For the past several years, I have made the annual tech trek to CES in Las Vegas. For the uninitiated, CES is the Consumer Electronics Show, once a trade show exclusively for electronic retailers to make their biggest yearly merchandise buys, now a humongous tech-spectacle. It’s where big tech announcement take place, new tech products are launched, and where 3200 exhibitors hawk their wares to 150,000 attendees in the hopes of ringing up a sale, racking up some publicity, or wrangling some coverage. In other words, it’s a massive techie-dream – or not, depending on your point of view.
I think my friend Ben Rudolph, (aka Ben the PC Guy) said it best: CES is the Best Worst Week.
I admit it felt a little funny not to be at CES this year…at least until I made this list.
So here it is: The Top Ten Things I Didn’t Miss by Not Going to CES this Year:
10. Porn Star Karaoke and Porn Star Beer Pong
Yep. Those are real. And they’re really part of the Adult Entertainment Expo (AVN).
For several years, The Adult Entertainment Expo ( aka The Porn Convention) coincided with CES. That meant you were very likely to run into frighteningly young looking (are they legal young) Porn Stars while waiting on the taxi line, or getting breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Worse, you might hear, at 7am, in the lobby of your hotel, as you awaited a breakfast meeting, lovely lines like this: “Honey, you’re gonna need a lot more money than that if you want to stick your fist in there.”
This year (and last) the AVN Show did not coincide with CES. So even if I had gone to CES, I would have missed it. Still, I’m glad I missed it, so I’m keeping it on the list.
What’s that you say? You WANT to go to the Adult Entertainment Expo? First of all, ew. Second of all, fan tickets start at $55.
9. Booth Babes
While the preponderance of Booth Babes — scantily clad women standing at the entrance to exhibitor booths to attract customers – has declined, the Booth Babe is not yet extinct, and her very existence is an affront to feminists and anyone else not eager to sport hot pants, stilettos, a tank top and a push up bra in an expo hall filled with 150,000 men. Tech geek men. Think about it.
8. Hour-Long Taxi Lines
Going to CES means standing on line: for coffee in the morning, for the complimentary shuttle back to your hotel (we usually stay in the truly gross but at least you don’t have to wait on the shuttle line LVH – but I digress), for a Taxi to whatever party you’re invited to.
Not fun. Especially since it’s usually cold and rainy during CES. Just because Mother Nature likes to torture us.
7. Never seeing actual daylight.
It is Las Vegas after all.
6. Cigarette Smoke
However you felt about NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg, it’s hard to criticize no smoking in restaurants, offices, and shops. (Parks, you could quibble about, but not here.) The no smoking initiative was Bloomberg’s baby, and it spread throughout the country and Europe. But not Las Vegas. No matter what they do to cover it up – blasting the air conditioning, blasting air freshener (ugh!), or installing state of the art air filtration systems, the stench of cigarettes is everywhere. It’s kind of like permanently being attached to a homeless guy on the subway, olfactorily speaking. Yay.
5. Same Stuff as Last Year…only Bigger and More Of it.
The first CES, in 1970, introduced the VCR; in 1991, they introduced the Compact Disc; the XBox debuted there in 2001; the 3D HDTV in 2009. CES has heralded the introduction of tablets and smartphones, of electric cars, connected appliances and more. This year? Bigger HDTV’s, more connected appliances, cooler cars.
6. Bluetooth Sports Bras
Wearable tech was everywhere this year. Too bad no one would actually want to wear most of it. I mean, I’d like to maximize the efficiency of my workouts as much as the last weekend warrior, but a sports bra equipped with textile elextrodes? (Ok, so it isn’t BlueTooth – do you know what Textile elextrodes are? And no, it’s not a typo. See? I didn’t think so.) And I don’t think so. My low tech bra handles the girls just fine.
When you’ve got high tech non-surgical, bra-free way to hoist up the ladies, let me know.
5. Getting Goosed
When you get to be my age, a leering construction worker sometimes feels more flattering than offensive (I take it where I can get it these days). Getting goosed on the aforementioned shuttle bus line (Hence the subsequent LVH stays) did not, however, feel flattering. It felt violating and disgusting. Next time, the guy will loose his hand.
4. People Saying “What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.”
Yes, it’s a brilliant marketing strategy. I get it. But here’s the thing: when you’re with your colleagues and potential customers, and you bring a woman who is clearly a hooker – I’m sorry, excuse me – an escort, to a party, and you both proceed to get sloppy drunk and touch each other in ways that would be inappropriate in private, let alone at a corporate sponsored event – it isn’t staying in Vegas. It is following you for the rest of your professional life.
3. That exhausted, dehydrated, deja vu feeling you get after three days of endlessly walking the floor, seeing miles of phone cases, endless rows of headphones, and more cables than you knew existed.
Yeah, that feeling.
2. Hotel Wireless
There’s never enough, even if you bring your own WiFi, because there are 150,000 + tech people in Las Vegas, all with multiple devices, all posting to social media, or reporting back to their home base. It’s amazing: you’re at a tech conference, but completely unable to communicate with anyone outside of the conference itself. Scary.
1. Bad Pick Up Lines
Here are a few I’ve heard in CES’s past:
1. Hey ladies…are you drunk?
2. I buy overstocks of electronic equipment. I can get you a TV real cheap.
3. What happens in Vegas…
Of course I wouldn’t rule out attending next year. I mean, CES is kind cool. Porno Beer Pong and all.