MommyTech, CES and the great porn debate

by Susan Getgood on January 14, 2010 · 2 comments

in Conferences, Gender, Travel

Last week I was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to speak on a panel at Mommy Tech, a day long conference and exhibit area within CES focused on moms’ use of technology. If you are so inclined, you can read more about my trip on my travel blog.

CES is a trade show about consumer electronics, not a consumer show. The principal audience is the buyers at stores (online and off) that sell consumer electronics. Plus all the assorted hangers-on, including industry analysts and the media (mainstream and social). Exhibitors come to CES introduce their new wares to the buyers; most of the big new products announced last week won’t be available until Spring at the earliest, and some are probably vaporware. In other words, the products at last week’s show are the coming year’s Hanukkah and Christmas presents.

Mommy Tech and other sub-conferences focused on kids, seniors and higher education were created to give the buyers visibility into demographic segments within the consumer population. CES is a ginormous show, and smaller niche products with real potential are easily lost in the whiz-bang announcements. For example, last week, the big buzz on the floor was 3D TV, tablets and e-books, with a small side dish of the in-dash GPS offerings from the car companies (and that was just a preview to this week’s Auto Show anyway.) Off the floor, there were the usual “sooper sekrit” demonstrations of even newer technologies like Microsoft’s Project Natal that lets users control electronics with hand gestures.

It’s a real circus, with no ringmaster. Easy to imagine how more mundane products — the things we might actually buy this year or you know, even today — might get lost in the shuffle. The format of MommyTech conference was designed to educate the buyers about the mom consumer and showcase products and technologies that would appeal to her. Never confuse CES with an educational conference — it is ALL about selling.

In my digital parenting post on BlogHer this month, I wrote about MommyTech through the lens of how moms are perceived as technology buyers.

Here, I want to tell you about one of the last sessions of the day, a “debate” between porn star Ron Jeremy and anti-porn crusader Craig Gross about (I think) whether porn should exist.

More entertainment than substantive commentary, it ultimately felt more like an advertisement for the Internet safety company whose CEO moderated the session. Each mentioned that kids could be protected by Internet safety products like (name of product) and others once or twice in the approximately 10 minute debate. However, it was the only SRO session of the day and hopefully put the idea of Mom as a consumer electronics buyer more firmly in the minds of many who might never have given it a thought.

Now, I did not know who Ron Jeremy was before this session (I lead a sheltered life, what can I say) and for the life of me could NOT understand how anyone could find him appealing. During the “debate,” I glanced around the mostly male audience, most of whom came just for this session, and the penny dropped.

Duh. The audience of his films isn’t watching HIM. They are watching his female partners. It doesn’t matter what he looks like.

Apparently, though, his appeal is more than that. According to some of the women at the conference with whom I spoke afterwards, Mr. Jeremy is well-known to be well endowed.

I’m still a bit puzzled though. Serious question: what’s the benefit of super-size when watching?

Seems to me it’s not the size of the ship that matters. It’s the motion of the ocean.

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