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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 11 January 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Benchmark Reviews Experiences 2008 International CES
See Everything at CES In Only Two Days
Making Time Count While You Visit CES

Making Time Count at CES

With my trusty Canon PowerShot S3IS loaded with enough spare batteries to power a Hybrid vehicle and a box of 100 business cards adorned with the Benchmark Reviews logo, I made every second count. Not unlike everywhere else in the USA, it counts to be nimble on your toes while scaling the aisles and walkways. It seemed as though people would suddenly (and thoughtlessly) stop in the middle of a fast moving walkway, and it never failed that the dozens of people behind that person suddenly cause a mess of confusion and frustration. Good thing for me that I'm an edgy person who is not above pushing someone aside who decides it's nap-time in the middle of rush hour.

Probably the most interesting experience for me at the 2008 International CES was the number of people who created a very clear divide between those who belong and those who don't. By mid-morning the mouth breathers had cleared the halls to take a seat and eat from the low hanging fruits near the main doors where open pastures awaited them. I used this opportunity to weave through moving traffic like water down a rocky stream, slipping off of bodies as I navigate directly towards the marketing staff behind a booth. In retrospect, I should have come with at least 500 business cards; my little box of 100 lasted less than one day of CES.


As day one of CES'08 came to a close, it was apparent to me that this show was more work than anything else. I missed breakfast and it hurt, but thanks to a very new name in the graphics card market I was able to talk shop while they provided lunch. I would learn that requesting a digital media kit would often save me a lot of time that would otherwise require photos and note taking, and in a few very rare cases it would earn me a flash drive pre-loaded with images and press releases. Certainly I think that more product notes would have benefited the second part of this article series: 2008 International CES Computer Technology Highlights. But for now you'll just have to hear about how it was all done.

The one great thing about CES is that even a geek can get invited to a party. Parties are something I have grown bored of over the past year, as I belong to a growing population of hip and social tech-nerds; hopefully a rise to the end of Star Wars collectible-loving WoW junkies who have over-populated the industry for the past few decades. But I digress, because this was leading into another party.

With every multi-day mega convention comes the parties sponsored by show exhibitors, which in the case of Benchmark Reviews it means product sponsors. It's very satisfying to meet with the people you correspond and professionally challenge with product suggests, but it's far better to have them invite you to a party where they supply the good time for you. Like many of the editors in this industry, each night could have several different social engagements which require brief attendance. That might seem impersonal, but these are really still professional events with a social emphasis. We drink, we eat, and we're merry; but we talk shop all night long. The image above was taken while out on the Ballagio balcony while chatting with Dr. Michael Schuette, Vice President to OCZ's technology development.

OCZ Technology was the most entertaining (and enlightening) party of my visit to CES, and it allowed me to change hats for a moment and introduce myself to many strangers whom I would hope to be site affiliates. More often than not, that stranger was someone owned a site that I never knew of, or a site that would never know of me. As the candle burned bright into the midnight hours, OCZ was kind enough to offer a prize raffle. To my surprise, people had left the party early and abandoned their tickets, which ultimately landed me with more than a few prizes (which I gave away) before I walked off with a 32GB flash drive for my efforts. Not a bad night at all: meet my friendly sponsors, learn about their upcoming projects (mind controlled mouse actuation), and enjoy free drinks and prizes. I could only hope that tomorrow would be forgiving on my fatigued, malnourished, and unrested body.

Benchmark Reviews Most Interesting Experiences at the 2008 International CES

Heading into day two of CES, the parties added to a lack of food and sleep which forced made it difficult to revisit the hustle needed to survive day one. Luckily, I wouldn't need it... much. Day two was planned to be a short half day at the Sands and Venetian, where I would meet with only a few sponsors to the site and introduce myself to a few that have eluded Benchmark Reviews for the past nine months. I could see that the impact of the previous day had taken its toll on everyone else, too, since the general speed was no longer upbeat but more of a somber stroll such as after a long night of partying.

The drudge of sore feet and slow aisles made it difficult to muster up motivation to clean house and cover every booth I marked on my map. In the end, I knew that the day was going to be cut short with a lunch meeting anyway, after which I was going to make the drive back to Reno and get home just before midnight. So it didn't seem like such a loss when I began scratching off a few names from my list and met with some of the bigger names that were somehow relegated to this off-site CES premises. After all, I really needed the occasional break to watch 80's hair-band wanna-be's play air guitar for Guitar Here (above).

Benchmark Reviews Most Interesting Experiences at the 2008 International CES

So when it was all done, I had a lot to look back and be proud of. Day one was probably the most successful effort anyone has ever had at CES, which gave me a stack of business cards over two inches tall and enough face time with sponsors to add site credibility. Ultimately though, Benchmark Reviews stands on it's own two feet, but it sure doesn't hurt to see how everyone else live. These shows are a vital part of preparing content and making professional contacts with the important industry manufacturers. In the end, the most experience I had at the 2008 International CES was the spirit: everyone there was eager to learn something new, and meet someone new. So long as you can keep up the stamina, I highly recommend any enthusiast and technical writer to experience this event at least once in their life.

Benchmark Reviews has also released our 2008 International CES Computer Technology Highlights, which reveal some of the most profound products and technology released at the show.

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