Thursday, January 10, 2008

CES Report 2 - The Show

Did the show. Spent time with Dave Sobel, Dave Seibert, and Vlad and Katie Mazek. Did a call-in to the Portland Technology Wizards in the afternoon. Their meeting happened to be today and they had a polycom phone available.


First, the Home Server Report. Then everything else.

Ran into Dave Seibert from SMBTN (see He counted five home servers at the show. Two at Microsoft. Two at HP. and one somewhere else. I went in search. Found two at MS and three at HP. One of the HP ones was quite separated from the others.

I don't know if there's much of a market for home server (at least in the home). See

Microsoft certainly hasn't made any effort to build any buzz about it.

But they did produce a great book. It's called "Mommy, Why is There a Server in the House?" and it's styled after a kids book, like bringing home the new baby.

Best lines in the book:
"Big people have a server at the 'office.' The office is a boring place where big people go and do boring things. Offices are why big people get grumpy and say bad words."

Second best lines:
"When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much, the daddy wants to give the mommy a special gift. So he buys a 'stay-at-home' server."

Funny book. Look for it in book stores everywhere.


But 99.9999% of the show wasn't about home server.

Perhaps 20% of the show was directly related to what we do. This includes the Microsoft and Intel booths, some very cool stuff for people who build machines, and all the little stuff that goes with computers. Some comptuer stuff was strictly high end (monitors galore), other low end (routers, firewalls, etc.).

I think I was most impressed with the fact that show floor monitors all took a big step up. No matter what was on display, the monitors were huge. If it was on a 17" monitor last years, it's on a 27" monitor this year.

One could argue that there's no practical purpose for a monitor that big -- until you put on one your desk. I think you'll be selling a lot of 22 and 24 inch monitors this year.

The other thing that's here is opportunity. If you're interested in expanding your business a bit, consider the high end of home theater. Just as in your current business, you need to create products and engagements that are going to be profitable. So don't go into the business with a plan to buy crap at Fry's and just make money on labor. The home electronics business has a lot of really great high-end catalogs.

I'm not saying that's a business you should go into, but it's certainly ripe for the picking.


Pet peeve of the show: Everyone wants to put bulky paper products in my bag. Vegas' hotel garbage cans are full of crap no one wants to take home.

A few vendors did what everyone should do: They put their catalogs on CD. Not only is it small, but I'll take it home and look through it in my spare time. Some vendors told me to go to the web site. But their web site's been up for years and I've never gone there before. After visiting 900 booths, I'm not going to remember all those web sites.


A magazine reporter asked me the $60,000 question yesterday: Why is someone from the business consulting business coming to CES? Here's what I told him.

Not very long ago some businesses decided to go around to every sports bar and Japanese restaurant in America and sell them each five or ten huge, expensive flat screen TVs. This was done overnight while I was paying attention to something else. That's probably still a good business to be in, but the super high margins are gone.

I don't want that to happen to me again.


  1. No one like to miss out on the next big thing. But chasing the next big thing is a whole other busines model and a bit like gambling.

  2. What you say is true. But there's a difference between chasing the next big thing and finding the next big thing.

    And the more information you have, the more likely you are to find it.


Feedback Welcome

Please note, however, that spam will be deleted, as will abusive posts.

Disagreements welcome!