By Stanley Bing
January 9, 2008

So for the first time I can remember, the CES public relations site does not feature a press release saying it was the biggest gathering of all time. There are a lot of interesting items on the site, all of which, I will be honest with you, are very boring to me. I don’t know why. Last year I went to CES and it was hopping, a crazy wild-west show. This year I didn’t go, and a lot of people I know didn’t go, and the news coming out of it was like warmed over mashed potatoes.

I emailed a pal of mine in the tech sector and asked him whether my feeling was right, or whether I was just being like an infant. You know how it is with kids under 3? If they don’t see something, it doesn’t exist. That’s why they like to play peek-a-boo so much. Every time you pop up, it surprises them because they didn’t know you were there at all. So that could be it. I didn’t go. So it didn’t happen. I recognize that possibility.

But my friend the wireless-head verifies my conjecture. “Have long email on this which I will forward. They are saying 140k at the high Tuesday but that was inflated. From feet on street perspective, much easier to navigate less booth babes and fewer announcements. Its like media moved in and big tech left. My guess is we’ve seen the high for ces for a while.”

Gizmodo adds another dimension, rumoring that the show may move out of Vegas when its deals for the space are up in 2011. CES not in Vegas? Would that mean that the porno show would have to move with it? And if it didn’t, what would it do without all those geeks who move from drooling about hardware to drooling about wetware?

My industry has seen the flourishing and death of a number of key conventions. The main industry gathering, for instance, is right now biting the dust due to a) too many conventions anyhow, b) reduced budgets for stupid boondoggles and c) the industry changing so that the convention floor, once filled by the great and mighty, is now populated mostly by Asian corporations that make flash drives. Once, we had to go the event. People fought over the right to take part in its panels. Now you could hear a tumbleweed roll through the aisles.

All businesses have cycles. Today’s shiny toy is tomorrow’s doorstop. The crazy conventions that attend each of our disciplines mirror the biorhythms of the industries they attract. So what’s up, do you think? Is the great eye of hotness moving on?

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