This time a year ago, we had just started tossing around the idea of attending CES in 2007. It was still too early to solidify plans at that point, but as the year crawled on, things started to become clearer and it seemed we might be able to make the trip after all. By October, it was official: we were going to CES! Things happened to work out well: I was on break from school, Keith was able to take time off from his new job and Josh… well he is somewhat self-employed, so he didn’t have too difficult a time leaving either.
Those of you that read our Road Trip To CES articles may want to skip over this, but for everyone else, I will give you a quick rundown of our “adventure” getting to Las Vegas. You see, I (like most people) have a few fears in life… and flying just happens to be one of them. I braved this fear once before, in 2004 on a trip to Los Angeles, CA. While it’s obvious that the plane didn’t crash or anything like that, the experience was a living hell. I discovered that I have serious issues with pressure buildup in my ears. I was nearly in tears each time we touched down (the layover in Dallas didn’t help matters). After that experience, I vowed I would never fly again and thus far, I have been true to my word.
So… a road trip was in order… all the way from Olive Branch, MS (suburb of Memphis, TN). I won’t go into the details as all of that can be found in the articles mentioned above, but the trip took us 30 hours… straight driving. Things wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been for the insane blizzard-like conditions that we managed to hit both on the way there and the way back. So, what did I learn from this? Next year, we will be flying, that’s for sure. 3-4 hour flight vs. 30 hours in a vehicle… yeah, I’m sure you can do the math. If we crash and burn, well, at least I can say I have experienced CES once before…
As for the show itself and our coverage, I would have to say that it was more of a learning experience than anything else. From being totally lost trying to pick up our press badge holders to hitting the show floor late every day… things were pretty much an unorganized mess. A lot of this is my fault and the result of poor planning. But, in my defense, I had never been to a trade show like this and had no idea what to expect. Next year, I will have our complete schedule planned out well in advance. This will include many more scheduled meetings with companies and attending more press conferences and parties.
Also, we will be splitting up rather than having all of us go to the same event/booth. Perhaps two person teams (depending on how many people go next year) would work well… one person to take photos/notes while the other person handled the majority of the conversation with the company rep. We would easily get twice as much of the show covered this way. And speaking of coverage, look for everyone to publish articles next year. This past year I thought I would be able to handle the task of writing articles by myself… big mistake. While it all got done, it was a huge strain and I found myself staying up each night trying to piece together the next article. Don’t get me wrong, Josh and Keith were very helpful with taking notes, photos and editing work but if everybody grinds out a few articles next year, I think the process will go much smoother and give you guys a broader range of coverage and perspectives.
The last thing I want to cover is hotel arrangements and general expenses. Keith has a friend that lives in Vegas who was nice enough to let us crash at his place for the week. This saved us probably $1,000 if not more in hotel expenses that we would have had to pay. This arrangement worked out well but it did have its downfalls. For one, we were about 20-30 minutes from downtown Vegas. Tack on an extra 30 minutes or so for traffic and parking headaches, and we have easily lost an hour of travel time each way. Another thing that bothered me… the townhouse we were staying at was two stories. The bedrooms were upstairs with everything else downstairs. Normally not a problem… but with me, anytime I needed something from the opposite location or needed to go there, I had to bug Keith or Josh. One thing about me… I hate asking people for help all the time, as I know it gets old, so a lot of times I will just go without. It would have been nice to do things on my own without needing to bother them all the time.
With that said, I am seriously considering going the hotel route next year. I know it will be much more expensive… but it will also eliminate the wasted time we had during travel and I wouldn’t have to bother everyone else as mentioned above. Oh, and since we would already be on the strip, we would not have to rent a vehicle… something we would have to do if we stayed at Joe’s again.
In closing, I have high hopes for next year’s show. While it may cost a bit more to attend next year, I think things will be much easier in the long run. Speaking of cost, I calculated a total of $688.47 in personal expenses for the nine day trip…