About a week before New York City shut down to begin its coronavirus quarantine, I was at a very crowded trade event at the World of Macintosh (WoM) townhouse. Very. Crowded. Still, in hindsight it was kind of a magical night in that I was participating in a large celebration in a world that just about to forbid them.
The night started off on a fortuitous note — I had an hour or so to kill before the event (a Montblanc smart headphone release I was covering for TWICE magazine), so I texted a friend who I knew worked in the area and might be available to grab a quick drink before the party. Timing-wise, it worked out great, and we met a few blocks from WoM, where we had that drink and I convinced her to join me at the Montblanc event. I love the townhouse, and I knew she would, too. And I knew she could talk her way into most events.
We arrived to a packed house that included the likes of actor Hugh Jackman and musician Quincy Brown. Having been to the WoM before, I gave her a quick tour and we settled in the second-floor landing that had some room to breathe. From there, we could watch the festivities as the products were introduced and the party music re-started.
I’ve spoken to my friend a few times since we’ve been hunkered down in our homes, and it seems hard to believe that we went from the mob scene to absolute seclusion within a week. The virus was rampant in Manhattan by then, so we both feel lucky that we didn’t carry it with us, but, thinking back, it seems like attending was a big risk.
I’ve been thinking about that night a lot as we head through August and into September. You know, CEDIA Expo Season. As I’ve mentioned on this page before, I have a tendency toward introversion, so solitude isn’t the worst thing in the world for me, but now I find myself missing the CEDIA experience. Which is even crazier when you think about how insane it gets around showtime
All through August I would be getting booth and press conference invites to check out some of the latest new products that I’d be dying to see and meet up with some of the people who I work with all year long but rarely get to see. Plus, there would be the Official CEDIA Expo Daily, which Future plc produces, so I would have keen insight on all the show happenings before I got there.
Then in September I would bring out the Future Daily team — including leaders from our other brands such as Grant Morgan (TWICE), Megan A. Dutta (Systems Contractor News), and Matt Pruznick (AV Technology), along with our design and production master Nicole Cobban and photographer John Staley — for one of the few times each year we are all in the same room. And we have some pretty great team dinners to boot!
The Expo days themselves become of blur of demos (my favorite parts of the show), specs, meetings, and dashes back and forth to the Daily office to file stories. It really is a crazy, stressful, wonderful time.
I am still looking forward to the Virtual CEDIA Expo, and will marvel at the new products and type to my peers through whatever chat room service is provided. You can still look to residentialsystems.com for the latest news during the show and recap of trends right after. But I will miss the team dinners, the networking events, and experiencing all those stellar demos.
And I’ll really miss having the Exercise Ring on my smartwatch close before noon.