Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Social at CES in Vegas

2017 didn't start off slow. After two back-to-back ski trips, I hopped on a plan to Las Vegas for one of the biggest tech conferences, CES. I had been to Vegas twice before, both times as a high school student to shop, dine and attend Cirque du Soleil shows with family. This trip wasn't going to be the standard jaunt you'd expect of a twenty-something year old, but it would still include very little sleep, free drinks galore, a trip to the casino floor, and very, very tired feet.

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Being here for work, I was tasked with covering the tech conference on our company's social channels. Answering questions like: What's the latest in tech? What do the newest wearables promise? What can we expect to see in the drone market? Etc. etc. But given the nature of our platforms, I was also able to focus on capturing the art, colors, and lights of the city.

It was a whirlwind trip, and here are my top tips for covering CES in Vegas.
  1. Comfort is key. You're walking from hotel to hotel, in my case the Mandalay Bay Hotel to the Palazzo to the Convention Center. You don't need to look cute, and you don't need to wear anything other than sneakers.
  2. Find the power. Chargers on chargers on chargers! iPhone, laptop, backup chargers, adaptors, a power strip, pack it all. When you find an outlet, have a seat, get cozy and plug in everything.
  3. Wifi is your best friend. But if you run social media, you already know this.
  4. Networking is the game. Stock up on business cards because for the tech community, this is a networking playground. I think people come to Vegas this weekend specifically to network and then promote their products, their tech, their ideas second.
  5. Press has perks. From free wifi to snacks to constant tea and coffee, the press room is not to be missed.
  6. Visit a club as a VIP. Vegas during CES is weird, y'all. The guy to girl ratio is pretty extreme and there aren't many women in attendance. BUT, being Vegas, the night life doesn't stop and instead, clubs and bars are rented out by companies like Microsoft, Samgsung, Sony, and Amazon. Everyone has an open bar, and most have a guest list. Some have bars, and others feature C-list rappers. Overall, you won't get into half of these clubs on a normal Vegas weekend so go ahead and soak up the club experience.
  7. Ditch the strip. There's a lot to Vegas, and a lot beyond the strip. I recommend a cab, Lyft or Uber ride out to the desert to see the Seven Magic Mountains art installation.

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