This year marked my first ever CES. As such, I may not have been as prepared as a seasoned veteran, but I made due with some smart planning and some on-the-fly good will from colleagues and vendors.
Here’s some of what got me through the most chaotic week in recent memory.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
For me, it all started with a bag. Sadly, it was with the wrong bag, until Moshi hooked me up with a new one. After the first day or so of behind-the-scenes CES events such as Unveiled and Showstoppers, my back and shoulders were killing me. Turns out, an over-the-shoulder bag at an event that sees you walking 10 miles a day might not have been the smartest choice.
Luckily, Moshi was releasing a new bag, and graciously gave me one to try out.
The backpack style was instant relief to my sore shoulders and the bag itself was wonderful. It featured a water-resistent exterior as well as pockets-upon-pockets of places to store all of my odds-and-ends that accompanied me each day to the show floor. Spare batteries, cords, USB drives and even a few pockets for personal items like my cell phone (the 6s Plus sure gets a lot bigger in your pocket when you’re walking that far with it) and a water bottle.
Backup Batteries and Chargers
I thought I was well covered in the charging department with two backup batteries/charging stations, but it turns out that my phone sucked down batteries a bit quicker than I could recharge them most days. Once you factor in trying to connect to Wi-Fi, find my next meeting location with GPS and high resolution images/video, the phone was as tired as I was at the end of each day.
The two batteries I brought were both branded giveaways from previous events. Both performed admirably, but next year it might be time to move to something a bit bigger and faster than my freebies. They served me well, but with limited outlets and a shared room, it’s time to step up my battery game.
This was rarely useful but it did come in handy a time or two. The airwaves at the Las Vegas Convention Center are so packed with exhibitors, reporters and attendees trying to use their phones, or the WiFi, that it made it nearly impossible to get reports out quickly. Instead, we mostly had to rely on the hotel WiFi to crank out these posts once we got back.
The hotspot helped, but wasn’t anywhere near reliable enough to make a difference day-to-day.
The ability to record interviews, take quick notes, pull up directions on the fly, interact with my team at the event (as well as in our Slack channel), post social media updates to the TNW page, take high quality images and record video in 4k were just a fraction of the things that I used my phone for at CES.
I think I may have even used it to make a call or two.
As stylish as you want to be at an event featuring the who’s-who of the tech world, there’s nothing better than a quality pair of sneakers, no matter how ugly they might be. Mine, in this case, were grey and lime green Nike trainers, but damn were they comfortable. No regrets.
Honorable Mention: EcoReco M5 Scooter
The EcoReco M5 provided a break from the monotony that is CES. After several meetings and many miles walked, zipping around on this scooter proved to be a welcome distraction.
The reps from EcoReco offered up the awesome M5 electric scooter (and later the new S3) for our CES team to commute to and from the convention center. They were even nice enough to offer up a solution to store the scooter while we were busy on the show floor so that we could drive the scooters back each night.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, but from our limited time driving the scooter around the hotel lobby — like the rebels we are — the M5 performed admirably, had a fair bit of zip (top speed of 20 miles per hour) and was remarkably quiet. Quiet enough to where we didn’t get chased out of Vegas by hotel security should they have become wise to our shenanigans.