Lenovo 2010 CES Wrapup: Leaving Las Vegas Victorious

I just finished watching the live steam of the CNET “Best of CES” Awards — or finished trying to watch the stream as the Venetian’s in-room WiFi staggered through the collective bandwidth load of a gazillion guests. As I refreshed I saw the tweets from the Lenovo Live@CES team light up with exclamation points: “We won! We won! We won!”

This pokes a hole in my cynical statement that I have never left Las Vegas a better man than the one I arrived.

CNET gave us their 2010 Best Computer of the Show award for our IdeaPad U1 hybrid — a two-in-one system that looks like a notebook, runs Windows 7 on an Intel processor, and converts when the screen detaches into a tablet/slate running our Skylight operating system on a Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor.  Lenovo arrived at CES loaded with new products — and the Snapdragon suite which consists of our Skylight Smartbook (my former project), the new Snapdragon smartphone, and the U1 were definitely the big attraction and draw at our showcase inside of the Aquaknox restaurant.

We introduced about 20 new products, including a significant new line of ThinkPads, the Edge series of small and medium businesses; some very strong and striking consumer all-in-one’s such as the A300 and the B510, and a cool new Atom netbook, the S10-3, with a touch tablet. As I worked my own way around the room over the past three days I kept discovering new stuff like our wireless remote keyboard controller, a very cool Internet television project still in the labs, and assorted notebooks and desktops that are going to keep our global marketing and sales teams very busy with over the coming months.

While it is about marketshare and sales in the end, CES is about buzz and awards. We’re leaving Las Vegas with a some significant ones:

We tried a new tactic this year in covering our news and commentary at CES by launching a CES blog — Lenovo Live@CES — and funneled all of the media, commentary and discussion swirling around the show into one dynamic destination.  This site — built by our lead social media technologist, Esteban Panzeri on WordPress, in a template designed by Rebecca Welles; was edited by our director of social media, Nano Serwich, edited and coordinated by our director of digital content,  Maureen Ahmad, with rich media, video and stream media captured and edited by Kevin Walker. George Farthing and Gavin O’Hara were our roving reporters, gathering a torrent of material that ordinarily would not have been presented to our customers, colleagues, partners and fans. It was built in a very short amount of time prior to the holidays and tweaked as we went along since launching last weekend. I am VERY happy with the result.

I’ll post in the future about using tools like Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, UStream, and WordPress to create astonishingly agile and high impact media experiences. I am very very proud of the team (affectionately known as “My Minions”) who pulled this together and made it the centerpiece of our message and buzz coming out of this vast and chaotic show.

For the second year in a row we used our showcase space in the Aquaknox to host the industry’s best tech bloggers, partnering with Chris Heuer and Kristie Welles from the Social Media Club, Jeff Pulver from 140conf.com and Ryan Block and Peter Rojas at GDGT.com to co-host the affair. Last year was more mellow — less crowded and more conversational — this year was seriously packed and manic but nevertheless rewarding. Lenovo Blogger Advisory Council moderator Mitch Ratcliffe streamed from the blogger nights on UStream, featuring a slate of guests and product demos.

The evening were very surreal — I had a chat with Bill Walton about a 1992 Grateful Dead show we watched together from backstage on the Jerry Garcia side with lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation founder John Perry Barlow; and reminiscenced about the 1986 NBA championships when he exuberantly became the best six-man in history.  Five minutes later I was meeting for the first time two of the Lenovo Blogger Advisory Council members, Juan Francisco Diez and Mariano Amartino. I met B. Bonin Bough, the global director of digital and social media at Pepsi and we had an interesting chat about pay-per-post and the FTC.

I’ll post more later. Getting frustrated with the connectivity so I’ll amend when I get to Boston tomorrow.

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