Tyler Suiters  0:11 

Hey everybody, Tyler Suiters with the Consumer Technology Association. We are the owners and producers of CES, which is, as you know, the most influential tech event on the planet. We want you to be CES Ready for 2019. The show is coming up January 8-11, as always in Las Vegas. And you know, CES is the global stage for innovation, right? Did you know that this is also the largest startup event on the planet? Yeah, 1200 plus startups will be there for CES 2019. And this includes the tech startups, but also think about the influence the global companies have, and that will be visiting Eureka Park, where all these startups call home during CES. Yes, these companies are launching products, are building brands. But there's also a remarkable opportunity for synergy, for growing and developing partnerships between these global brands, and brand new entrepreneurs and innovators who are just trying to break into the market. So with that as our focus today, we are going to bring you, first of all, a Fortune 125 company, one that is focusing on building partners and growing startups. And also, you'll hear from a funding platform - you'll know this company - that is connecting innovators and venture capital all around the world. Today, a focus on startups at CES 2019.

Tyler Suiters  1:44 

Matt Anderson is Senior Vice President and also Chief Digital Officer with Arrow Electronics. And he has an interesting view from his position on the startup world. And Matt, it's great to have you with us today.

Matt Anderson  1:58 

It's great to be here.

Tyler Suiters  1:59 

So let's let's dive right in. What are the current trends you're tracking right now in the startup world?

Matt Anderson  2:06 

You know, we we see a lot of startups here at Arrow because we have an exclusive partnership with Indiegogo, where we looked at over 10,000 new companies with great ideas, innovative mindsets, and you know, looking to build that next business, just in the last 12 months. And we see a number of really interesting things going on. The first one is, we've been really impressed with the amount that these emerging companies are able to do with just the power of the internet, giving them access to so many resources that big companies have.

Matt Anderson  2:38 

You can have a product idea, you don't have to have software developers, you don't have to have hardware developers, you don't really have to have anything except for what you think is core to your business, actually is employed in your business, and still bring amazing products with great customer experiences to life.

Matt Anderson  2:54 

So I think the big thing we're seeing is just an incredible amount that really new companies are able to get done so much faster than ever before. And you're seeing it in I think also in a world of just, you know, large mergers and acquisitions, where companies like Google and Amazon and Apple are acquiring these fantastic ideas that sort of reach that proof of concept stage, they kind of get out and accrue commercial success. And then, you know, companies that we work with in the past like Ring and others have been acquired by significant players in the Valley and a broader tech ecosystem where they sort of apply their brand, apply their distribution, make their private part of their overall ecosystem and then get it out in the market.

Matt Anderson  3:36 

So I really think that this diffused expertise that has access to federated capability is a huge trend right now in the startup world. I think the other thing that we're really seeing is, a lot of the startups or the entrepreneurs, and I would say even startups in the world of large companies, right, innovation groups, r&d groups, they're really trying to figure out how they can get the cash register to go from beside the product - in other words, you buy the product one time - to in the product. Meaning we're really trying to figure out how can I monetize an ongoing relationship or a customer experience that I'm delivering to my customer and instead of just purchasing at one time, it's really earning that business via great delivery of value proposition and experience every single day for customers.

Matt Anderson  4:28 

So those are, I think, two of the big trends right now moving the needle for valuations, moving the needle for how companies are setting themselves up. They're moving the needle for what you can think about as an entrepreneur in terms of what you're starting team needs to look like.

Tyler Suiters  4:43 

Boy, that second point is especially fascinating, about the internal cash register. But I want to rewind a little bit, Matt, to the beginning of your answer, and I don't want to gloss over the number you threw out there. So you all and Indiegogo have looked at 10,000 startups in the last 12 months? That's a little bit mind bending, what does that process look like? What are you mining in there?

Matt Anderson  5:07 

Yeah, so you know, when we originally launched, actually, at CES, our partnership with Indiegogo, the idea was this: Arrow has thousands of design engineers, electronic engineers, software engineers, architects. And oftentimes you have an innovator that has a great idea, but they have one area that they've got maybe very deep expertise in, and to bring today's products to like you really have to have expertise across a wide array of capability, from hardware to software, reverse logistics, compliance, data management, security, etc, etc, etc.

Matt Anderson  5:41 

And so the thought was, you know, what if we were able to take these fantastic, motivated entrepreneurs that are innovating, and connect them with the resources of a fortune 113 company, and go through a free design consultation, where we're looking at building materials, schematics, architectures, how people are thinking about bringing their idea to life, and then we could give them some advice. And then the second part of the program was, not only would that be valuable for the entrepreneur, but it would be actually valuable for the people that are doing crowdfunding, because they would know that a company like Arrow has taken a look at the product. And while we're not experts on whether or not a product is going to succeed with consumers, we are experts on whether or not the product is technically feasible.

Matt Anderson  6:29 

And so we began to give out these badges to campaigns that said, Arrow is technology certifying this project. In other words, we've seen that there's a prototype, we've seen there's a bill of materials that can actually function, and you know that this product can in fact, be brought to life. And so because of that, it's been an opt in process at Indiegogo. So this was not an opt out and over 10,000 companies has opted into the program, because it says, we really want to have access to this design advice, these architecture consultations, etc. And we and Indiegogo have done some interesting research that says, you're likely to raise about two times more money, if you go through a process of certification with Arrow because the community will know that your idea isn't just a great idea. Great ideas are really a dime a dozen. It's great ideas that can be executed that are valuable.

Tyler Suiters  7:22 

That's a great point. And what a proof to sell that you have the potential to- or the likelihood to double your VC raise going through a process like this. Well, with that in mind, Matt, what is it that Arrow is looking for in a startup? Is it about innovation? Is about the leadership team and the feel you get from them? Or is there heavy weight put on proof of performance, the fact that you're confident something can get to the market? Or maybe is already in the market?

Matt Anderson  7:52 

Yeah, I think, you know, first of all, Arrow doesn't invest itself in startups, but we invest our resources, we invest our supplier relationships or experts in making companies successful with their idea. Because Arrow, we succeed when someone else's technology succeeds, and they buy componentry, software, hardware or services from us. And the only way that's going to happen is if their company is a successful company, right? So when we think about what we're looking for, in terms of the customers that are bringing idea to reality, I think the first thing we always are looking for is entrepreneurs, innovators, imagineers that have passion, because this stuff is really difficult.

Tyler Suiters  8:01 

Right

Matt Anderson  8:33 

You know, we've done some very interesting research again, because we saw the 10,000 companies last year, we actually launched a survey, which we titled inside of Arrow called "The Mind of the Innovator," and it's looking at what are some of the big trends that are happening inside of people that are doing innovation. And one of the pieces that you see inside of that is that a massive amount of the original componentry, software, configuration that goes into an idea changes by the time it finally comes out as a finished good, or a finished product that ultimately gets consumers.

Matt Anderson  9:09 

And so, if you think about that journey of going from a great idea, proof of concept, maybe a first run, starting to get something out to a group that have crowdfunded you and then getting ready to scale something in the thousands or even millions of units range, you're really going to be walking across a pretty iterative process, you're going to learn a lot, you're going to fail a lot, you're going to learn from your failures, hopefully. And so if your if your leader doesn't have a lot of passion around that, you know, it's not just fun, it's not just making a website, it's not just making a brand, it's not just saying that I had this great idea. It's really about that passion to sort of see it through.

Matt Anderson  9:48 

So I think about companies like Opkix, as example, we work very closely with Lawrence Greaves, who's the CEO of Opkix. I don't know if you've seen this product, but it's a really fantastic little product. It's sort of like Air Pods, but they are video cameras that go inside of a little container, and they allow you to shoot real time video of what's happening around you in a very non intrusive way. And it's not so much focused on sports, as it is focused on lifestyle. We've work really closely with Lawrence for a long time and his team. And you know, as I very first met Lawrence about a year ago, I just see the journey he's gone on now to really get this product on the market. And I think about, you know, his passion has really fueled that company forward and it's driven them, and they're learning, and have a fantastic product that's coming out here shortly.

Matt Anderson  10:37 

And so, you know, for us that first piece is passion. I think the second piece is, you know, what is the ecosystem that you're involved in. If you're just, you know, highly focused in Silicon Valley and bringing in all your own resources, that is a model that can work for some companies, but I call that the blockbuster model of innovation, meaning you're trying to put out the next blockbuster movie of innovation. But if you're really trying to iterate, learn and grow in the market at a sustainable and reasonable pace, and surrounding yourselves with partners, companies like Arrow, engineering, design houses, software houses, even marketing and other kinds of agencies, I think that's really a key ingredient as to whether or not companies ultimately succeed.

Matt Anderson  11:22 

Because, the more resources you bring into your company, the more you have to raise capital. And it's still, if you look at the data that we've seen in our surveys, the number one challenge for companies is still they can't get access to enough money to really go through the journey that they need to go on. And I think if you have a ecosystem of partners who can supplement where you have expertise with their own expertise, you don't have to put all that on your payroll. And instead, you're able to leverage the benefit and the scale of companies around you that know things that you don't know, and they know how to do things that you can't do in order to deliver a great product.

Tyler Suiters  11:59 

Well, let's talk about that insight for a moment, Matt, and you mentioned that this is a survey, but the big takeaway is that companies' number one problem with startups is getting access to capital. Can you dive more deeply into that? What else have you learned from from those responses and potential solutions there?

Matt Anderson  12:19 

You know, what's interesting is, kind of number two and number three are: they have problems with prototyping, and then the third one is they essentially have problems going from prototypes to scale. And what's interesting about that is we've been digging under the hood of that answer, which my biggest challenge is money, right? That's what the entrepreneurs are saying.

Tyler Suiters  12:37 

Right.

Matt Anderson  12:37 

And what we find is, it's not actually with the initial range. Many people can raise the capital they need to get whatever it is that they thought in their business plan they needed. But the problem is that the business plan turned out to be woefully inadequate or inaccurate, or just difficult to estimate. I mean, let's let's be honest, right? Like, it's hard to know what it's going to take to bring an idea to reality. And so what we found is that really, the reason that entrepreneurs and innovators are saying that they're running out of money or there are difficulties in sourcing money, isn't that they can't source the money early on it's that they need a lot more than they thought they would need, because of the difficult journey of going through, you know, building out like a PCB board for the first time, or doing a schematic diagram or contracting with an engineering firm to do some design engineering around a part of a sub assembly that you may or may not know about.

Matt Anderson  13:33 

And so, you know, when we look at that, we realize part of that is definitely getting access to money, but it's really actually around, how can I bring more expertise in so that I can use my money better, and then can make it go further? Right? And I can use it when I'm really ready to scale because where you want to be using your money, if you're an entrepreneur, is in how do you go and drive market adoption of your product. You'd like to keep your R+D costs, and your costs around developing a product, as low as you can, because that's the speculative part of the venture for most companies.

Matt Anderson  14:06 

So, you know, I think crowdfunding companies like Indiegogo, and others, have been extraordinary in providing new kinds of access to capital. Certainly the fact that interest rates have been low and private equity and venture capital has been in and then now, you know, if you look at the way the crowdfunding has moved into even equity crowdfunding, which is a relatively new phenomenon, I think an ITO, these kinds of things, they're absolutely changing the way that companies are able to get money. But it remains the challenge as to what the companies are able to do with the money. I mean, how do you turn it into product? How do you turn it into idea? How do you turn it into reality? I think that's the real challenge that we're seeing, it's almost like one of these things where you say one thing but what you really mean is, I need more money, because this is harder than I thought, and I need help to get it to be a reality.

Tyler Suiters  14:57 

Well, one place to get a lot of those answers, of course, is CES, because the entire community is there, from the sharpest startups in the world to venture capitalists that are looking for their next major project. What are you, at Arrow, looking for at at CES 2019? What's your strategy for finding it, once you get there? I mean, it's the world's largest startup event with more than a thousand startups. How do you navigate? How do you game plan? And and how do you measure success, Matt?

Matt Anderson  15:28 

Yeah, well, you know, our strategy is pretty simple. Arrow of the easiest way to create, make, and manage technology in the world. If you have an idea, and it's on a piece of paper or napkin, you can bring it to us and we can help you make it a reality and make millions of it. We spend the whole spectrum, from hardware all the way to software and security, and even taking technology out of the market so it doesn't pollute the world. And our strategy is, let's put that message in front of, and in the same location as, the innovators, the r&d groups, and the startup there in Eureka Park, and show how we've worked with other companies so that, you know, people that are passionate about their ideas are going to be bringing them to Arrow and saying, Hey, you know, can you help me take this to the next level or the next step.

Matt Anderson  16:13 

And we're going to be there. We're bringing engineers, we're bringing security experts, we're bringing solution architects, we're bringing, actually, I would say a microcosm of our entire capability as a platform to make technology a reality, to CES to do live design consultations with startups and innovators. One of the things that we said we really want to do at CES, we issued the challenge, bring us your most difficult IoT projects, or your most difficult IoT problems, we're going to have all the technical resource of Arrow there to solve them live. So you can experience what it is to really go through this journey with Arrow in terms of an easy place to create, make, and manage technology.

Tyler Suiters  16:56 

So what then, Matt, can a startup do to stand out in your mind at CES? All these great offerings that Arrow has, but you need to get in front of your company, you need to get your attention, right? What do you do as a startup?

Matt Anderson  17:09 

Yeah, so I think it really depends on where you are in your journey as a startup. You know, like I said before, I really think that great ideas, innovative concepts...I mean, that's where the magic is. But in many ways, it's a little bit like whether you bring a great idea, that's not the thing that separates you at CES. There's a lot of fantastic, really innovative things. I mean, I cannot tell you the number of times that I've been to CES and just walk out with, you know, my jaw open. There's just so much innovation that's happening here. And there's so many great ideas.

Matt Anderson  17:46 

But isn't that an interesting thing? There are so many great ideas, and so few of those great ideas really hit the shelves on Main Street, or the shelves on the internet, right? And so I think what separates companies is actually the ecosystem that they bring that says listen, not only do I have a great idea, but I've got prototypes developed, or I have production in place, and I am going to be commercially able to sell these in a reasonable horizon that is believable. And so I think it's when you see the great idea, but you've got, you know, a team that's focused on scale as well.

Matt Anderson  18:23 

That's what I think makes someone stand out at CES because I can't tell you the number of people where I said that is fantastic. You know, how do you plan to really ramp this up and get it on the shelves in one of the big box retailers or on one of the internet retailers? And again, they kind of say, well, we don't really know that yet, right? Or we can only make 1000 of these every 40 weeks? Well, that that isn't really going to work, right?

Matt Anderson  18:54 

So I think it's, for me, standing out is: I've got a plan to scale, I've got a plan to grow. And obviously, always, at CES, you need to be about engaging experiences. I mean, you know, technology is something you can feel, it's something you can touch, something you can experience. So, if you want to stand out, you need to think about, how do I help others feel, touch, and experience the product, the experience, the service that I'm delivering? Because that's what really endears people to your brand, to your idea. It isn't about a video of it. It's about people really kinesthetically experiencing your product and your company. And I think that's what winning companies do at CES.

Tyler Suiters  19:36 

Alright startups, Arrow Electronics has your answers at CES and obviously has an immense amount of passion for the startup world as well. Matt Anderson, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer with Arrow Electronics. Thanks again, that will see you in Las Vegas.

Matt Anderson  19:54 

See you in Vegas.

Tyler Suiters  19:58 

Alright, so Matt was talking earlier about Arrows partnership with Indiegogo. And this is a means of giving entrepreneurs a platform to launch new and groundbreaking products, and what better place to do so then at CES. So Joining me now is John Vaskis. He is vice president of hardware outreach at Indiegogo and a proud CES veteran. John, great to have you with us.

John Vaskis 20:23 

Oh, pleasure to speak with you, Tyler.

Tyler Suiters  20:24 

So I know you know the startup and entrepreneurial sectors especially well. What's catching your attention right now. In many ways, I think there's never been a better time to try a startup.

John Vaskis 20:36 

I hundred percent agree there. There's a lot of innovation happening in this space. We see it every day on our platform, whole bunch of different entrepreneurs are coming to us with their different ideas, things that have been really happening right now is really a lot of personal health categories that we've seen perform well, with indoor exercise becoming a much bigger portion of people's lives with peloton and some other products that are out there. We personally just had hydro as one of our bigger campaigns that launched, where that is just a simple rowing machine that in someone's house that has an interactive screen attached to it. And it's performing super well. And those things that we are seeing do very well in the platform.

John Vaskis 21:18 

Also our customers are looking for things that are giving them more data about their everyday life on the health side. So the campaign that just happened called lumen. That was a simple device that you breathe into every morning. And it tells you about your calorie intake, things that you should be doing to help lose weight or to improve your overall physique. So another thing that we're seeing that are doing super well, adding to that is, a lot of e-vehicles that are out there are doing very well as well. So when we're looking at different e-bikes and things like that on the platform, with the city becoming much smarter, and people trying to get around in a much more efficient way, we've seen products really resonate with our audience. And a lot of entrepreneurs are really seeing great feedback on that in terms of both funds and feedback from their contributors to their campaigns.

Tyler Suiters  21:27 

Well, part of the reason, John, I say it seems like there's never been a better time to enter the startup sector is because there's, again, seemingly from the outside looking in, and I welcome your perspective, it's never been easier, or at least there've never been more methods or platforms or means of getting capital into startup businesses. And you all are critical to that.

John Vaskis 22:38 

Yes, that is something that we are helping to break down some of those barriers that used to be in place. Before platforms such as ours were around, if you are an entrepreneur, you would have to try to get into a whole bunch of different big box retail platforms, which are great, but obviously, that is just kind of a gatekeeper that is in between the entrepreneur, and actually getting final sales. By being able to go direct to consumer is a great way to validate that market. Obviously it cuts down on the overall overhead that's going on there. It gives them feedback at a much earlier clip, which is great for the things that they're looking for.

John Vaskis 23:16 

And if they're looking to do some kind of VC raise or whatever else they need in terms of capital, they use campaigns on our platform to really show that validation. So then they could actually show that there are sales and demand instead of just trying to plead your case and trying to get that move forward, you actually have hard data, which has helped out significantly when it comes to VC capital, big box retail conversations, and everything in between where campaigners have a much more direct line to their end consumer and have a lot firmer data that they can then share to help out with everything else when it comes to creating physical products for the end consumer.

Tyler Suiters  23:55 

So maybe we've already answered this to some degree, John, but how is the sector evolving in your mind? Is it easier or harder to succeed today? And I don't think that's an easy question to answer at all. I'll toss it out there to start. And I would posit that it's in many ways, it is easier, as we said, because of the funding, because of the lightning fast speed of innovation that's out there. But by the same token, it's it's more difficult because there are more opportunities, and there is so much steep competition right now.

John Vaskis 24:28 

Yeah, well I'll see in a very similar light, where it has become a lot easier. Because obviously, there's now a lot of data based upon previous campaigns that have gone on there where there is much more of a formula that is in place where you need to build up an audience, need to have people there that are ready to come ourchase day one, you really need to start working on a lot of your manufacturing before that goes in there. And we help out our campaigners through some of our partnerships that we have, such as the one with Arrow Electronics, and Ingram Micro which helps out on the shipping side, where they could really engage with our partners prior to launch or they can start getting feedback on is their bomb going to be something that last long term, they have any feedback they're going to need? All that stuff that is super critical to making a product deliver as close to one time and know a lot more about it.

John Vaskis 25:15 

But obviously there is the other end of that where now consumers on our platform are much more knowledgeable as well, where they now look into the campaign pages a lot deeper, are seeing what the actual insights to the products are. And I've seen more pointed questions that are in there before they're willing to then contribute their hard earned money. So what we're seeing is entrepreneurs come to our platform that have a lot more knowledge that are in there, a lot further down the pipe, actually making their product that are in there and also coming up with better go to market strategy that obviously we're working with them on to help fine tune, so that when they actually do put their product out there for sale on our platform, they are enabling our end consumer with as much information as possible where they feel very concrete about making this purchase.

John Vaskis 26:05 

So all of that comes in there. So they're dealing with things on both ends of knowing more about how crowdfunding platforms work, knowing more about initial sales and manufacturing, but also obviously dealing with a little bit more of a crowded market because this is more of a standard go to market strategy using a crowdfunding platform, as well as having more knowledgeable end consumers that have now seen these products in different iterations that are now asking different questions, making sure that this is something that is the perfect product for them at the end of the day.

Tyler Suiters  26:33 

So we mentioned your company's partnership with Arrow and the synergy that you two are developing and how you're working with startups. I know CES 2019 is a key step in that relationship and the campaign you have underway. Walk us through where you are today, and the months ahead.

John Vaskis 26:55 

Sure, yeah. So CES is one of our biggest event of the year as the consumer hardware space is by far our biggest vertical at Indiegogo. Where we are now in CES planning is coming up with a whole bunch of different campaigners that are going to be part of, actually our and Arrow's presence at CES, which is great. People that have used both of our services that are going to be there showing their wares, speaking one on one with people that have bought the product or are interested in buying it in the future, where we're really interacting with them in a very early stage, that's in there.

John Vaskis 27:31 

Obviously everyone that is on the show floor of CES, my team, and our team is engaging with, so people that haven't actually made a product yet or people that are thinking about possibly running a campaign - we are providing them with feedback, helping them out with support, Arrow is obviously talking to them about, you know, the electronics that they could be using and things that their engineering team does, prior to development of the product. That's part of our partnership.

John Vaskis 27:57 

Last year, Arrow was actually giving away Arduino devices. I'm not sure what the plans are for that. But usually there is a giveaway, there are things that we're doing to help, you know, engage with people that are walking the show floor. And we're just showcasing some of the best startups that have come through our platform. What they are and having entrepreneurs obviously tell their story. And hoping that that leads other people that are attending the event to do just the same, to go out there and make the leap and, you know, create their own campaigns and their own awesome projects, and then hopefully long term sustainable companies.

Tyler Suiters  28:31 

Well, let's switch a little bit from Indiegogo at CES to John Vasquez at CES. This is your fifth CES coming up, you are qualified as a veteran. As I mentioned, this is the largest startup event on the planet. 1200 plus startups will be in Las Vegas at CES 2019. How do you personally navigate that sector? that audience? How do you make the connections that you feel like you need to make in such a short time?

John Vaskis 29:01 

It's a great question, because it is a very awesome event. Like for anyone who hasn't been there, I highly recommend going. The show floor is very active at all times and there's so much going on. Obviously, the main portion of my day is being around our booth area. But we're in Eureka Park, which is some of the most interesting stuff, in my opinion, at CES, where you're seeing startups from every inch of the earth coming there and showcasing things that you couldn't even imagine actually happening.

John Vaskis 29:30 

I'm a huge fan of things on the Smart Home space, and just seeing a whole bunch of different automated products there at the very beginning of their product lifecycle is something that I personally take a lot of joy in seeing, and being able to engage, you know, face to face, with the people that are actually making these products, hearing their story, hearing why they came up with this, hearing the differences between this and the competition, and their entire vision on what's going on in there. It's just a atmosphere that you're not really able to get at any other major events. And obviously, that's just one sector of it.

John Vaskis 30:01 

For, I believe, all five years of CES that I've attended, I've actually been a speaker as well, which then drives me to other sectors of CES. You know, North Hall and some of the other ones, where you're seeing a lot of the bigger companies that are out there showing off a lot of their different concepts that are super early stage, but are basically what the future is going to look like. So there's a nice blend between, you know, older, more established companies that are creating very new products and ideas, and some very early stage startups. And you kind of get to see how both of those are interacting and seeing a lot of  different engagements, business deals, everything you can imagine happening on the show floor. And obviously there's a whole bunch of random celebrity sightings that are down there. And you could just randomly bumped into- I remember I met Shaquille O'Neal two CES ago, and that was quite the experience meeting him and, you know, there's the random encounters that go on. Things like that only really happen at CES.

Tyler Suiters  30:55 

Yeah, you know, John, one year I almost literally bumped into Shaq. I'm glad I didn't would have been on the floor, I think, given...He is easy to spot, though. You can see him coming. Yeah.

John Vaskis 31:06 

When I was in, when I was in second grade, I actually dressed up as Shaq for Halloween. I remember I texted my mom right before, because I saw him walking because he's such a big, you know, giant figure. But she was like, oh you have to go say hi and tell him that you dressed up as Shaq when you were in second grade. So I wound up saying that to him and he just basically palmed my head. I have a photo of that, which is a wild experience.

Tyler Suiters  31:29 

[laughs]

John Vasquez  31:29 

Yeah, that was something. My mom was super happy about it. I was super blushing beyond belief. It was a funny day.

Tyler Suiters  31:36 

Yeah, on that topic of CES serendipity, right? Aside from spotting NBA Hall of Famers at CES, what is your advice to startups who are heading there for the first time, or entrepreneurs who are who are ready to go and really dive in - and maybe even lean in is the right term, but - who really want to get them most out of it, and aren't quite sure how to navigate such a tremendous platform for innovation.

John Vaskis 32:08 

Yeah, I wouldn't be too overwhelmed. Obviously, it's one of the biggest trade shows in the world. But you know, go there, really walk the floor, and then engage with everybody that you can. What you're going to realize at CES is that people are very forthcoming, and are very interested in telling their stories, and you can have some really fruitful conversation that could then become business deals, friendships that last forever, things like that. You kind of want to get a little bit out of your comfort zone. Because everyone there, everyone's super proud of the products that they have that they're showing. And you should have that level of engagement where Hey, this person is looking to tell me about it. Let me ask them questions that are in there and then potentially make this a long term engagement. Things like that, you should really just think about instead of just going there and soaking everything in with your eyes, like the people are real people, they are super interested in sharing, you know, their stories and their product stories as well.

Tyler Suiters  33:02 

Yeah. And everybody has at one time, been a first timer at CES, where we've all been a rookie at some point. What about the companies that are not so much working or trekking across the show areas looking for those connections? What about those startups who were in Eureka Park, close to where you are throughout the show? You know, if you're one of the 1200 startups who is located there, what do you do to get attention, to grab the right people to have the right kinds of conversations and do so efficiently?

John Vaskis 33:33 

The biggest thing is just smiling and being super positive. You're there for a reason. You have piece of the show floor, it's a very privileged area to be in. There's only a select amount of people that get to be in Eureka Park. You should just be out there being super energetic, bringing people by. I'm sure that your product or your company is doing something that's more innovative than anything I could even imagine, so you should have that kind of vibe.

John Vaskis 33:58 

Things you always want to be doing if you're there is having a call to action. That could be collecting business cards, having a fishbowl, an iPad, what have you, giveaways, things like that to really draw people in. And then think about what your overall pitch is to your everyday consumer. You're going to have consumers there, buyers there, advisors, all of that. And that's something you want to have down pretty tight. And obviously, you're going to fine tune it and really see what the engagement is. This is usually - companies, one of their first engagements that they have with the everyday public to really see what resonates, what lights their eyes up. And that could then propel you into a lot more information that is golden when you're actually ready. It's more like a giant case study than anything else you're able to do in real time, on the show floor in Vegas.

Tyler Suiters  34:41 

Yeah. And I want to underscore your point, John, about having that elevator pitch ready. Get it out, have it honed, and deliver it in 20 to 30 seconds if you can, right? Because you will be giving it many times and you will be sharing it with an audience who will hear pitches many times.

John Vaskis 34:58 

Oh, a thousand percent. And by the time you get to day 4, you'll have that very tight. At that point, I highly recommend getting some coffee or Red Bull to try to make sure that's a very energized pitch at the same time. Those are the things that you want to be on point with.

Tyler Suiters  35:11 

Yeah. John, final question for you, as someone who knows CES awfully well and knows how to maximize value there. What are you excited to see? What are you looking for at CES 2019? Is it a sector? Is it a suite of companies, maybe it's a horizontal. What's on your mind?

John Vasquez  35:29 

I always love seeing the international aisles that are in there, you know, the French aisle always is super big and Israel and all these different countries, they have innovation that typically I don't see. I'm based over here in New York, so a lot of the innovation that I see in person is obviously based in this coast or in San Francisco, and I'm over there for travel. The international folks that we work with a lot is doing a lot of amazing innovation, I don't get the same face to face time just because of that. But they come in droves and they have some of the most interesting stuff that I really love engaging with, and seeing how they're going. So those are the areas that I love to just circle and just see what's happening there because they're not in my everyday purview. It's just stuff that I'm not seeing in that area.

John Vaskis 36:10 

But when I do think about things that are more in the vertical area, yes, smart home, baby products, I have a two year old so I'm super interested in things like that that I could engage with her on, are things that I'm personally latching to. And things that are just- you've never seen before: world's first, world's smallest. All those things that really pop, CES is kind of almost like the Guinness Book of World Records now, like here are all these new products that are really breaking through in different ways you just haven't seen before.

Tyler Suiters  36:38 

I'm sure with a two year old daughter at home, you'll be exceptionally well rested by the time CES 2019 rolls around. You're on your way to Las Vegas. John Vasquez is vice president of hardware outreach with Indiegogo, a platform that entrepreneurs and startups around the world have come to know and use as well to great effect and efficiency. John, good to have you with us. And hey, we'll see you in the not too distant future in Las Vegas.

John Vaskis 37:08 

See you in Vegas, Tyler.

Tyler Suiters  37:10 

All right, everybody. that is a wrap for this episode. We want you to be CES Ready, so be sure and subscribe to the CES Tech Talk podcast. And for all the information you need on CES 2019. Once again, January 8th to 11th in Las Vegas, just go to CES dot tech, that is CES dot t, e, c, h. As always, major props and thank you to our producer Tina Anthony and our engineer John Lindsey. You all are to me the best in the business. I almost sung that line. Wow. That's how good they are. And thank you for joining us. We'll see you again in our next episode. I'm Tyler Suiters. Let's talk tech again soon.

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