There's something about having your big giant head hanging high over South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center that makes a guy feel a little self-conscious. Never mind that it's actually a pretty good picture of me. (And those are pretty rare.) Never mind that I'm pictured with an outstanding group of people. (It's such a fun, talented group.) Never mind that it's our jobs to be out in public. To be seen.
Yeah, you've got to be a little bit of a narcissist to enjoy it, I think. (And I'd like to think that I at least recognize that narcissism, so maybe it's not so bad.) But that doesn't meant it's not just a little bit weird.
But one thing makes it worth it.
Getting to meet even just one person who's excited to meet you takes care of all the trolls. It negates every stupid comment. And it makes the long hours, and all the nights away from home and loved ones worth the time and effort. It almost makes the inevitable plague we contract (I'm writing this late Friday night from the airport, before the onset) worth it.
So to everyone who dared to come up and say hi (I remember when I would have been scared as hell to do so — and, with this Sunday-morning, name-dropping update, I'll admit I couldn't bring myself to talk to hometown hero Roy Jones Jr., sitting next to me on the flight home):
Thanks. It was a blast meeting you. Thanks for letting us be a little part of your lives.
But the funny thing is that CES perhaps doesn't mean all that much for us, in the grand scheme of things. I see headlines trying to find purpose in CES from a tech standpoint. So many "Top whatever" lists. So much grand analysis.
There's no denying that the conference's impact isn't want it used to be, insofar as major announcements goes. Yahoo's Marissa Mayer was a big one, I think, both from a coming-out standpoint for David Pogue, as well as the acquisition of Android launcher Aviate. (TechCrunch heard that $80 million changed hands — a pretty damn good sum.) The pickup gives Yahoo an excellent platform on which to promote its services. And don't worry too much about Pogue taking a swipe or two at the technorati. Yeah, it's kinda like your dad trying to make fun of a cool band — but that doesn't necessarily mean he's wrong. And I completely agree with iMore's Peter Cohen in that we in this business maybe need to take ourselves a little less seriously at times.
I finally got to experience my first John Legere press event — and it lived up to expectations. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement, but I agree with a lot of what he said. So many of the plans carriers put out are confusing and aimed to milk more money out of you than perhaps you should be paying. Sprint's still a bit of a mess, and this Spark stuff doesn't really do much to clean it up. Bottom line, though, is that we need to remember to do the math and not let rhetoric guide our purchases. Still, T-Mobile's on the rebound. No doubt about that.
I'd be seriously remiss in not mentioning the hell out of all the hard work by everyone involved in #CESlive, from Mobile Nations as well as GeekBeat. So, in no apparent order (other than it's late, I'm exhausted and feel the plague a'creepin':
Mad props to Alex Dobie, Richard Devine, Andrew Martonik, Cage Michaels, Rene Ritchie, James Falconer (who did an incredible job scheduling all the live interviews), Georgia and Anthony, Simon Sage, Daniel Rubino, Sam Sabri, Mark Guim, Derek Kessler and Marcus Adolfsson. And same goes for the guys holding down the fort back home — namely Jerry Hildenbrand, Anndrew Vacca (who was supposed to be with us — no thanks to the Polar Vortex of DOOM) and Chris Parsons. Often times not being at the event is tougher.
And much love to the GeekBeat crew of Cali Lewis, John P, Dave Curlee, Mark Ramsey, Kien Tran, Pablo Peillard — especially for holding our hands through the live interviews — and all the other Livid Lobster crew we met throughout the week.
It makes Grumpy Phil proud.
So, what's next? We're getting ready for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February. It'll be more of a traditional event for us, coverage-wise, but still insane, and insanely fun.
Thanks for being a part of all this with us.
I'm gonna take a day off, I think. Then it's back to work.