A startup’s guide to CES – TechSwitch

    The Consumer Electronics Show, like Burning Man, is a large occasion in the course of the desert. Also like Burning Man it’s populated by a few of the best minds in know-how. But, in contrast to Burning Man, these individuals are all dressed and just a few of them are on laborious psychotropic medicine. Also CES is generally inside.
    Here are some suggestions and tips I’ve collected over a protracted profession spent staying in terrible accommodations and wandering round huge convention halls filled with issues that gained’t be launched for one more 12 months. Hopefully they are often of some use.

    Why do you have to go?
    CES is just not about innovation. It is about networking with potential patrons. The present is very large and it’s standard primarily as a result of it’s in Las Vegas, a metropolis so good they made the film Casino about it. But the times of you and your brother being dragged out into the corn and crushed to loss of life are gone and what’s left is an grownup playground of 24-hour craps and dangerous drinks.

    You are usually not going to CES to drink and gamble, nevertheless. As a startup you’re going there to search out prospects or get press. If you’ve the hustle and the need you may simply meet a whole bunch of potential patrons in your know-how, together with some massive names who often purchase huge cubicles to indicate off their “innovative” techniques. When you go, bypass the armed sales space guards who stand on the entrance directing visitors and go discuss to essentially the most bored individual on the sales space. This is often some center supervisor who was wrangled into telling folks about his firm’s most boring innovation. Talk to her or him like a human being, provide to take them out for a espresso, do no matter it takes to get a heat lead inside that huge firm. Repeat this a whole bunch of occasions.

    CES prices $300 and the tickets to LV and the lodge will value way more. Be certain you’re not cash-poor earlier than you go. This isn’t a Hail Mary in your startup, it’s a step alongside the best way.

    If you don’t assume you may pull off this type of social engineering I describe, please don’t go to CES, or as an alternative ship essentially the most personable member of the group. It’s too massive and there are already sufficient nervous nerds strolling round.
    You haven’t deliberate but?
    So you’ve determined to go. Do you’ve tickets? A lodge? At least an Airbnb? It’s just about too late proper now to get any of these issues in time for January eighth, however you may attempt.
    Further, when you’ve got a pal who lives there, go stick with them. The accommodations gouge you throughout this week. Check out the Excalibur, arguably one of many worst on the strip. Right now, you may keep at this illustrious medieval-themed lodge for $25:

    Need a smoke-smelling room abutting a flying buttress topped with an animatronic Merlin round January 9? Fear not, my liege!

    The finest time to ebook for CES is a 12 months earlier than CES. The second finest time isn’t.

    Maybe you’re going to purchase a sales space. I wouldn’t, however go forward and provides it a attempt. I like what my pal Tommy right here did. Instead of going by one of many numerous staffing companies in Las Vegas he put out a basic name for assist and he obtained loads of responses. Lots of individuals could be prepared to go to Las Vegas to assist out for not a lot money.

    Do all the things in your energy to remain as near the Convention Center or Sands (the corridor with all of the startups) as doable. It is a dwelling hell attempting to get round Las Vegas and also you’ll thank me later for each hour in a cab line you save for your self.
    Go to the place the motion is
    If you are attempting to get press in your product launch then you definately got here to the flawed place. First, for those who’re going to CES to launch then you definately MUST LAUNCH AT CES. I’ve seen too many idiotic startups who flew in, paid for all the things after which instructed the world they’d launch in like two months or at any time when Sven again on the principal workplace in Oslo was finished placing the ending touches on the machine driver. If you’re not able to ship don’t go.

    Do not spam journos about your product until you realize them. Your emails will fall right into a black gap.
    Further, as an alternative of getting a sales space on the present I like to recommend getting a sales space at Showstoppers or Digital Experience. The occasions value about $8,000 for a sales space and are roughly the identical. They are held earlier than the principle occasion they usually’re the place all of the journalists go to get free prime rib and ignore you. It’s additionally the place the entire small market journalists and the bizarre freelancers who put on fishing vests and stay in Scranton wander round, so be able to perform a little goal acquisition.

    Want my recommendation? Put one individual at your sales space who can inform your story in two minutes precisely. That individual should inform that story as many occasions as doable and provides the odd journalist who will stand there asking dumb questions for an hour the stiff arm at any time when another person comes up. Maximize your message dispersal. Also, when you’ve got product, then have about 20 items there able to disclose to Engadget, Gizmodo, The New York Times, The Verge and the like. Don’t give something to me if I see you. I don’t need that crap in my suitcase.

    Now for the ingenious half. Find the most well-liked meals merchandise on the buffets and stand subsequent to it. When a hungry journo comes as much as seize a spaghetti taco or no matter, scope out their badge and provide to stroll them over to your sales space. They’ll harrumph a bit of however until they’re one of many numerous millennial reporters who imagine they should live-blog these occasions they don’t have anything else to try this evening besides get drunk on gin and tonics. Drag them over to your sales space and provides them the two-minute pitch. They’ll be so busy consuming they gained’t be capable of ask questions. Write down their e-mail deal with — don’t ask them for a card — and provides them yours. Then e-mail the heck out of them for the subsequent few days to remind them about your launch.

    Further, by no means lease a set and invite journos to return to you. They have sufficient bother getting off the bed, not to mention getting a cab to your dumb room. If a journo desires to satisfy, you MUST go to them. Don’t make them come to you.
    Manage expectations

    Like Burning Man, CES is the worst present on the planet held in some of the unforgiving habitats identified to man. As lengthy as you settle for these two factors you may be tremendous. You is not going to “win” CES. At finest, CES gives you a kick within the pants in regard to your competitors and precise worth to the world. Want to know when you’ve got buyer match? Go to CES and meet your prospects. Want to see if journalists care about your thought? Pitch them when they’re fats and sassy at CES and feeling highly effective. That expertise will humble even the largest ego.

    Remember: The world is a chilly, uncaring place and that is doubly true at CES.
    Be cautious with PR folks

    See that animated GIF above? That’s how I handle my CES e-mail. I scroll by the topic strains, search for folks I do know, then choose all unread and delete them. One of the worst issues about CES is that the letters “CES” present up in a number of phrases and, barring writing a daily expression, it is rather troublesome to filter them out; 99 p.c of your CES emails will go unread.

    So do you have to rent a PR individual? Yes and no. If you rent them to simply ship emails then you definitely may as effectively burn your cash. However, if that PR individual can lead you across the present and introduce you to of us who may also help you get your story out then it is perhaps value it. Sadly, there isn’t any solution to inform how incompetent a PR individual is till you get on the bottom with them. I do know a couple of I can suggest. Email me. Otherwise be very cautious.
    Don’t go

    Look, CES sucks. I’m not going to misinform you. It’s too massive, everybody there’s distracted by potential blackjack winnings, and attempting to get observed or launch at CES is akin to holding a poetry studying in the course of a rock live performance: no one is paying consideration and also you really could annoy extra folks than you attain. It’s your name whether or not or not you wish to give it a attempt, however be able to hustle. Besides, there’s all the time subsequent 12 months.

    Bonus Tip: Buy a humidifier
    I discovered this trick from Brian Lam, previously of Gizmodo: while you land go to Walgreens and purchase a really low-cost humidifier. Put it in your room and go away it on all day. Las Vegas air may be very dry and also you’re virtually assured to get chapped lips and a cough for those who don’t have not less than one spot the place it doesn’t really feel such as you’re on the floor of Mars.

    This was us at CES 2008 or so. We had been such candy summer season youngsters.

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