As a multi-year veteran, I really shouldn’t feel this way. But each January when I touch down at McCarran International with tinsel and wrapping paper still in my hair, I’m astounded by the organized chaos at the Consumer Electronics Show. The final numbers aren’t in, but CES was expected to draw more than 170,000 people to the epicenter of Las Vegas. Think about that. And think about those poor tourists who accidentally booked their vacation to the casinos this week and quickly realized they’d be spending their time sitting in grid-locked traffic and waiting 2 hours for a table. Oops.
That 170,000 number may sound impressive, but what if I told you that 15,000 of that (nearly 10 percent if you’re doing the math) were brand marketers, digital publishers, social networkers and business communicators? Not what you expected at a nerd event filled with widgets and gadgets, huh? If you were hoping I’d be giving you a review about autonomous drones and next gen smart watches and the latest smart home technology and Oculus Rift, I’m sorry to disappoint. But CNET, Engadget and Mashable, to name a few, have done a terrific job covering new product introductions and I definitely recommend you check it out. And it’s entirely possible I’ll give you my own take this summer when AKHIA hosts the 2016 Smart Summit.
For me, the real takeaway from CES isn’t that we’ve built smarter, thinner, faster, wireless stuff; It’s that our world is changing. It’s already changed. And whether you call it reinvention, innovation, evolution or disruption, the necessity of change leads to the same end goal: Survival. Bottom line – what critical decisions are you making in 2016 to stay in business?
Joe Jaffe shared a staggering statistic that’s now permanently imprinted on my brain: 70 percent of the Fortune 500 companies that existed in 1990 are no longer Fortune 500. In 25 years, these once mega corporations failed to adapt and make the changes necessary to maintain their position in the marketplace and as a result have lost a tremendous amount of revenue, relevance, and worst of all, leadership.
So yes, technology (I would argue to an extent) is improving our lives – and our businesses. And yes, we should always be thinking ahead to a better future and speculating 5K TVs and 5G networks. But to quote Jeff again, we can’t get so wrapped up in the pretty and shiny (or worse, develop an insatiable hunger for new and different) when we haven’t yet mastered the resources and opportunities we already have in our hands today.
So there you have it. My down and dirty, fresh-off-the-floor thoughts on the show. And by the way, if you attend only one event in 2017, please make it CES. If for nothing else, the C Space hosted at Aria is the most inspiring, mind-opening, invigorating, magical place IN THE WORLD. We would love to be your guide, helping you navigate the busy streets and large crowds to get an incomparable experience unlike anything else you’ll find.
Amanda Vasil is a Change Agent, fascinated by transformation and futurism. Follow her on Twitter at @amanda_vasil