Posted by Robert Lorsch | Filed under Posts by Robert Lorsch
Last Friday, my wife Kira went to sleep with a “headache.” At first I thought she was upset that I was 3 hours late for dinner after a late night of packing my office for my multi-mile marathon walks through the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. However, it did not take long to figure out she really had a headache and the flu. Then the next morning, when I woke up with fever, unable to move more than 10 feet from the bathroom, I knew that we were both bit by the bug.
In any event, with all the strength I could muster, I decided that I should still prepare for CES on Monday in case a miracle cured me and I could still go to the big show. So ritualistically, as I do on Saturdays, I went for a haircut. Not that I have a lot to cut – it’s just that when you have as little hair as I do it deserves the very best. So off I went, barely able to hold my head straight in Koby’s chair.
During my haircut, I began to reminisce about nearly 40 years of working the CES show for advertising and sales promotion clients, as well as my own companies. I thought about all the nights in the Las Vegas hospitality suites and the girls, The Knobs Knowledgeable Knob Knowers program I created for stereo maker Wintec, and the girls. I remembered the 50’s Diners with the singing dancing waitresses that I built using Hollywood’s best Back To The Future sets to showcase telecommunications and decorator phone clients – and the girls. My taste buds also reminisced about the gourmet meals in The Bacchanal Room at Caesars Palace, where the girls peeled grapes and fed them sensuously to diners, the millions of Wuppees I sold as show giveaways to stick on the girls and the most successful trade show program of my career, in the 1985 COMDEX convention, where my sales promotion agency, Lorsch Creative Network, was hired by Microsoft, based on my legendary successes at CES …. and of course as my wife will not let me forget – the girls.
That last one is easiest to remember. As described in the book written by Jennifer Edstrom and Marlin Eller, Barbarians Led By Bill Gates, as a “marketing mastermind,” in 1983 I got the call from Rowland Hanson, Microsoft VP Marketing, who said, Microsoft wants to own Las Vegas and own the COMDEX show when we launch Windows. I said “What’s a Microsoft?” He explained he was launching this software thing called Windows 1.0 and wanted everyone in town for COMDEX to know that the “Windows” were opening BIG. COMDEX was the equivalent of CES for the fledgling computer industry at that time.
In any event, as the book says, when people arrived in Vegas they were awestruck. There was not a taxi in town without Windows signage. The Wuppies were redesigned from having antenna to sporting mouse ears to celebrate the introduction of the “Mouse,” while I personally went from hotel bell stand to bell stand tipping housekeeping to change 20,000 pillow cases (at that time there were only 20,000 rooms) to a pillowcase with a Windows Lullaby silkscreened on the cases.
And as the final Coupe de Gras, we closed as big as we opened after hosting the first trade show concert featuring Glen Campbell in a free Rhinestone Cowboy (boots and all) show for attendees, celebrating in Las Vegas for COMDEX. Campbell stayed for the entire soiree and standing next to the world’s soon to be most famous computer geek, he said…”I just wanted to welcome y’all here for the Microsoft party and I want you to know this is my good buddy, Bill Gates.”
The crowd exploded, dancing and laughing all night, but the party and the show were no joke. In an initial survey of COMDEX attendees arriving in Las Vegas, 10% of those polled hadn’t even heard of Microsoft. When Hanson’s team conducted an exit poll, the public perception of Microsoft had grown to 90% in one week. It’s amazing what you can do when you are willing to take some risk and think out of the box. Of course it helps to have an unlimited budget.
Then, four years ago, when I thought my CES days were over, I heard about healthcare emerging in CES. I went to check out the exhibits in the show referred to as Consumer Connected Health. In the last four years, that group of exhibitors has grown from a handful of booths to an entire pavilion of consumer health electronic products and companion services, with what appears to be hundreds of booths showing something to do with health and fitness.
And despite my flu, thinking only 110% of the public company shareholders of MMRF, I slogged the 2 miles (4 round trip) from the Las Vegas Hotel lobby through the Convention Center to walk the show with the other 150,000 attendees. For the second year in a row, MMRGlobal exhibited in the show as part of the Alcatel- Lucent and ngConnect Connected Health booth next to all the biggies, Verizon, Qualcomm and a ton of other huge players with booths the size of Lorschland.
MMR is on the verge of becoming part of healthcare and my CES history, launching a collection of Wellness & Health IT at work packages to improve the quality of lives. The Company was part of a complete, automated, connected health demonstration, featuring MMR’s Patented MyMedicalRecords.com Personal Health Record. The demonstration showed how MMR connects patients and their doctors in ways that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.
It was all about Being In The Right Place At The Right Time. I had so much adrenaline pumping in my veins, my flu bug got squashed. I walked miles through the convention center and talked to all the companies relevant to MMR’s PHR products and services. I did demonstrations, I shared the news about the company’s patents and intellectual property, I attended meetings where we discussed how to integrate with everything, including the HAPIfork.
I shook hands (using my Purell Sanitizer, of course) and met dozens of new health players, arranging follow-ups (at their request) to work together in 2013. I also continued my networking with the giants, including Verizon & Qualcomm, where we have been working on formalizing strategic relationships for years. Clearly, 2013 is not only the year of the Snake, it’s the year of eHealth and Health IT.
After a less than two-day whirlwind show, I was thankful that I went for a haircut, or I would have never reminisced and remembered how important it is to be in the Right Place at The Right Time.
Tags: 2013, and ng Connect and Alcatel-Lucent., Bob Lorsch, CES, MMR, mmrf, MMRGlobal, mymedicalrecords, MyWellnessBuddy, Personal Health Record, Personal Health Records, PHR, Vitalae Corporate Services with MyVitaLink