Consumer Electronics Show sans hoverboard

by Cam Clark

Last month I got the chance to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. CES is so huge that it is hard to comprehend even after going. It’s 28 football fields of consumer electronics – a geek’s paradise. I spent three days walking the floors and was only able to cover 3/4 of the entire show. Any more and my feet would have fallen off or my eyes would have exploded.

consumer electronics show
One of my favorite areas at the show was the personal health and fitness area. Health and fitness happens to be a personal passion of mine, so combining that with electronic gadgets completely sucked me in.

Taking a look at products like Nike Fuel, MotoACTV, Fitbit and BodyBugg, Wi-Fi Smart Scales and Lose It!, among many others, I started to see a trend toward allowing average people to collect large amounts of accurate data on themselves. Using devices and applications like these will allow you to be able to build a personal profile of all the health-related parts of your life.

You can track your weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, caloric intake and output, and sleep patterns among others. With the help of Application Programming Interfaces (API) in the very near future, all of these devices will start to talk to each other, and you will be able to share this info with your doctor, personal trainer, or family.

consumer electronics show
Another amazing concept at CES was the idea of 3D printing at home. They’ve taken something that for years has been reserved for manufacturing companies with large piles of cash and produced it at a cost in the range of the normal human. Now, home inventors can make rapid prototypes. Missing a piece to your favorite board game? Print one. Your kid’s favorite action figure broke a limb? Print a new one. I personally think 3D printing is as big a deal as color printing.

Not everything at CES was earth-shattering. A lot was ho-hum and some things were just plain weird. Take for example the concept of Celebrities and Booth Babes. If I mention the names 50 Cent, Justin Bieber and Xzibit, images of stadiums or music venues may pop into your head. What if I told you that they were how some companies tried to draw people into their booths at the world’s largest electronics show. In my opinion, it was kind of odd.

consumer electronics show
Now, picture some extremely good-looking women prancing around in skimpy outfits and you may start to think of a beach in Brazil, a club in Miami or the red-light district in Amsterdam. But in the context of CES, you have yourself a “Booth Babe,” beautiful women strategically placed to catch the eye of the wandering geek. Sadly, it works. Unfortunately, no matter how strong the frontal cortex of a man, the reptilian brain is a force to be reckoned with.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at CES and look forward to the experience again at some point. I’m still hoping that one of these years, I’ll finally get my hoverboard.

george takei

I heart George Takei

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Birthday Boy

What goes better with birthday cupcakes than oblivion? Seriously, we’re asking you. At AM:PM PR, oblivion is the ice cream to our cake. Rather than candles, we like to blow out each others’ birthday wishes. Just in case you’re wondering, that isn’t a laugh track. This “We’re Better At PR” video was filmed in front of a live studio audience.

Wake up businesses and organizations! Consumers are in control.

komen hack
If you haven’t yet learned from the messes The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Netflix, Bank of America, Verizon and now Burning Man have created for themselves, it’s time to wake up. I’m surprised to see businesses and organizations that have spent so much time building their brands and reputations make such drastic decisions that they know consumers won’t like.

Today a company’s bad decision can ignite an immediate firestorm that can spread across the interwebs as quickly as a tornado can ruin a city. Boards and CEOs in charge of such decisions should consider every possibility for backlash. Hindsight is always 20/20, but with enough of these examples in the past 12 months, I would expect that every organization would thoughtfully gauge the opinions of its target consumer before deciding on a new course that could permanently damage the brand.

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Today’s announcement by the Susan G. Komen foundation to reverse its decision was not a surprise. Netflix, Bank of America and Verizon reversed bad decisions on the same timeline. Will it be enough to earn back the trust of the consumer? We’ll see. I know the company has lost mine.

It remains to be seen if Burning Man will be able to come back from its ticket lottery fiasco. My recommendation? Apologize now. Admit you made the wrong decision. Invite the community to share its ideas on how to fix what’s been done. Share what was learned and take action quickly.

I feel lucky to be living in an era where my voice online can have even more power than my vote. I’ll continue using my power as a consumer. I hope you do too.


Buzzmaker – One Tweet is Never Enough

Nobody does it better than our buzzmaker. Well, mostly nobody. OK, so there are quite a few people who do it better. Octavius Wrathchilde might not be the greatest spy in the world, but fortunately for him, he’s well matched to his adversaries. Oh, and he mixes up a mean Facebook status update. Sit back, buckle the seatbelt on your ejector seat, and prepare for the most hair-raising fake spy film trailer in the history of YouTube. Or at least the last 15 minutes.