CES: A Woman Techie’s Survival Guide

Yes, this woman was working the floor last year.

Like a lot of techies, techie wanabees, and social media junkies who just got sucked into it, I’m headed to CES this week.

Unlike a lot of techies, I’m dreading it.  But I’ve developed a few survival skills.  So here they are –   – especially for women. Hope they help.

1. Wear comfortable shoes. I live in NY.  We walk here.  A lot.  But schlepping around the convention floor is exhausting, and there’s really no where to sit. So leave the heels at home. No one will be oggling you anyway; that’s what booth babes are for.

2. Bring healthy snacks. It may sound crazy, but you may not have time to eat during the day. The convention is HHHHHUUUUUUGE. And just getting from one appointment to another can take forever.  The only food is convention food. Which means it’s unhealthy and kind of sucks, and you’ll wait on a ridiculously long line for it.  So stick a few granola bars in your bag.  You’ll thank me later.

3. Give yourself time to get to and from the Convention Center:  There are shuttle buses.  But you could wait on line for them for 45 minutes.  No joke.  The taxi lines aren’t much better.  So plan for that.

4.  Be wary of those who want to live by the “What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” motto. Believe me, they won’t be people you want anything to happen with.  Ewww.  Again: that’s what booth babes are for.

5. If you must gamble, set yourself a budget and STICK TO IT.  Basic advice, I know.  But you’d be surprised how easy it is to tell yourself, “I’ll just try one more time to win it back.”  You won’t win it back.  Look at it this way: if the odds were in your favor, the gambling industry would have been out of business a long time ago.

6. Get ready to be in the minority.  If you’re a woman, you will be SERIOUSLY in the minority.  There are 150,000 people at this thing and 149,000 of them are men.  And not in a good way.  This is a serious geek fest.  Aside from the few hoodie wearing, high-top sporting hipster types who look young enough to be my kids (some of them might be), this is not a hip crowd.  These are tech geeks.  With all the cliche social failings that go with the moniker.

7. Don’t be fooled.  Every year, there’s something that’s the “BIG THING.”  Last year, it was 3D TVs.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a whole lot of people who ran out and bought those just because the powers that be at CES said they would.  As a matter of fact, I don’t know ANYONE who got one. Did anyone?

8. Get Outside Last year, I do believe that the only fresh air I got was while waiting for the shuttle bus. And by fresh air, I mean air saturated by the exhaust of dozens of transport buses and the body odor of thousands of tech geeks who just spent the day rushing around from appointment to appointment in a windowless concrete box.

9. Don’t get drunk. I know it’s Vegas.  I know there will be parties.  I know you will be tired and maybe jet lagged, or oxygen deprived.  But this is a business trip.  You will not want to call someone you met while there and have them say “Oh, right! YOU’RE the one.”  That’s bad for business.  Very very bad.

10.Try not to overhear what the hookers in the lobby of your hotel are saying.  Yes, there will be hookers.  Everywhere.  And I beg of you, BLOCK YOUR EARS.  Trust me on this, the things you hear them say will haunt you forever. (Can you feel me shuddering?  I’m shuddering.)

11. When in doubt, go with glitter.  This is Vegas, baby.  I know I said no big gambling, no big drinking, but here in Vegas, you can dress BIG.  Sequins, leather, high heels (only at night), flash!  Wear your most outrageous “I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this and I’m never going to have anywhere to wear it” outfit and I guarantee, you’ll fit right in.  And if you don’t, who cares?  What happens in Vegas…well, you know the rest.


  1. says

    Nice post. If I ever go to CES, I’ll be sure to print and save these instructions so that I may have ’em with me; that is well, unless you have a new post w/ a different set of rules.

  2. says

    I love this. I was at CES once before so I totally agree. It is great that you wrote it all down to warn others and to remind me. I’m about to pack, and might throw in some more glittery clothes for nighttime, if I can find any in my closet.

  3. says

    SO true. All of it. I sat down at the only empty chair at a fast food place last year, and the guys sitting there warned me that I probably didn’t want to hear their conversation. I told them I could handle anything.

    I was wrong.

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