Now that the post CES hype has dropped to normal levels, it’s time for a little reflection. I used to love to go to COMDEX! Does everyone remember COMDEX? For those that might not remember it was a show just like CES, but was more dealer and corporate focused vs. being consumer focused. It was held in Las Vegas each November from 1979 to 2003, and at the time one of the largest trade shows in the world.
The people who managed the show made some odd decisions on content and admission, which drove attendance down and eventually killed the show. Many aspects of the show did move over to CES. However the back-end IT stuff that’s so important never transitioned over to CES. Management tools, servers, deployment technologies, data center stuff, and other categories a consumer isn’t interested in never made it in any real way. For me, it was one place that I could go and see it all. I could meet with the companies, see the products, talk with the leaders in the industry, and sure have a good time – all in one place.
The show was crazy fun also. Back in the day, I could walk away with 20+ t-shirts from different companies without trying hard. Since the Internet wasn’t like it is today, vendors gave away so many brochures they filled up 3+ boxes that had to be shipped home. It took days to go through it all.
One memory that I can’t get out of my mind is from 1997, when Iomega introduced the “clik!” drive. It was a tiny 40MB USB’ish drive that seemed revolutionary at the time. At the show, Iomega gave away what seemed like millions of little plastic things you pressed making a loud “click”. I still can’t forget the sound.
I’ve been to CES a few times in recent years. I’m not trying to say CES isn’t good, there is value. However for the IT leader, there was so much more at COMDEX that interested me. Please, bring back COMDEX! Do you have any memories of it?