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Las Vegas 2013: T.H.E. Show at the Flamingo

This year, like every year, CES and T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas ran all over top of each other. This is fine, I guess, because I think there's good reason for there actually being two differnt shows -- they do have entirely different target audiences after all -- and moving between the two was an interesting juxtaposition. However, seeing exhibitors at both shows was outright hilarious. I spent quite a bit of time shaking my head in sympathy -- poor bastards -- you know who you are!

T.H.E. Show was set up at the Flamingo Hotel, about two hotels down from the big show at the Venetian. That is, it was about a mile walk down the Strip. I actually stayed there, so I only had to walk when I went to the Venetian. Convenient — which CES was not.

The Flamingo is a bit … old school … when it comes to hotels, while the Venetian is a little (okay, a lot) upscale. Especially when it comes to decor — to say that the Flamingo was a bit tacky in that wonderful way that Vegas can be, is a great way of understating things. Eek. Those curtains were “something else”, to be sure, especially where “something else” is filled in by “OMG, what is that horrible thing hanging on the wall?” I never thought of myself as particularly sensitive to interior design … well guess what. Okay, moving on.

Spread across two floors, T.H.E. Show actually had better acoustics than many of the rooms at CES, which was a pleasant surprise. The larger rooms downstairs had more of a challenge with their foam-core partitions, but there was enough space for these demos to spread out, too, so I suppose it balanced out. In fact, my favorite demo rooms were actually at the Flamingo this year, not the Venetian ….

If I had to file a nit with the Flamingo, it would have to be the food. The Venetian, by contrast, is loaded up with some world-class restaurants, and I stuffed myself silly on a daily basis. The Flamingo was a bit light here. Had a good, but not insane meal, at Center Cut and that was about it. Bummer. Lucky for me there was about 5 million “great eats” in stumbling distance. Best thing about the Flamingo, at least as it relates to CES and T.H.E. Show? The monorail. Taxis going anywhere were stupidly expensive — I took a cab from the airport and it cost me the same as taking a cab that single, lousy mile (if it was that) between the Flamingo and the Venetian. Once was enough for that, and I was walking it the rest of the week. But getting to the Convention Center for the main event is kind of a non-starter — that’s a hike and a half. The monorail was cheap and fast and I didn’t have to wait in a line 40 people deep for the privilege of being screwed. Score!

Anyway, T.H.E. Show was much smaller than CES (~40 rooms to ~200), so don’t be surprised if this portion goes a bit quicker than the last. Like the CES coverage, I’m going to try to keep to “what’s new” approach to speed things along.

Last but not least, just wanted to say thanks to Richard Beers and the team at T.H.E. Show for the support, and all the vendors I got to see and hang out with. Great to see all those new, and old, friends!

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