What I Accomplished at CES 2014

ces2014-header

Each year I travel to Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronics Show. It is a show where many companies show off products that they hope to release in 2014 and many products actually get launched at the show so if you are into computers or consumer electronics it is a really exciting show. But why do I go to the show? Of course to see all of these products, but on top of that I am doing much, much more.

Covered the show – Of course ThinkComputers is a tech news site so going to CES gives us a chance to report on the show. We let everyone know what new products are coming out etc and this brings a lot of traffic to the site, which equals more money.

Met with new companies – CES gives me the perfect opportunity to meet with new companies. During the year it is very hard to start a relationship with a new company. E-mails get ignored, phone calls never get returned etc. When you meet with someone in person you start that relationship because they actually know who you are.

Built on existing relationships – If we already have relationships with companies then we still go ahead and meet with them to continue that relationship. We make sure we get on the review list for the products that they have coming out, talk about possibly advertising with us and just to catch up on what they have going on. Again when you meet with people in person they are more likely to do things for you.

Networked – At the show there are various events and you get to meet a lot of really cool people. It is the perfect opportunity to network and meet new people in your industry. These could be people who may never have heard of ThinkComputers so just getting the name out there is good, but on top of that these could possibly be people who you can do business with.

There is a lot to do at CES and it is perfect event to help build your business. So if you were at CES this year were you productive?

The CES 2013 Swag

Ah swag, you know the free stuff you get for attending conferences and events. I make this post every year after CES and I usually end up coming home with something cool. Out of all the events that I attend CES is where I know I will get the most swag. I actually plan for it by bringing an extra suitcase to take swag home!

Above you can see most of the swag I got this year, minus all of the t-shirts that went into the wash before I realized I needed them for this photo! With the shirts I normally wear them in my unboxing videos, so if you want your companies shirt in a video send me one!

The green and black bookbag was the press bag this year and it was not that bad. It sure beat the bag from last year! One thing I always look to get at CES are flash drives, I mean who can’t have enough flash drives right?! Some companies are very cheap and only give our their press released on 512MB drives, but this year I got a 32GB drive from Mushkin, a 16GB drive from Corsair and two 8GB drives from MSI.

The coolest thing I got this year was a Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet. I won it at the Cooler Master party, so it isn’t technically swag. I actually don’t even know what I am going to do with it. I already have a tablet…which I rarely use. Did you attend CES? How much swag did you get?

Why I attend Trade Shows and Conferences

Well it is that time of year again!  Tomorrow morning I will be jumping on a plane to head to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  If you are going to CES make sure you check on my guide on how to survive the show.  Conferences and trade shows are great to go to, but many people do not attend them.  One of the main reasons is the cost.  Flying anywhere these days is not cheap and renting a condo for a week in Vegas isn’t either.  I used to try to justify the costs of the trip by telling myself the coverage would bring more people to ThinkComputers, but it is so much more than that.  So here is why I attend trade shows and conferences.

Facetime with Companies
If your business is online there is a pretty good chance most of your communication is done via e-mail.  While this is not a bad thing it is always good to meet people in person.  If someone actually knows you they will be more likely to help your business or want to do business with you.  This is one of the most crucial parts about attending these events and will really help you grow your business.

Networking
Say you are attending a conference about online marketing, there is probably a good chance there are people there who are in the same business as you.  Or maybe they do something completely different, but you meet and really hit it off.  This could be a future business partner.  Networking at conferences is just as important as attending the sessions.  Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask them what they do.  It is always good to meet new people in your industry.

Learn Something
This is a given if you are going to a conference.  You are going to attend sessions and hopefully learn something new that will benefit your business.  Really pay attention during sessions because remember you (or your company) is paying for it.  Even if you are going to a conference you are going to get a hands on experience with products or something similar.  Make sure you take home some valuable information.  Most likely if you are attending a conference you traveling so this is another way to learn something.  How do you think I know so much about Vegas?

Seeing Friends & Getting out of Town
Working in the same office day in and day out can be very annoying.  Often you may feel stuck or that you need new surroundings.  A conference is the perfect cure, it gets you out of town!  Along with that if you are attending a conference there are probably people in your industry that you are friends with that are also attending.  For me CES is the time of year when I see all of my friends who work in the tech industry or that run a tech site.  I normally only see them once or twice a year so it is a great time to catch up.

Coverage
As I said I used to justify my trips with the whole “coverage” thing, but as you can see it is much more than that.  But you should cover or blog about the conferences you attend.  I would assume many people would be interested and it can serve as an excuse to get your company to send you to trade shows or conferences.  Also if you cover conferences you can most likely get a press / media pass to the event for free!

So I’m off to Vegas tomorrow, make sure you follow me on twitter to see what I’m up to all this week during CES.

A Guide to Surviving the Consumer Electronics Show

ces-logo

As the year comes to an end that means the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is right around the corner. I’ve been going to CES since 2006 and I have learned quite a lot since that first trip where I was totally clueless. This guide should help you survive CES even if you have attended the show before.

Make use of the Monorail – This is one of the most useful things during CES. The Las Vegas monorail will take you from most of the hotels on the strip to the convention center…in 6 minutes. No taxi is going to get you there faster than that, hell you will most likely wait in a taxi line longer than that. A 3-day pass for the monorail is around $30-40, you could easily spend more than that per day on taxi’s. My first year I spent close to $300 on taxi’s just the first 2 days of CES!

Wear comfortable shoes – CES is the largest trade show in North America, which means there is going to be a lot to see. This means you are going to be doing a lot of walking. Make sure you have comfortable shoes or you are going to end up with blisters on your feet. This has happened to me quite a few times.

Make sure your room has a fridge – Most hotels will give you a free mini-fridge if you request one. This will allow you to store drinks etc. You don’t want to have to leave your hotel late at night to go get a cold drink. This just gives you easy access.

Find out where companies are located before you schedule your meetings – The Las Vegas convention center is HUGE! Before you schedule your meetings find out where the company you will be meeting with is located. You don’t want to have to walk across the entire convention center 10 times for different meetings. Also many companies are setup in hotels so schedule accordingly.

Take advantage of the free lunch / dinners – If you are a member of the press you are provided with a free lunch each day of CES, take advantage of it! CES is a busy week and you can forget about eating because there is so much going on. Without food your body is going to shut down and you don’t want that to happen during CES. Many of the events have free food as well.

Attend the Parties – There are normally 3-4 parties a night during CES. Even if you are tired I suggest attending them. First because they are the best networking events and second because they will allow you to wind down at the end of the day.

I hope this guide helps you survive CES and if you will be in Vegas in January let me know!

The CES 2012 Swag Haul!

One of the best things about going to CES is getting swag, free stuff companies give out as they lure you to come check out their booth. I mean what better way for companies to get your attention then with free stuff! Also rumor has it that on the last day of the show if you stick around long enough many companies will just give away stuff so they don’t have to pack it up and take it back with them. Anyways here is what I was able to snag this year at CES.

Some of the more noteworthy things are a tablet, Thermaltake headset, Corsair solid state drive, and a Kingston Wi-Drive. My favorite thing would have to be the backpack from Rosewill (the black one on the right). It is actually a really nice backpack, much better than the one CES gives press. It is more or less a camera bag with a bunch of protective compartments in it. I used it on my way back from Vegas as my carry-on and I plan to use it in the future, so thanks Rosewill!

Stay tuned for a contest on ThinkComputers where I will be giving a lot of this stuff away!