[CES 2022] CTA president says CES will move ahead even through press drama


CES 2022 starts next week, and typically we’d be on a plane Saturday night and meeting with brands first thing Sunday morning. But things are different this year, and brand after brand continues to cancel plans to attend CES. We’re also not attending CES 2022 but not because we don’t want to; it just didn’t work out for us to make it. Now, CTA president Gary Shapiro is speaking out in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

CTA is the company behind CES, and they organize and facilitate the entire event. What you need to understand about CES is that it’s massive. And that mass isn’t centralized only at the Las Vegas Convention center.

CTA also operates other parts of the conference in different hotels and convention centers. CTA also arranges transportation, food, amenities, and press and media connection opportunities. So the scope of the operation is much larger than the average person understands.

So it is understandable that CTA president Gary Shapiro wants this event to move forward; there is a lot invested here. A few days ago, Shapiro wrote an opinion piece in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He presented CTA’s reasons for moving forward with the event, despite objections from many and the cancelation of notable brands and press.

You can read his piece for yourself in total, but the following two paragraphs are what I felt hit his point about CES right on the nose, from his perspective.

CES will and must go on. It will have many more small companies than large ones. It may have big gaps on the show floor. Certainly, it will be different from previous years. It may be messy. But innovation is messy. It is risky and uncomfortable. I view CES as representing the best of our unique American history — a place where those who are different and have big ideas can gather. Where success is not based on class or religion or anything but the strength of an idea.

As we look to CES 2022, we confront a tough choice. If we cancel the show, we will hurt thousands of smaller companies, entrepreneurs and innovators who have made investments in building their exhibits and are counting on CES for their business, inspiration and future. If we do not cancel, we face the drumbeat of press and other critics who tell the story only through their lens of drama and big name companies.

CTA president Gary Shapiro
Alex, Josh, and Jason at CES 2020

Gary’s not wrong here, at least about the “drumbeat of press and other critics who tell the story only through their lens of drama.” We’ve only written one article concerning CES cancellations, and I’ve run a couple of polls on Twitter asking people if they thought CES would continue or get canceled. I don’t feel we’ve drummed up any drama over the situation, but I can see through Shapiro’s lens and understand. I admit I have made a couple of Twitter posts meant more for fun than drama but probably were viewed as drama.

It’s a bummer that so many major brands have pulled out, and it saddens us that we can’t make it. Still, some smaller brands and upstarts are going and hope to showcase what they’re working on. Pepcom and ShowStoppers are both happening, as is CES Unveiled.

I understand the frustration at CTA over the situation, but it does seem that the show is going to be much smaller than usual. I don’t think reporting on such news is dramatic; it’s newsworthy, and sharing the information is what the press does.

I wish the CTA a successful CES 2022. Given the circumstances they’re operating under, it will be a challenge. Still, I hope they pull it off because I would like to be at CES 2023 and beyond once we all regain our sanity and ability to think critically.


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