth space during the show, it takes an hour to get there before it opens. For me, I started on Sunday to try to find my booth space and the show opened Thursday.

Every booth is not concerned for safety or ease of passage. Their only concern is blocking the aisles to build their booth. Where during the show you can walk through huge booths... you find them roped off and no passage before the show. Aisles can lead to a total dead end before the show. Skilled mountain climbers might find the hodgepodge of piled crates and cables and rubbish too much to attempt. Many of the exhibits are 2-3 stories high so seeing over them is largely impossible. Only a keen sense of direction can save you from The Maze.

I twisted my left knee on Monday. There is no quitting at CES. You work no matter what malady befalls you. All the time you know you have four days of standing at booth duty to put up with at the end. You find yourself constantly putting restroom breaks off until the last second. Often there is no place to eat open before the show. You try to find your booth space, your booth sleleton, and your furnishings... plus 40 boxes of brochures, TV's, signs, placards, samples, and much more.

Someone wondered why I did not post on our new introductions during the show. There is no time. During the days before the show you concentrate on getting badges for booth builders and finding your materials, you pick up people at the airport in the early night, and you answer enmails and phone calls all night. During the show there are at least ten people at any time expecting you to answer their questions, media interviews, film crews, and people trying to sell everything from leather cases to new Text-To-Speech. You do not enjoy lunch... you eat just to sustain energy. You drink water when and if available. You eat dinner with your fellow employees and hope to get 6 hours of sleep. Everyone seems cross with you, demands your complete attention, and has no respect for formality. People walk into the booth demanding homage much of the time... and homage to what they are trying to sell to you. You DO treasure those that you pleased and regret those who left angry. You are trying to learn about new introductions and relay them to attendees while on the fly. Often you have no training on a new device... you may no very little more than its size and shape.

It is a true nightmare and yet a joy. You love the accomplishments and despise your failures. You soldier through everything and try to smile through it all.

1 comment:

  1. Your effort was worth it. (I saw EzReader at CES and ordered it online)


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