MakerBot press conference CES 2014
Press day at CES is unlike anything I have ever experienced before, even if I was only in the actually press vicinity for a matter of hours.
After our busy day on Sunday and with all of us shuffling along with the little bit of jetlag that had crept up on us after the initial wave of adrenalin subsided, it was welcome news that we had no engagements on Monday morning, allowing us all a little bit of a slower start - that is until the press releases of new 3D printing products and features began rolling in.
After a morning of writing a few stories and enjoying the view from the hotel room I decided I must be doing something wrong - I was clearly far too comfortable - so I decided to set off early (three hours early) for the MakerBot press conference at the Mandalay Bay hotel with a mind to settle down in the press room and finish my work there.
This, it turns out, was the absolute right decision, in spite of Jim and Duncan's guffaws at my overly-conscientious timekeeping. Firstly, it is very easy to underestimate how long it will take you to get from Bally's to the Mandalay Bay, because it is a journey that requires a monorail journey, a long walk through the MGM Grand, a long walk over two bridges to the Excalibur, a tram and another long walk through the casino and shops to the exhibition centre. Secondly, the MakerBot press conference is apparently along the same lines popularity-wise as a pop concert (at least in CES world).
We visited the press room on our first day at CES and it was a bubble of free cookies, tea and comfy sofas. On press day, however, the place was more like a refugee camp. Hundreds of reporters, cameramen, photographers and editors all strewn across the ballroom. There was a distinct smell.
Half an hour before the MakerBot press conference began, Duncan texted asking me to reserve a seat for him, so I decided to leave the press room and head next door to bag a couple of front-row seats. I wondered as I walked down the corridor why so many journalists had decided to sit queue-like along the wall. But it wasn't like a queue - it was a queue. The queue to the MakerBot press conference was akin to the queue that snakes around the corner from the Manchester Apollo before a gig. But then, I suppose, MakerBot is something of a rockstar name in the 3D printing world.
Duncan caught up with me (about 70th in the queue) 15 minutes before showtime and eventually we filed into the press conference where the atmosphere was as electric as the blue lighting that had been cast around the room to set the mood.
Bre Pettis galloped on stage to applause and whoops and revealed MakerBot's three headline-grabbing machines, but not before each dramatic unveiling (facilitated by three massive boxes each concealing a new announcement) was met with a sea of oohs and ahs.
The MakerBot press conference rounded off with a clattering of journalists and photographers all clamouring for a quote, a photo or a snippet of candid footage of the man himself and as we filed out, it felt like leaving a gig at the Manchester Apollo.