Dazed, Confused, Focused: 5 Tips From the CES Floor

by Jill Foster on January 28, 2010

I have a love for knowing what is going on in technology, whether it’s the latest Internet start-ups or the next generation gadgets. So, when I had an opportunity to go to Las Vegas for the 2010 International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) I couldn’t pass it up.

I knew going into the 4-day event that it would be a major challenge trying to juggle the daily needs of my new ventures with the morning, noon, night and pre-dawn activities around CES. With a couple of weeks of recovery now under my belt, here’s some perspective on how to make the most of time away at such events.

Pre-event prep.

My partner and I were both attending this event so we actually took time to ask ourselves how we could use this event to help our businesses and what we wanted to accomplish. It’s helpful to do your homework first.

Who will be there? Whom do you want to talk to? Why? What would make you feel like you accomplished something when it’s all said and done?

And so we lined up as much as we could before we set foot on the CES floor.

Carve out time for work.

We took advantage of various blogger lounges at CES throughout the day and also left some time between the show and dinner activities for some hard core focus back at the hotel. We also scheduled meetings with West Coast colleagues who were in town for the show and had one of our best strategy sessions to date, leveraging an Intel meeting area that they let us use. Intel is, after all, a sponsor of tomorrow!

Carve out time for fun.

I don’t get to Las Vegas very often and would be sorely disappointed if I didn’t have at least a little fun. The event happy hours and parties were fine but we did take one night for “off campus” dinner and drinks with friends – it was definitely the most memorable night for me.

Take advantage of every moment.

Founders need to strike that balance where they evangelize their businesses everywhere yet can still have a non-business conversation.

CES was great for this because it was filled with industry people who liked to talk about technology, new websites & businesses and brainstorm ideas. Whether I was talking to a company at their booth on the CES floor or mingling with people at a cocktail party, there was plenty of time to talk about Thankfulfor, get input and new ideas and even forge some potential partnerships.

Absorb it all.

Going to an event like CES is an opportunity to step outside your daily environment and find inspiration. Don’t force it – just take it all in. Talk to everyone. Ask questions. Get lost in the glow of the show. Then get lots of sleep and don’t be surprised when the next shower you take rains down a flood of ideas. Julia Cameron called it “filling the well.”

Whatever you want to call it, as an entrepreneur or business leader you need to take the occasional break and refill your well or else eventually, you may hit some pretty bad dry-spells on your day-to-day creative energy.

I’m finally feeling rested and (almost) caught up and I think my night time dreams that were filled with neon signs, flashing LED’s, 3D images and brand after brand after brand are starting to subside. It feels good to turn my focus back to my business with renewed invigoration. My well has been duly filled.

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Jen ConsalvoGuest contributor Jen Consalvo writes the Women Grow Business series on all things related to launching product (pre and post launch). She is co-founder of Shiny Heart Ventures, a new technology startup focused on building community driven products that remind people of the joys of life. For almost 14 years, Jen has led teams in a range of product areas such as digital imaging, social platforms and personalization. The majority of her career was at AOL, planning and building products used by millions of people globally. Also find Jen at jenconsalvo.com, bodysoulconnect.com and twitter.com/noreaster.

Image used with permission from, and by, photographer and blogger Jen Consalvo.


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