I'm in Vegas, baby. Not to party and gamble (maybe a little), but to see the latest and greatest technologies of our time. The Consumer Electronics Show, also known as #CES2019, is kicking off this Tuesday. I expect to see flying cars that will give me back massages and do my taxes by the time I arrive at work.

It's my first time at CES, and I'm incredibly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of output happening. If you need tips on how to network and navigate big events check these out on Alice. I've already learned a few quick hacks to make my life easier this week: Grab your badge at the airport to skip lines at the convention center, use the CES website to search across topics and days, and download the CES app. It helps.

Gary Shapiro, the president of the Consumer Technology Association (the group that annually stages CES), has announced some very big numbers for this year's show. I thought we could use them as our starting guide for what to expect. Let's dig in.

180,000 Attendees

When you look to your left and your right, you're going to find yourself sitting next to fascinating techies from all over the world. There are top enterprise executives from companies like Comcast, Amazon and Dell.

You will also find the most interesting story tellers and reporters trying to scoop the biggest announcements. You can follow their feeds by searching the hashtag #CES2019.

The folks I can't wait to meet are the newcomers -- small business owners like you and me using technology to advance their own communities. The CES app is the best way I've found so far to find and connect with other attendees.

4,500 Exhibiting Companies

Veteran CES-goers have told me me that the best relationships are built at the after-parties. As a woman president of a tech company, you can be pretty sure that I'd rather network during the day. Seen the news lately?

I'll therefore be roaming the multiple exhibit halls to learn about trends and meet awesome founders at their booths. In particular, you'll see me spending much of my time at Eureka Park, the section that hosts the newest of startups and small businesses.

The biggest rumor I've heard so far is that there won't be many major mind-blowing new technologies unveiled this week. Instead, there will probably be many improvements announced in existing services like PCs, smart home devices, and digital personal assistants.

1,100 Speakers

There's major excitement in the air around keynote speakers Ginni Rometty, Lisa Su, and Hans Vestberg. I'm also paying attention to lesser-known names belonging to big experts like Grant Thornton's J.T. Kostman (a U.S. military veteran), Uber head of diversity Bernard Coleman, and Bumble's Chief Brand Officer Alexa Williamson.

Thanks to the ongoing government shutdown, you won't hear folks from the U.S. government. At least ten government-affiliated speakers from agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Trade Commission have canceled their appearances.

A Mystery Number of Women (Stay Tuned)

My hopes and dreams are that there's a long line at the women's bathroom. CES, along with most tech events, has a bad reputation for including very few women and people of color.

The Consumer Technology Association has made a concerted effort this year to encourage more diversity, including an advisory committee to elevate top talented women and people of color in tech for speaking, attending and showcasing. The proof will be in the pudding. I'm hopeful.

So, viva Las Vegas, folks. Over the next few days, I'll tell you about the most interesting things I see. I tend to gravitate toward solutions that are simple, help small business owners, amplify diversity and inclusion, have anything to do with alcohol, and just blow my mind through coolness alone.

Now, I'm off to go find a vacuum that will feed my dog and serve me the perfect martini while completing my invoices.

Published on: Jan 7, 2019