What It's Like Spending A Week In Vegas Covering The Largest Trade Show In The World

iheartradio party at ces

Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

I’ve been home in New York for three days and I’m still feeling the effects of my week in Vegas.My throat is sore. My lungs are congested. My nose is drippy.

I caught that mythical CES bug after being packed in the Las Vegas Convention centre with 150,000 other journalists, tech exhibitors, and analysts for a week.

But it was worth it.

Despite what the haters say, CES still has a lot of value. This year’s convention was a bit light on major product announcements, but CES is still an excuse for everyone in the industry to get together and chat and swap secrets.

Even big names like RIM and Microsoft, who didn’t have official booths on the show floor, had executives in Vegas last week meeting with press and advertisers.

You probably saw a lot of coverage last week of the user-facing stuff at CES, but it’s a completely different world behind the scenes. 

I attended parties for Samsung and Toshiba my first night in Vegas. Both were held on the top floor of Mandalay Bay's TheHotel. The view of the strip was pretty sweet.

At times it feels like all you do is wait in line. Here's the Starbucks line at my hotel.

And here's the cab line at my hotel. It took 50 minutes for me to grab a cab. I almost missed an important meeting at The Cosmopolitan.

By the way, here's the conference area at the Cosmopolitan where I had my meeting. This was easily the nicest hotel I've ever seen.

Here's a look at the press room at Mandalay Bay where a few CES events were held. It was packed the day before the convention officially kicked off.

There were so many journalists that the press room ran out of coffee.

More lines. Actually, this was more of a mob. Journalists were given early access to Samsung's big keynote, but it wasn't very organised. We had to cram through this tiny doorway into yet another holding area. Luckily, I was able to get a seat near the front.

CES provides free shuttle buses to the convention centre from most major hotels. I got up early each morning to make sure I didn't have to wait in line for one. Here's my view from the top of one of the double decker shuttles.

Here's the Las Vegas Convention centre early in the morning before the show started. The building is massive. It takes days to see everything.

CES also provides free lunches for members of the press, but you have to wait in a ridiculously long line to get it. Plus the food isn't that great.

At the end of each day, people pile out of the convention centre and hop on shuttle buses back to their hotels or other meetings and parties. Again, you're forced to wait in absurdly long lines in the frigid desert air.

One night I went to a Killers concert hosted by AT&T. It was a really great show.

Another night iHeartRadio sponsored a party at the Haze nightclub. Ke$ha and Afro Jack were performing. The whole scene was pretty absurd. Here's what I saw when I first entered the club.

Ke$ha went on at 11 p.m. and only sang three songs. I showed up late and missed her. But here's Afro Jack doing his DJ thing. There were half-naked dancers all over the place too.

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