The realities of NAB

By the time you read this, you're either still recovering from NAB or — maybe better — you didn't go at all. Trust me, it's not the end of the world if you didn't attend. Of course, I don't mean that. We all love the NAB convention, right? There are some things you just have to love about this show.

First, there's the food. The food in Las Vegas is good and cheap — or not — depending on your proximity to the action. You can get a Krispy Kreme doughnut just inside the convention hall front doors for a mere $2.50. Sure, you get the same doughnut everywhere else for less than a dollar, but what's an extra buck and a half with the whole upper level of the South Hall to explore?

Second, there's the coffee. Caffeine may keep a convention running. However, it doesn't make convention attendees smart. Folks stand in a line 100 deep outside the Starbucks next to the LVCC cafeteria for their caffeine hit. If they would simply walk 15ft to the cafeteria, they would find the same Starbucks coffee without the 30-minute wait. Of course, then they'd have to settle for a standard Starbucks brew and forgo their grande toffee nut latte with two shots of espresso — but hold the whipped cream and use soymilk because they're on a diet — drink. I know; it's a tough decision. But I'm sure not going to wait for the person in front of me to decide if he wants regular or reduced-fat coffeecake with his 2000-calorie Venti Java Chip Mocha Frappuccino either.

Third, there's the transportation. Las Vegas cabs are driven by locals. For the most part, they tend to be native-born Americans — most with a lifetime of Las Vegas experience. I'm not saying that it's bad to have a foreign-born cab driver, but there's a certain comforting factor in knowing that the guy in the front seat knows his home turf. Although reaching that all-knowing cabby requires a stand-in-line dedication similar to the one at Starbucks.

Fourth, there's the press. It's tough to get the press to show up for anything. So, exhibitors like Panasonic, Sony, Omneon, Avid and a few others spend tens of thousands of dollars to hold press events. They ply reporters with plenty of food and, most importantly, drink. This usually works. But what about smaller companies with budgets less giving than the big boys?

Well, now the NAB arranges for companies to come to the press. For a standard arm-and-a-leg price, NAB provides a room, coordinates a schedule and holds back-to-back press conferences. Each company gets 50 minutes to make its pitch. Then, it's “Next!,” and another company steps up to parade in the dog and pony show. The press sits, and the world revolves around us. Cool! I wish they'd thought of this when I started out more than two decades ago.

The only downside is, for the most part, press conferences end on Monday. That leaves three days of trudging through crowded North and Central halls and navigating the numbered chaos of the South halls. Oh well, there's always the $2.50 Krispy Kreme sugar fix and a Starbucks caffeine boost to keep us going. Hint to newbies: Get the doughnut first so you don't fall asleep waiting in the long line for coffee.

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