Thursday, January 12, 2006

Captain Kirk and CES

I’ve often been asked to describe what its like to attend CES, outside seeing all the new toys, and just today a great comparison occurred to me.

At a show smothered in high tech products like CES a Star Trek analogy is always accurate so here we go. In an episode from the original series Capt. Kirk is kidnapped and taken to a planet that is so heavily overpopulated its leaders want to introduce new diseases in order to thin out the population. So Kirk is brought in as a Typhoid Mary to infect everyone as part of this new planet wide national health policy.

Kirk finally figures out what is going on and refuses to cooperate. To encourage him to change his mind they show him street scenes with people walking along sandwiched together like canned sardines.

Anyway, the canned sardine description fits CES perfectly. Something like 150,000 people attend the show making the convention center probably one of he more densely populated areas in the country at the show’s peak.

This level of attendance is great for the industry, but it imposes several challenges to those actually here. The biggest challenge is developing enough patience so you can happily wait in line for taxi cabs, food, the bathroom, buses, to see home theater demonstrations, and to simply walk the floor.

In addition to patience what the show requires is a certain level of cleverness. How to get from point A to point B the fastest. Unlike geometry a straight line is not always the answer to this problem. Sometimes walking a mile or so to a hotel for a meeting is faster then taking a cab. Or walking around the outside of the convention center instead of through the exhibit areas will always speed your trip.


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