Time flies when you're having fun - and at a trade show. I don’t know what it is about trade shows but there is a strange space-time-continuum when you are in the trade show mentality. One minute time is standing still, then next, two hours have flown by and you suddenly have a notebook full of shorthand, a camera full of pictures, a pocket full of business cards and a speeding train of deadlines.
This is why I am jamming days one and two of International CES together, the reasons for this are twofold, in that the process of shaking hands, swapping business cards and scanning badges to subscribe attendees to our digital magazine is much of a muchness, and I am increasingly concerned I am not going to have time to write up both days if I just stick to one today.
Tuesday morning began in earnest. The newly-carpeted South Hall 3 had an electrifying atmosphere as we came in to set up and barely an hour later the doors opened and the visitors flooded in.
It was not until I went for a lunchtime wander to find food for the team (officially - the LVCC is the worst event venue I have visited for finding things to eat and drink unless you want to wait for half an hour in a queue) that I realised these massive crowds and clogged walkways were not the case throughout the show. As such, only the TCT + Personalize-sponsored 3D Printing TechZone was experiencing such unprecedented traffic.
These events are a great opportunity to meet readers, companies, investors, inventors and other interested parties and if you are happy to chat to strangers then you can come away with baskets full of collaboration ideas and potential leads for stories.
I managed to speak to a few 3D printing startups, including some of the guys from Matterform, who I will be interviewing in more detail tomorrow, and Clément Moreau of Sculpteo, who gave me some insights into why CES is a great place to do business.
We ended the day with a couple of hundred subscriptions and rumbling stomachs (despite taking up the offer of a deep-pan pepperoni from the beautifully timed arrival of the pizza fairy mid-afternoon). This was opportune, as we went to dinner with long-standing friend of TCT and industry expert Todd Grimm, his other half and dynamic Alan Guyan of Under Armour for what would be the best steak of our lives.
We went straight to bed where we each got straight to work on the newsletter the next day, with an early night turning predictably into a case of burning the midnight oil.
Wednesday began early because we were off to the North Hall for our Conference Track, Don't Believe the Hype? 3D Printing Uncovered. After briefly meeting our very lovely stand lady Angelina - the very epitome of American glamour, politeness and perfect smile - and showing her how to use the scanners and giving her a peanut shell lowdown of what TCT is all about, I scurried back the marathon length from one side of the LVCC to the other to tweet along to the speaker sessions, the first of which being CEO of 3D Systems Avi Reichental.
As Avi rounded his talk up, Jim informed Dan and I that due to the fact there was a 200 person-strong queue of people wanting to get into our standing room-only session, we were being relocated to an entirely different auditorium. We are good at thinking on our feet here and so we swiftly relocated the 150-or-so seated members of the audience down the way to a much bigger room.
What a great line-up. Todd Grimm followed, then came Jason Lopes of Legacy Effects, Paul Brody of IBM, Alan Guyan, then finally Clément Moreau and Conor MacCormack of Mcor Technologies. The room was packed throughout and Twitter was on fire.
Another afternoon of meeting more statrups (Old World Labs for one), scanning badges for subscriptions, answering questions, meeting old friends from CES Unveiled in London and putting together the newsletter followed - not to mention getting the scoop from the gathering Duncan and Jim attended revealing Will.I.Am. as 3D Systems' new Creative Officer.
So, after two manic days (with two more to go, by the way) we're going for a well-deserved drink and hopefully a good seven hours' sleep.