Tips for surviving CES

I talk more about Live QnA in my other duties as QnA blogger (and about meeting Ms Dewey) , but I figured I'd give some more personal observations about the Consumer Electronics Show here. Also, I need to sit here with my feet up horizontal or I will never walk again, so might as well be productive.

 First a shoutout and thank you to the people I met today who I had to kick off the machines because they really dug QnA. There was one guy who just listened at first for the t-shirt and then was actually stoked about the service by the end. He literally said three times: I am so glad you told me about this, I would never have come here otherwise.

 I am grateful to these folks because I can be a demo robot at times, doing my well practiced speech.

  • The butt stops here. Surviving CES as a booth staffer has some slight complications over atttending the show. For one thing, you can't sit down til your shift is over. Attendees can sit whenever they decide to. Ideally someone would design a tall folding bar stool that fits in a geek backpack. If it rolled, that would be boss.
  • Go for arch support.  I wore my REI-bought hiking boots as my "casual walking shoe." A visitor to the booth advised me that the real future of boothwear is two words: gel inserts. (No, get your mind out of the gutter, even if this is Vegas. I'm talking about shoes. ) At one point, I started doing the can can, just because I could not feel my feet any more. It certainly got more peopel in the booth, but my feet never really woke up. Hence the "seated blogging sprint" I am doing now.
  •  You need water. Ideally you'd have a crate shipped to you from Costco into your hotel room, or get one of those REI backpacks with the camel thingie water pouch and sipping tube, and just go through the show like that.
  • Remind yourself about being human. Working the booth I forget to eat. I left Richard Chan, QnA's marketing guy, on shift with my dried cranberries and apple bits that have gone unopened for 3 days now. You just do not have time.
  • Having enough shirts rulez.  Shirt changing - mercifully, our team got enough shirts that I've got a fresh one every day. This is also key to booth staff happiness and the delight of our customers. Strong deodorant always good as well.
  • Speak the language. I actually wished I were more multi-lingual because CES is really getting more international.
  • Memorize your booth map. Someone poached my map handout and I was unable to do more than wave vaguely to get folks to the right Vista kiosks.
  • Strike the Zen-Uppity balance. If someone walks off with a  swag shirt before you can stop them, you can shrug a bit and keep demoing. It's sad that people think theft is nice but you can't fight every battle and also, they are wearing your logo now presumably so some corporate good has been done.  However, if the same guy comes back the following day after being reported for shoveling shirts in his backpack while you weren't looking...and that guy is trying to yell at you to make you feel guilty for not "giving him one"...that's a world of mondo tacky. Be public about telling him no.
  • Load balance the swag. This is also perhaps an attendee bit of advice but, booths have to be cautious in the first half of a conference not to run out of items. By midpoint they can judge how fast they will run out or if they will have extra. Midway through, I got the go ahead to give shirts just for listening to me demo rather than signing in (which takes more time). For the first two days, we had to be hardcore about having folks ask that question.

Next time, I will have bionic feet to assist me or something.

Cheers and live it vivid!!!!