Brian's Concluding Thoughts on CES 2013 - The Pre-MWC Show
Anand asked each of us to write up some final thoughts on CES 2013, something which is honestly a daunting task at best, and a potentially controversial or rage-inducing one at worst. Having now attended three CESes, I still have a relatively small window of reference within to gauge this one, but some things like CES need almost no context.
Press Conferences at CES are often largely fruitless, but something to behold
First, CES is and hopefully always will be a spectacle. I actually disagree with many who say that Las Vegas shouldn't be the venue for CES. That's because there's something appropriate about Las Vegas being the home to CES, since it's a city and environment I approach with as much skepticism and trepidation as the products and announcements made during the show. Almost everything you see isn't what it seems, and I've recounted a few analogies in person that I think bear repeating here. Just like the showiest buildings and people usually have the least to offer (and thus rely entirely on show and presentation to draw you in), so too do exhibitors and companies and everyone giving you their exactingly rehearsed pitch. That is to say good products and announcements draw their own crowds and don't need overselling with dramatic entrances and expensive demos. Some of the most engaging and busy companies I met with had almost no presence on the show floor, and instead had only a tiny meeting room with a single table and a few chairs. Similarly just like hotels on the strip appear close and within walking distance (signs can be read almost two miles away), so too should one approach the release dates for things announced at CES — they're almost always further away than they appear. Finally Vegas itself is an carefully engineered, computationally optimized environment designed to extract maximum dollar from anyone it entwines, and so too the CEA crafts (and engineers) a show that will be crowded regardless of the number of attendees, and record breaking in scale regardless of whether there's actually any real growth going on. I guess what I'm saying is that there is a certain kind of skepticism one has to approach everything CES related with, and in that sense the only appropriate context for gauging CES is itself, as a subset of Las Vegas. I don't think you could ever have a CES detached from that environment, and especially not without the pervasive, eye-stinging smell of the casino floors, which is a world-un...