CES - a virgin's advice

Some advice from a CES newbie if you plan to attend the show this year or next.

When I mentioned I was going to CES for the first time, the folks here at ITworld suggested I offer my CES virgin experience to all our readers. So, here are my first impressions and advice to future CES newbies.

Expect to get lost – I have a pretty good sense of direction, but multiple exhibit halls (each crowded with vendors) got me more confused than the Tokyo subway. If you attend this show, you’re going to get lost. If you’re a guy, give up the male pride thing of not asking for directions. You’re not going to be able to find your way on your own.

Don’t ask the LVCC staff – You’d think the staff with the "ask me" badges would be the best people to help you find stuff. They aren’t. Four staffers couldn’t tell me how to get from one exhibit hall to another. More experienced attendees and booth exhibitors are your best bet to find your way.

Google Maps will lead you to weird places – Leaving my hotel, I relied on my old friend Google Maps for aid. It led me to the monorail, where I saw a ticket vending machine – for the Las Vegas bus system (I realized that when I tried to board the monorail). Once on the strip, I turned to Google for directions to pick up my press badge at the Venetian hotel and casino – and the walking directions it gave me led me down several alleys between casinos and through garages. The concierges here are well worth their salaries over modern technology.

You can’t do it in a day – I’ve covered many tradeshows in the past. Most you can do in a day if you only want to see the big exhibits and the new stuff from the major vendors. CES is different. I knew it was going to be big but nothing prepared me for just how big. If you come here, plan to spend the entire four days of the show. Even then you won’t see everything (it’d take me a month at least to see everything), but you’ll be able to see the things you really want to see.

So, those are my CES virgin opinions. Check back shortly for some of my choice moments from the show floor.

And if you need evidence of how otherworldly attending CES can seem, here’s my introduction to the press room...

Ryan Faas writes about personal technology for ITworld. Learn more about Faas' published works and training and consulting services at www.ryanfaas.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanfaas.

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