The Consumer Electronics Show opened yesterday. There were several sessions I attended on internet advertising, social networking, mobile, and games. The overall theme is the connected consumer. On the way to the keynote by Bill Gates, Mark Friedler and I shared a ride with a producer from NBC. Mark asked why a guy worth so much spends so little on a hair cut. Well, wouldn’t you know that during a little video Bill Gates showed about his upcoming last day at Microsoft (he’s "retiring" to help save the world and work on his foundation), Brian Williams closed with a comment on a "newscast"-ending with a reference to Gates $7 haircut. Great amusement value.
This will be the last Keynote at CES – he spoke her 11 times.
Even as Gates is doing less at Microsoft, he still commands rock star status. Many people (not me) had lined up since 2 pm for a 6:30 appearance – many playing with their blackberries, PDAs, games, windows media devices, etc. There were so many people wired and connected that many press made this a story onto itself.
The film showed him driving to the Redmond campus with a briefcase and coffee mug left on the roof of the car. His keynote started with cameo appearances by some celebrity “friends,” including, Brian Williams, Hillary Clinton, George Clooney, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Jon Stewart, Jay Z, and Bono. This was all set as a dreamlike look into the future of his last day at MS with an imaginary newscast by Brian Williams of NBC News. “All of us here at NBC News will miss reporting every night on this brilliant, powerful – let’s face it – sexy and good-looking leader”. It was cute and a good way to transition to his discussion on the “next digital decade” with regard to entertainment, technology, and convergence.
We sat through presentations by Mika, and Robbie, and Jill, and other MS execs. Also we watched him play guitar. I found it interesting to hear BG view of the future where one need not struggle with technology to download, upload, email, but to create in the cloud (the Internet), and then distribute as you wanted to. The presentation of the MS Music player was not something I agreed with – I like to seek music I like from strangers – not check what my friends are listening to. But the vision of the connected experience and some of the demos made this a worthwhile speech to attend.
But the big news is his haircut. I checked this AM, and a search on Google yielded 71,400 results, with 8,120 BLOGS, and 7 news stories. Narrow it down to CES 2008 and Bill Gates Hair Cut, and you get 9,220 Web mentions, 361 BLOGS, and 4 news. Bill, maybe you should check with John Edwards – I have the feeling that he has negotiated the price down from $400!