Exciting things have happened since I published my book, Blogging on Instagram: Engagement Writing on One of the World’s Best Social Media Platforms.
One of the most surprisingly fun experiences has been doing podcast interviews. For those of you who listen to podcasts, you might not be aware of what goes into making them happen.
Each host has his/her own protocol for preparing for a podcast episode. Many conduct pre-production “meetings,” to prepare the guest. The pre-conversation could touch on sequence, types of questions and other things to expect. I’ve found it helps me be relaxed going into an interview because I understand what is going to happen.
Others hosts do zero prep and let the podcast interview become a spontaneous conversation. This is more like “My Dinner With Andre,” a 1980s movie of a 2-hour dinner conversation. They’re often entertaining but this format can leave a guest with a feeling of uncertainty.
There are also pointers for a guest. I found some terrific suggestions from Billy Samoa, CEO and co-founder of Podify, and shared them in an Instagram blogpost.
I recently listened to Celeste Headlee, an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, 20-year veteran of NPR, talk with Jaime Jay about what goes into making a great interview happen. She offered some great advice the best podcasters have employed in preparing me to be a guest on their shows.
It was exciting to finally meet Neal Schaffer at a pre-production meeting. He described our interview “as if we we ran into each other at a conference, and had a conversation where people overheard us like a fly on the wall.” So the interview was a conversation, but Neal also prepared by doing research. The result revealed unexpected information in a fun and interesting way.
The in-person attendance at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was about 40,000 people – a fraction of the crowd of 175,000 in 2019. But there were dazzling products and experiences offered and attendees were able to gain easier access to exhibitors.
I would have attended as a social media influencer under the umbrella of media, so I have access to media assets to share.
“B-Roll,” in movie and video parlance, is the secondary footage that is shot to add depth, context and interest to primary (A-Roll) video. I reviewed the B-Roll this year and found some really cool things. For example, in the following segment, at about 2 minutes, you can see the BMW model that changes colors:
THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE
The online experience was a huge improvement over #CES2021. With a completely redesigned interface, it was better organized and offered more features. With 4 channels of live content, there were some interesting topics, panels and panelists. I tried to catch a few each day, but wasn’t always able to make it. The beauty of that is, all of the content is recorded and available to view.
At about 1:10 you can see a panel discussion, on this Jan. 6 segment recording of the showroom floor, but there are lots cool things going on.
The finale of the show was the Indy Autonomous Challenge that took place this afternoon. Forty-one universities signed up to complete in this autonomous challenge beginning in February of 2020. Nine universities were left and joined countries around the world to form eight teams at CES 2022. Congratulations to team PoliMOVE –UniversityofAlabama, the winners of the IndyAutonomousChallenge at CES2022 at 150 MPH!
Podcast: When It Worked | Host: Julian Leahy – 11/29/21
Click graphic to listen:
Description from John Leahy podcast interview with Terri Nakamura
“I made a concerted effort a few years ago to grow my following. I would try to find somebody who posts similar content to me and I would follow them. I would see the kinds of people they were following and if you look at their list you can kind of tell if somebody looks like they’re kind of in the same niche that you’re in. If you follow those people there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll follow back and that’s kind of what I did for about a year trying to grow my following because I was stuck at 3 500 for years and years before that.
On Automatic Instagram Tools
“I did it manually because I think instagram really frowns upon people who use apps and services to get there. They can tell somehow, so I don’t advise you to try to cheat.
“The big shortcut is buying followers and they can definitely tell when people are just fake followers. On instagram you can end up actually losing your account if they figure out that you’re doing things like that.
“I was just doing it by hand. I would follow like 20 people a week or something like that so it wasn’t wasn’t highly efficient or fast but it was faster than if I did nothing at all.
‘At least with follow backs you know they are real because you picked them out and followed them in the first place. If you just do nothing but follow back those who followed you, you will just end up following bot accounts which are useless.
What Is Blogging On Instagram?
“It’s a disruptive approach to blogging. If you have spent a lot of time trying to develop a blog from scratch you will find that it is a lot of hard work. You basically have to cultivate a mailing list and subscribers in order to have any kind of traction on a blog.
“However, with instagram it’s completely different. Let’s say you have 100 followers on instagram it would take a long time for you to develop 100 subscribers on a blog.
“You already likely have this audience on instagram and that audience is very amiable to see what kind of content you’re posting. So you have this channel where you have an automatic audience.
“It’s pretty unbeatable access to your audience because they really want to be there. They’re not having to be cajoled into clicking a link or making a big time investment because there is a 2200 character limit on instagram. You’re not going to ever be required to read 5000 words of a blog post. Instagram keeps things to a pretty magic manageable length.
Why This Works
“It just cultivates a lot of engagement. The engagement part of it is what’s really unique because it’s like there’s a dialogue that takes place between your followers and you and makes them feel more connected to your brand.”
Available on Amazon:
Available at Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
Thoughtrow Podcast | Hosts: Rod & Inci Jones | 12/2/21
SHOW NOTES – Thoughtrow Podcast
Episode 51: Terri Nakamura – Harnessing the Power of Social Media
In this episode, show co-hosts Rod & Inci Jones share their quote of the day and motivational thought, and then discuss the pros & cons of social media and how its impacted their social media presence.
After Rod & Inci’s brief discussion, they introduce Terri Nakamura, who is a Social Media Consultant, Designer, Writer, and Author of “Blogging on Instagram: Engagement Writing on One of the World’s Best Social Media Platforms”.
Their guest Terri Nakamura discusses with them the power of blogging on Instagram and its benefits. Teri shares her tips on how to be more effective in building your brand and notoriety on social media.
She gives the number one takeaway from the interview today, and what would benefit people most when it comes to building their social media presence.
The Consumer Electronics Show is the world stage to show, see and get hands-on experiences with new technology. Twelve months ago, CES was the last normal thing I remember about 2020. The pandemic changed the way we work, live and play, and in keeping with all of our pivoting, the first all-digital CES began Monday, Jan. 11. When CES first appeared in 1967, 17,000 people showed up. In recent years the show has attracted about 180,000 visitors and last year there were 4,400 exhibitors.
I had high expectations. If anyone could pull it off a digital extravaganza, it would be CES, right? But the first day wasn’t ideal for me. I’d poured through dozens of advance press releases and did due diligence to determine which products interested me. Some were added to “My Exhibits”, which one would assume to be a shortcut. But I experienced glitches with the links. By day two, all was well. Since I didn’t know what I was doing, it could’ve been me.
Leading up to CES, I’m usually working overtime to clear deadlines out of the way. I’ll travel to McLaren International Airport where I’ll be greeted by my friends Diane and Steve Brogan — my hosts the past two years.
But this year CES is VIRTUAL. So Monday I woke up at reasonable time, ate my Cheerios, then turned on my computer. BOOM. I was there.
Monday, I sat in on several live events. If something wasn’t interesting, I wandered away, so in that respect, it was like the real deal. In between the keynotes and presentations, I visited dozens of companies and viewed their content. Some of the exhibitors were “present” when I “stopped by,” so if I typed a question in the chat box, they answered in real time as they would if you were there in person.
What I’ve liked so far
So far, two events made big impressions. One was the 30-minute “Better Normal for All” press conference by Samsung. The storytelling was superb from the “Mad Men”-style opening graphics to the host (name) and introduction of products, of which some I’d normally feel under-excited about, like washers, dryers and vacuums. Samsung pulled out the stops and even the refrigerators seemed cool (pun intended). The reveal felt like what I might normally see at CES — exciting showmanship and lots of “wow.” Entertaining animal actors and vacuum robots that keep a camera eye on your pet clean up after them made for fun context for their products. Here is a link: https://youtu.be/DqXsTtW5VEo
The other was a “thing” rather than an event. Over the weekend I had a chance to explore The Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA). TTA came closest to what I imagined digital CES would feel like. A cool video greets you upon arrival visually touching on some of the companies and products. It did a great job of setting the tone and I liked this quote: “There are ordinary people and extraordinary dreamers.”
TTA was a virtual reality experience that featured more than 100 startups. Their arena was set up like you’d expect to see an exhibition hall: visitors could navigate to five categories and wander from exhibitor to exhibitor. Each startup featured multimedia presentations and I had the sensation I was wandering around the show floor. Thunderzee showcased a zinc air battery which hopes to usurp lithium ion. The zinc batteries eliminate the fire risk associated with lithium ion batteries and are more lightweight, cheaper and reportedly better for the environment.
Verizon’s presentation focused on 5G. They’ve been working to educate consumers about 5G because many of us don’t know anything about it. A series of Twitter chats have focused on it and introduced consumers to ways 5G is beneficial. (Disclosure: I have been a paid brand partner in Verizon 5G promotions). In addition to learning what is really exciting about 5G and how Verizon is partnering with businesses to enable almost incomprehensible speed in everything from medicine to delivery to sports to gaming and entertainment, it also gave us the chance to experience a live concert using virtual reality. By aiming at a QR code, viewers were taken into a VR environment to feel the reality of walking around the performers and viewing them live in 360°
Tuesday and Wednesday I spent spelunking in smaller exhibits and companies. A few that have interested me so far include:
DeepScore enables people without traditional credit to earn “trust scores” based on facial responses to pressurized questions using AI to detect fraud/
Nomadplug is a product designed for travelers who are tired of lugging around a bag full of adapters as they travel from country to country. It’s attractive and compact and uses magnets to morph from one adapter type to another..
NinuPerfume positions its product as the first “smart perfume” that personalizes fragrance and is guided by AI. At the real-life CES you could experience what it smells like.
It’s actually easier to make a one-on-one connection with companies at this digital version of CES, so if you’re interested in what they’re doing, you can chat or email and they quickly respond. The immediacy makes the virtual nature of CES feel more satisfying. Also, as anyone who has attended the CES knows—the guards start shepherding people out of the venues around 5 or 6 PM. With the all-digital CES and the linked micro sites, visitors can wander around in the middle of the night. You can explore whenever it’s convenient.
I really miss the crowds, atmosphere, mind-boggling immersive displays like taking a simulated helicopter ride. And the accidental discoveries of amazing products, ideas and services like when Alibaba previewed real-time voice translation in 2019.
And I miss hanging out in the media room writing, drinking coffee and having lunch with friends, journalists and analysts who share something in common — a love of technology.
PS. A crazy thing about this story — I couldn’t publish it. We had a huge power outage from Tuesday evening until mid-day Wednesday. It’s ironic to have no Internet during a major tech event. It was like 2018 when the lights went out in the Central Hall at CES — another unforgettable moment that could only be experienced in person!
I’ve been using Instagram since April of 2011 when the site was about 6 months old. It seemed like a creative challenge and I didn’t know if I was up to the task. Back then I was most likely shooting photos with an iPhone 4 or 4s (can’t remember which) capturing images at less than 400 pixels per inch. By comparison, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL I now use are capturing 12.3 megapixel images—so massively greater image clarity is possible.
Looking back at my early photos, they look kind of awful. Despite some images with halfway decent composition, the clarity is “not good.” Below is a sample, and you can follow the link to blog post with more examples and “tips.”
Minimal Activity = Stagnant Follower Count
I’m not good at “gaming” followers, and unlike many of the huge accounts out there, I have never bought any. So while I was doing “okay,” my account was never great. Then it got worse. In 2016 I accepted a full-time job. It was demanding and negatively impacted my ability to create and engage on most of my social channels, including Instagram. I was basically on “maintenance mode.” I tried to post an image most days, but weeks or months would go by, and I would “like” a bunch of photos, but I wouldn’t exchange comments with anyone! Needless to say, my account stagnated, I lost followers, and I’d be lucky to get 30 or 50 “likes on an image. I was stuck at about 2800 followers and nothing I did seemed to make a difference.
Some of you who know me pretty well are aware I left my job about a month and a half ago. The reason is long and boring, but suffice it to say I’m on the road to recovery and feeling better each day, and one thing that has been soul replenishing is reconnecting with people on social media. Engagement has been essential. I’m now up to about 4100 followers and have made lots of fabulous connections with fun and interesting new people.
Assessing my Instagram situation, I realized there are now a lot of great photographers there, some of whom have massive audiences, and I seriously needed to up my game. The first order of business was to be more thoughtful about what I was shooting; then looking at how I was prepping the work, and how I framed the image’s narrative. I’ve been a brand partner of Verizon for about 5 years and I wanted to do a better job representing their products and service, so it meant changing up the way I had been doing things. Instead of “maintenance mode,” it was more like, “Banzai!”
Before and After
I’m going to share a series of “before and after” photos, so you can see what a difference it makes to properly prepare your images. This means cropping, sharpening, adjusting contrast, boosting the color saturation, and applying filters.
Kind of a “blah” shot of Alki Beach, right?
After being cropped, adjusted and filtered, it looks so much more interesting, AND detail in the bird that I didn’t even know was there, shows up.
One thing I’d like to say about Instagram — there is no shortage of brainy people there. Seems that each time I post something and don’t know what it is, a number of viewers will chime in and school me! An example is this shot below. I didn’t know what the flower was, and boy, did I get some great feedback!
The bee isn’t very apparent. Maybe because there are many distracting things in the shot, plus the color is subdued.
That’s better! And as Verizon says, “Better Matters!” And for the record, the flower is an Allium.
Reg Saddle @zaibatsu and I frequently discuss things like what the algorithms are rewarding or penalizing, and how it affects what we do. One of the things we go back to is what our audiences want. Think about what you post and which things get the most traction.
Here’s something “off the beaten path” for my feed — a glassblower in the Glassy Baby hot shop, not far from where I live. One of the most necessary steps was to crop this photo. You’ll see what I mean.
Interesting but a lot going on, right? Below: where the action is.
My “boyfriend,” Hunter. Dark. But cropped and adjusted:
I don’t know about you, but our cats are shedding like crazy!
So my brother-in-law is the head of the California Leafy Greens Board. His wife (is she my sister-in-law?) said this is NOT a thistle. But man. I’ve never seen an artichoke this tall. The main thing is, too much is going on and did you see the bee? Take a look:
I almost hate to show you this one. Check out this tree photo, taken on a dreary Seattle day in late spring. I have a thing about shooting UP a tree. This is a classic case.
I didn’t like the way the trunk was drawing the eye away in the bottom right corner. Cropping was calling. But how about those colors? Drab!
Through the miracle of filters, the tree came to life!
So this is a weird one. I noticed this magnolia blossom was so heavy, the bough brought the blossom to my eye level. When I peered inside, I was like, “WHAT?!?” Very cool, but I knew there was potential in making this better. As shown below, I cleaned up the shot, and there is now more detail and clarity.
Yes, folks. The bees were having a cabana party! Interestingly the following day, ZIP.
This shot is just plain beautiful any way you look at it. But even something this perfect can look better through cropping and a number of adjustments.
Things to Try
So, you can see that even a somewhat hopeless-looking photo has potential. It’s about post-production. Some things to think about:
Color Adjustment (including saturation)
I’ve witnessed incredible transformations of the images posted by beginners who then found their mojo. Their photos went from “not good” to amazing!
If you’re on Instagram and follow me, simply post a comment on one of my images to let me know that you’re following, I’ll reciprocate! Here’s a link to my feed: https://www.instagram.com/terrinakamura/
If you’re NOT on Instagram, what are you waiting for? 🙂
If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know!
Next month will mark the four-year anniversary of a small journey my husband, David Horsfall, and I started in 2014. Alki Surf Shop began as an online store that became a brick and mortar reality once we were able to locate retail space on Alki (pronounced ALK-eye) Beach. Retail spaces are rare, and it was through a chance conversation that we learned of an imminent storefront space opening up. Tucked around the corner from Homefront, the most popular ice cream store on the beach, it’s not the easiest place to find, but people find us, and somehow we’ve become a destination of sorts. We’ve cultivated a loyal base of customers—many of whom have become our friends. Our fans and supporters want us to succeed, and they bring in friends and family whenever they have visitors, from everywhere.
It’s been an amazing learning experience, and I can say with certainty we are doing most everything more intelligently than when we started (there is always room for improvement, though). Along the way we have met thousands of people from all around the world and have 4 volumes of guest books to prove it. Packed on every page are drawings, messages of goodwill, and touching expressions of friendship spanning every continent and country, often written in the language of the visitor.
In the store’s nascency, I brought in a Nokia* tablet to use, but eventually we needed full-powered computer and replaced the tablet with a 21’ iMac. Our music continues to be piped out onto the sidewalk with a UE Boom* that it has been in use nearly every day for the past 3 and a half years and is still going strong! We have a WeMo* camera for security, and our Verizon service has even rescued us when our credit card terminal service was down by enabling us to use Square to process transactions. This is all to say, for a very low tech-looking, laid-back beach store, we depend on technology to keep the wheels turning each day.
It’s gratifying that beside that fact that we offer a valuable service, our business provides so much joy to our visitors. Most people enjoy the friendly vibe where we take time to learn where people are from and what brings them to Alki. Each day we have customers hug us as they’re leaving. How many businesses can say that? And many exchange a conspiratorial wink with us when they introduce new people to our store. They whisper, “Are you going to do the ‘horn,’” which is actually the blowing of a conch shell and shouting of “mahalo” as customers depart.
We’re in the midst of our busy summer season and look forward to some fun upcoming 2018 events:
Beside the special events above, on an everyday basis there are things happening — Saturday salsa dancing, volleyball tournaments, beach parties at the fire pits, paddle boarding, bicycle rentals, and happy people everywhere.
Looking out at the view from our store and seeing the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound, we are reminded that life is better on a beach.
We’re grateful to our real-life and social media friends from Twitter and IG who have visited Alki Surf Shop. If you’ve visited the store please let me know so I can add your moniker here!
Some of you know I’m an Instagram fan, and try to post a photo daily. I love Instagram for the variety of images I see every day and that it allows me a place for self-expression.
I’ve been shooting with a Google Pixel2 and a Verizon Google Pixel 2XL for quite a while now. I have to say after being a devoted iPhone user since the beginning, I now think Android is a piece of cake, but more importantly, I am in love with both Pixels.
It’s not just the ease of using an Android. Once you get the gist of how they work, it’s pretty easy to figure out any of them!
So ease of use is important. Service quality is important, too. I’ve mentioned numerous times we have a house near Mount Rainier that is listed on AirBNB, and Verizon is still the most reliable service out there.
But the cameras on these two devices! Wow. They’re amazing. They capture such minute detail that often I’ll shoot something then blow it way up and crop a tiny part of it to post, still maintaining incredible details.
This week I stopped by my mechanic, CarTender, on Capitol Hill. Paolo, one of the guys who works there, told me he bought a Pixel 2 BECAUSE of my INSTAGRAM PHOTOS! Wow!
So I’m sharing a few of the photos I’ve shot this month. From the top down, are:
Peonies from my sister’s garden
A view of the Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle
Wild roses from my garden
Basketball scrimmage after school
The “Eraser” sculpture at the Seattle Center
Weird graphic asphalt lines leading to the Museum of Pop Culture
A view of the Madrona Bathhouse on Lake Washington
The view from the end of the bar at 13 Coins in Pioneer Square
Plants reaching for the sky
A shed in Madrona with a pretty patina
Glimmering city of Bellevue seen from Madrona at Lake Washington
The first Amazon Bookstore, located in the University Village of Seattle
Century Link Tower seen through a gap in a grate
A tree before it budded
Expressive clouds seen from the Montlake Bridge
I’ve posted more than 16,000 photos on my Instagram account. As an early adopter, I went crazy at first, sometimes sharing a dozen or more pictures a day. Now, usually just one a day, although sometimes I skip.
I’d love to have you check out my photos. If you follow me there, post a comment to let me know, and I’ll follow back! And if you see the photos I’ve previewed below, you’ll usually find a more complete description on Instagram
Thank you for looking! And remember: #BetterMatters
Last month I was invited by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) to attend the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV. It was my first-ever experience at CES, and I had the honor of attending as a Key Online Influencer. My badge was met by curiosity as well as respect. I was given a press credential that was a special all-access pass to all of the various venues, and I was also able to use areas reserved for journalists, bloggers and major media from all over the world. I met inventors, CEOs, educators, international executives, journalists, geeks, and all manner of people who were working the showroom floors. It was incredibly exciting!
My donut and Google Mini outside the Google Donut Shop #CES2018
I spent the first day wandering around in a surreal haze of light, sound, motion and colors, with electronic eye candy in every direction. My real-life friends and family know I lack an internal gyroscope, so it wasn’t surprising that it took me two days to get a good handle on where things were. I can’t adequately describe how huge CES is. And it’s not limited to the Las Vegas Convention Center — there are CES events taking place in hotels and other venues all up and down the Las Vegas strip. Some of the things I saw and experienced were so amazing, there were times I simply wanted to share with someone! Like the moment I went into the Google Donut Shop and won a Google Home Mini, I had to call Reg Saddler @zaibatsu immediately!
There were amazing displays of OLED screens (like the one shown in the video below), phones, cameras, drones, robots, speakers, VR (virtual reality) headsets, and AI (artificial intelligence) integrated into everything from cars to personal assistants, games and more. There were accessories for everything, including accessories for your accessories. There were phone cases, and stuff to clean your phone cases or stuff to protect screens before you put your device into a case, and beautiful and utilitarian gadgets for every imaginable purpose. There were drones, bicycles, motorcycles, and there were cars, cars, CARS. I had no idea the huge role cars would play at CES.
I became interested in autonomous vehicles and spent a lot of time talking with various chip designers about self-driving vehicles, which, up until that point, weren’t of serious interest to me. But after CES, I was ready to roll. Almost. A friend, Doug Dobbins @takesontech, was arranging to have me picked up by a self-driving BMW. Um…wait. Did you say 7:30 AM? It was tempting, but I didn’t know what I’d do once I arrived at CES and had to wait an hour and a half for the convention center to open. Probably I blew it when I said no, but something tells me I’ll have another chance to ride in a self-driving vehicle one day.
This is a cool looking plexiglass model by Intel, showing the placement of dozens of sensors (represented by the aqua colored lights) that gather data from all directions to protect passengers in autonomous vehicles.
I’d like to explain something I didn’t understand about self-driving vehicles: They aren’t simply cars that drive around by themselves using a GPS. There are dozens of sensors located around, in, on, and under the car. And at all times the sensors perceive data: objects, traffic, people, motion, proximity, speed and other factors. Now stop for a moment and think about getting that phone call from your office, informing you of an urgent matter. Even hands-free, can you be sure you are not in the least bit distracted? Autonomous vehicles are always tuned in. I now feel accepting of the idea that an autonomous vehicle might, in some ways, be safer than one driven by a person!
Over the course of five days, and even being surrounded by all sorts of connected devices, I was naturally worried about running out of phone power. So I used both my Verizon MotoZ and Pixel2 to shoot most of the photos and videos posted here and elsewhere on my personal and workplace Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and elsewhere. The Motorola has a battery “mod” by Tumi, and basically was impossible to run out of juice. And thankfully, I found super connectivity in all parts of Las Vegas.
I’ve never been personally impressed by robots. I’ve seen them all my life on television, in cartoons and sci-fi films, and I know robots have changed our world forever and will continue to do so. CES was the first time I had a close-up experience. I was singularly UNimpressed by the robot that straightens up a messy room. Each action took so long, I wanted to jump over the barrier and show the robot I could perform its tasks in milliseconds. But these robots are like children—sometimes you need to stand back and just let things happen.
There were coding robots I thought were amazing, fun and cool. Children are so quick to grasp coding through the understanding of programming a robot, and there were all levels of robots, from small spheres to forms with articulated arms, legs, pincers and artificial faces. And I made contacts that could be useful to my workplace, UPrep.
Cute kitty-faced Robot #Sanbot at CES 2018
Not all of the things you see at CES are done deals. There were concept vehicles and machines, like the Laundroid robot, that folds and catalogs your laundry (not ready for prime time) but also massage chairs, 3D images created with emitted light, medical gadgets, smart assistants and VR make-up applications where you could see what you would look like with blue eye shadow. There was even an autonomous helicopter…which didn’t inspire the same confidence I felt about self-driving cars. While most things on display are actually in production, some were conceptual and showing us what we might expect in the future. There was a hall devoted to CES innovation award winners, which included some of the most successful new design and engineering inventions of the past year.
I saw this beautiful, light-weight, foldable electric scooter at #CES2018. It had hub-less wheels! #Ujet
CES has been around for 51 years. My real-life friend, Marsha Collier @MarshaCollier has been going for two decades. I really only became aware of it in 2008 when I would read about friends and acquaintances on Twitter who were making the trek to Las Vegas. Like SXSW, it sounded so cool. But I lacked the self-confidence to venture into such an alien world alone and didn’t know anyone well enough to buddy up. Having gone to this incredible show and spending 5 days by myself, I urge anyone to go and explore. If I can do it, YOU can, too!
Undoubtedly you find yourself meeting a lot of interesting people you would never otherwise meet. Curiosity and common interests make for easy and fun conversations. I wandered into the Gibson venue and was so glad I did. For days I could “HEAR” it from far away and didn’t know what was waiting inside until I walked in. I’m glad I saved it for my final day.
There were so many opportunities to take photos and was glad I had great devices to back me up. I especially appreciated Travis Ames, the drone rep at Uvify who allowed me to film with my hands just beyond the protective netting. And guys, I apologize for the vertical video. Ugh. I can’t stand watching them but I was kind of excited and wasn’t thinking clearly.
If you’ve never attended CES, or even if you’re not a technology geek, don’t let that stop you from going. There is literally something for everyone at the Consumer Electronics Show, whether you’re a hobbyist, aficionado of large or small screens, a music fan, a gamer, or simply curious to see what all the hubbub is about. I learned so much. If you enjoy learning, you will love CES!
I hope some day you have a chance to go to Las Vegas and experience CES. If you decide to go, book your hotel early. By the time I started looking, about a month before the show, it freaked me out. Everything nearby was booked or insanely inexpensive—like $800 a night! Luckily I found a great AirBNB about 20 minutes away, and was even able to convince the host to drive me to and pick me up after the show each day, all for about $450 total, for five days/four nights.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to CTA (Thanks, Erica Corley!) for making the entire experience possible for me, and Richard Kassissieh @kassissieh, the assistant head of school for academics and strategic planning at University Prep in Seattle, who recognized the honor and value of the CES experience, and supported my participation.
Thanks to them, and thanks for reading! I’d love to know if you’ve visited CES, or would like to some day!
The past few weeks have afforded me opportunities to connect with friends, old and new, in real life. For a social media aficionado, there’s something special about getting to meet the people behind the half-inch avatars we encounter on Twitter.
But what was even more cool was to get a hands-on opportunity to check out some of the most popular tech gift ideas for the coming holidays. It was fun to take a retrospective look at what was popular in 1997 and 2017…like, “VCR*?” Remember them?
It made me wonder how the 2017 top of the list will look in 2027?
Personally, I enjoyed using the TREKZ Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones. The name sounds weird, but they work great! The product design is unusual, but the proof was in using them. The sound quality is rich, and because they sit outside my ears, which again sounds odd, they allow me to be aware of what’s going on around me. They were originally developed as a sports headphone, and would be a terrific gift to use while running or working out.
Another cool and affordable item was the iHome | Control wifi-outdoor smart plug, which works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. I don’t have my lights up yet, but it will be great to be able to control them remotely, and after the holidays, other appliances using my iPhone. “Hey Siri? Turn on the lights!”
There was a great variety of products on display. I took some photos of a few of them and loved learning about them.