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How Bill ruined keynotes and Qualcomm got weird and crazy at CES

Mark Gibbs | Jan. 14, 2013
It's all Bill's fault. At one time the big keynote presentations at shows like Comdex (R.I.P.) were glimpses into the future.

Jacobs then attempted, unconvincingly, to co-opt the "Internet of Things" meme into the company's own "Internet of Everything." No one was buying this. Well, no one in their right mind.

Then out trotted Big Bird with a developer wearing what appeared to be a skinned Big Bird, followed by (on camera) Archbishop Desmond Tutu (honestly, I am not making this up), actress Alice Eve (in person), and a real live all-electric Rolls-Royce.

Just as our brains were about to short out, the band Maroon 5 came on to perform because what else would you choose to follow an electric Rolls-Royce?

Probably due to licensing issues, at this point the live Internet feed went silent and then a Dido track was played instead! Our brains went into shock at the sheer weirdness. And that was pretty much it.

So, what can we conclude from this insane collision of marketing, show biz and high tech? Well, I, for one, am not completely sure.

I think one takeaway might be that there's no depth of pandering to pop culture that most major companies aren't willing to stoop to. Another might be that our industry, for all its years of development and its importance to our culture and economy, is still a teenager with spots when it comes to market communications. Sure, there have been some exceptions, but even Apple has gone "pop" since Steve Jobs passed.

Despite the horror of this year's CES keynote I think I can say for all of us that we can't wait to see who tops this insanity next year, because we know whoever it is, they won't be able to help themselves. Thanks, Bill, thanks a lot.


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