Two of the hottest tickets in the country this week are CES and MacWorld. Techies fiend for this like I fiend for a new shade of lip glass at the MAC counter. Trust me when I tell you all that glitters is not gold in the world of trade shows. I worked a booth at the cat daddy business show of it's day, COMDEX, once back in the very early 90s for my previous employer. I headed out to Vegas with stars in my eyes that I was rubbing elbows with the stars of the industry, Gates, Kapor,et al,right? (in Charlie Murphy voice) "Wrong...WRONG!"
8th Grade Dance -The big trade shows, to me, are kind of like a big giant 8th grade dance - a lot of people walk around looking at each other, trying to be seen, trying to impress people they don't know.. but the cool popular ones really don't talk to you. The annoying dorks, however, hound you incessantly. D-list vendor after D-list vendor, dressed like broke Gordon Geckos, run up like they are the FBI and intone, "I need to speak with an executive of your company, right away!" What, I'm supposed to salute and click my heels behind that or something?
All Gallagher, All the Time: Somehow our booth was situated right next to a larger vendor who had hired the comedian Gallagher to perform every 15 minutes on the hour. Loud. All day. Let that marinate for a second......Ok, like once for me of the guy is enough; 4 times an hour in a six-hour shift for a week will drive you to drink, especially with that damn sledgehammer routine. I forget what he smashed, but somehow it was rigged to make fake money fall out of the ceiling and flutter everywhere, and "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays would crank up and blast out of the PA system on queue when the mallet cracked down. Thank goodness there is no shortage of alcohol in Vegas...
You Can Check Out Anytime You Like, But You Can Never Leave:
At the end of the week, jet-lagged, fatigued, with "For the Love of Money" on heavy rotation in my head, I was more than ready to fly home. Wonder of wonders, the very day I'm set to leave, I get a call from American Airlines stating their flight attendants are on strike and my flight is cancelled. This is before the days of internet airline reservations, so I was at the mercy of AMEX travel. While reading about squatters' rights on the little chart no one reads on the back of my hotel door, I get a call that AMEX travel got me on an alternate flight that left at 0 dark-thirty during the night. I'm convinced it was all a plot by the D-List Mafia that assailed us at the show, nevertheless, long story short I ended up taking something like 4 connections to get home.
So, MacWorld, CES...knock yourselves out...I'm content to read the liveblog feed, trust.