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War Stories and Business Ideas from CES

Walking through the halls of CES 2012, many people see flash and excess, maybe even view it as a signal that the economy is in recovery given that companies are spending money to share their story. What I saw was a lot of HARD WORK. Every banner that was visible to attendees was the thoughtful results of graphic designers, marketing teams, printers and who knows how many others –all before landing in the hands of someone with a forklift and support staff to dangle it from the rafters. 

In our work with client, we are closely examining the trends around employment and reminded regularly that it is a tough job market out there. The effort and enthusiasm from booth and convention staff was refreshing—no one was taking for granted the opportunity to earn a living.

On the flip side, attendees were grumpy! You couldn’t go anywhere in, around or near the convention center without overhearing a personal “war story” from one of the thousands of attendees. Gripes about cab lines, food options and the outrageous cost for any fill-in-the-blank item was the main topic of discussion. Many aspects of the convention experience is perceived as broken and it made me think “Where there is a market problem, enlies a business idea!” Cab shortages?


What about bike rentals or PediCabs?


Long lines for unhealthy lunch options? The hotels should sell healthy BROWN BAG LUNCHES! It would be nice to get people thinking about active-lifestyle alternatives.

Speaking of active lifestyles, there was an admirable cluster of Digital Health and Fitness  companies this year at CES. Everyone from Garmin to iHealth to Striiv, was showcasing new options for monitoring blood pressure and glucose levels or devices that keep you motivated to walk more (Striiv’s monitor, for example donates clean water to third world countries when its users hit certain milestones for daily movement).

Striiv Device.jpg

I am anxious to see how this space shakes out from an adoption perspective. The amount of walking that was done over the course of the week makes CES attendees the perfect target for these devices. Maybe next year, someone can use the event as a test bed!

Other notable companies in the iLounge area were Mavizon, who was showcasing “Mavia” a socialization tool that ties into your car, Looxcie, a hands free camera with streaming capabilities, as well as Boost Case which won some CES award accolades for its slim cases that double battery life of your iPhone or iPod.  I also enjoyed seeing the buzz around one-time client Dish Network’s launch of “Hopper”


its new DVR offering. Hopper messaging was everywhere, but this is the one I wanted to bring back to the office. It would be perfect for an office group nap!


Did you attend CES? Please send me a note at kangell at schwartzmsl dot com or comment here. I would love to hear your war stories or business ideas, maybe this time next year it will be in beta…


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