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Got a Story Idea? • Events
Association Bisnow
December 7, 2007


Big shoutout to our new sponsor, The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  Check out their 3.1M SF of
amazing event space on Penn. Ave.  One of Washington’s top venues for a truly memorable event.

That Consumer Electronics Show just keeps on getting bigger—at 140,000 attendance in Las Vegas this coming January 8-11, it’s the biggest single assemblage in North America.  The 4000 press are way more than for the Super Bowl or any political convention.  2700 exhibitors take 1.8 million SF of space, spilling into two convention centers, the Sands, the Hilton, and the Venetian.  If you’re intellectual, you can choose from 300 speakers, including the heads of Cisco, General Motors, Comcast, Intel, Yahoo, and Qualcomm; the chairman of the FCC and the Secretary of Commerce; and the president of Rwanda.  There’s entertainment from Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carey, and Tony Bennett. NBC’s Brian Williams will be anchoring nightly news on location, and money honey Maria Bartiromo will be doing two hours a day of CNBC.    

We talked yesterday with Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro, who’s been running it since 1990:  In that time, he’s quadrupled the size of its big show.  He really deserves an Emmy for his work, but actually the one above was awarded to the CEA for its closed captioning standardization in 2004.  The show started in 1967 in NYC, went to Chicago, then when it got too cold in the mid-70s moved to Vegas.  Gary tells us his strategy was to define the show by its keynotes, going for speakers like Bill Gates, especially during CES’ intense battle with Comdex for trade show supremacy.  They partner with other associations “with whom we sometimes battle" like MPAA, RIAA and TIA.  They arrange 300 limos and “so many categories of VIP treatment, I can’t count.”  They even pay for thicker carpets to give guests a better experience. 

Shapiro and VP of sales and biz development Dan Cole show off their Goodfellas mockup. CEA's graphic designer made a bunch of movie displays to celebrate the 155-employee group's June move in to its new headquarters in Arlington, that it recently bought for $38 million. For his sales team, Dan has set a $64 million "stretch, stretch miracle goal." If CEA hits it, he promises to shave his head.

Why don’t they charge for the show?  Actually, the 14 member CES governing board met earlier this week for one of its thrice-yearly meetings and debated whether to start charging.  “We want a big, ecumenical tent; our purpose is to get everyone related to tech together."  You can get a 10x10 space for few thousand dollars:  “a lot of our successful members started out that way.”  Or, like Panasonic, Texas Instruments, Microsoft, and Samsung, you can get 10,000 square feet.  Check out the whole shebang at  

Gary shows off a new favorite ad for the show. (If we still had our notes, we'd describe it to you.)

Big innovations this year:  Sony and NBC Universal are exhibitors; CES invested heavily in attracting international, and were aided by a weak dollar.  Software from a local firm (BDMetrics) is now available to help you print out a map in advance, search for what you want, and set up meetings, making the show a much more productive business experience.  Gary helps speakers off the stage, and once Bill Gates tripped and fell into his arms; Gary saved him but the billion or two he was expecting as a reward never arrived.  Instead, it was Gary who gave Bill a sweater

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Reznick Group
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