Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lessons learned from CES

First off, I’d like to thank everyone that wished me a happy birthday a couple days ago, I really really appreciate it! Thanks! Just to let you know, I had an awesome birthday.

Now, I’ve been constantly monitoring the products and ideas that have permeated out of the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show happening in Las Vegas, NV for the past few days. As usual, all the big guns in the Tech industry (except for Steve Jobs who will make a later appearance at his own Macworld conference next week) made their keynotes and astonished us with their brazen, hard-hitting new ideas and possibilities for the near-future. Watching Bill Gates make his keynote made me realize the kind of breakthroughs that the tech industry has made just in the last 5 years. We are at a point in time where a year can make a big difference in how your lifestyle changes. Acknowledging that the Internet was the single, most pivotal invention in my generation, we can only speculate as what is in store for us over the next 20 or so years. Will it stop? Are we coming to an age where no one will understand what is going on anymore? Where the general public will have to take ‘on faith’ what the scientists and technologists are saying? Will the world become engulfed in a new mind ethos of listening to evangelists and religious fanatics just because it is ‘easier’ to understand and more accessible to them rather than advancing nanotechnology? Sometimes it’s scary to think about these things and they sure are tough questions. No one has an answer to these, and we just have to, ironically, take it upon ‘faith’ to make sure that our world doesn’t become a place of ignorance and a breeding ground for apathy (more than it already is).

But away with this philosophical mumbo-jumbo! CES 2006 really showed off some cool stuff! Wacky designs, innovative functionality, and sleek usability brings us ever so close to the day when our world will look like the one in “Minority Report” or “The Island” or in the future, “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” or “Serenity.” In his opening keynote, Bill Gates himself had these cool prototype sets that envisioned how we would be living in the next 4 years. He had a huge LCD monitor showing how easy it was to track people, call people, make notes, get directions, get news, order food, make business decisions, etc. (all using MS Windows, of course!) Everything was connected seamlessly, his car, his home, his phone, his office, his kids, his wife, the family’s events, his business trips, ways of digesting media…and it all came together to make a web of ease of use. This will be the future in 4 years. It really is hard to believe. But I believe it. And I believe that at the pace the industry is going at, we should be getting holographic communication in the next 10 or so years; now how cool would that be?

This got me thinking. How does it all fit into the family business? How has the medium of audio and the medium of video combined to make a synergy of itself? Consumer electronics seem to be focusing on a more direct approach with the consumer. Acquiring and storing all your precious DVDs, Music, Pictures, Video Games etc. will be on a dedicated machine called a Media Center. With the advent of digital distribution software like iTunes, and Microsoft’s upcoming “Urge”, it is only a matter of time before the living room becomes the center of the home, the center of family, the center of life. Not to be overly dramatic here, but it has the possibility of controlling our lives. One small box will control the means we get our entertainment and will dictate how we can enjoy that entertainment. Of course, this kind of trendsetting will make consumer’s hunger for the best possible home theatre in terms of audio equipment. The best amplifiers, the best speakers, the best mixers will all be used in one harmonic move. People will become ravenous audiophiles, searching for the best one that improves the look of their entertainment center, that improves the quality of the sound, that improves how they live their lives. This is where our company comes in. Focusing on this market will give a larger share of the profits. Yes, we will have more expenses in terms of the margin, but we will have greater visibility, and that is what matters. Karaoke enthusiasts, audiophiles, AV techs, hardcore DJs, and insatiable Home Theatre gurus will be the demographic marketed to. CES is the perfect place to do this. With a radical new change in design and a new outlook on how to market our products, I believe I can help turn the company around and bring back profits in excess. I have just the right knowledge of the industry, of the entrepreneurial side, of the age spectrum, and most importantly, I have the drive to see this company succeed and become larger than it has ever been.

In conclusion, watch out guys, I might just be manning the booth next year displaying our brand new, insanely sweet looking Denon amplifiers at CES 2007. Engadget guys…digg folks…this is a heads up!


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