Underdressed at CES 2013

Being the small 6-person startup company that we are, we had many worries before CES 2013, where technology companies go to show off their latest & greatest. It's like a popularity contest and, as a small company with even smaller budget for trade-show booths, we were severely under-dressed. Thoughts that crossed our minds:

  • What if our booth is too small? (It was 10x10 feet, the smallest you can get)
  • What if our booth's location wasn't good? (We were surrounded by a lot of knock-off products from an Asian country)
  • What if nobody came because our booth was not fully decked out with expensive attention-grabbing decorations? (We had 1 banner, 2 chairs, 1 table) 

We didn't even have free pens, keychains, etc. with our logo on it to give out. Our booth at CES would have won the most "underdressed" booth award, if there was one.

We crossed our fingers and hoped that we could compensate for the lack of an over-the-top booth with the one product we've spent many nights sweating over: the Double.

The result?

Technically, no over-the-counter sales is allowed at CES, so Robin is pre-ordering it online (but he wanted the photo for his CFO with his credit card in it)

"Shut up and take my money!"

This is how a CEO (Robin Winsor, of Cybera, Inc. on the left) tells his CFO back at the office that he is definitely getting a Double. Thanks Robin!

We're excited to be interviewed on TechCrunch's live stream coverage of CES (click to play YouTube video above). Thanks to Matt, Jordan, John and Greg from the TechCrunch team!

Leo Laporte pre-orders it, live on his show!

Oh we should get one. I gotta get one. Yeah. I gotta get one. Because then I can be here even when I'm not.
Ordering now.
"How will you use it?" ON TV.
I WANT THIS! I'M GETTING IT. Welcome to the future!
We had several people pester me at our booth to sell them the demo units right there and then. I said I absolutely need my robots until the very last day of the show, and they actually came back to offer even more money. We're thankful and flattered. (No, I didn't sell - the only right price is the one on our web site - in case you were wondering)

Our bare-bones (and cost-efficient booth). We figured the prettiest thing in the booth (aside from @redRomina on the banner) should be the Double. Everything else was secondary. Actually, if you look closely, you'll realize that our booth is really the lack of a booth (the perimeter is defined by the walls from the neighbor's booth).

David and I were at the booth for the first 2 days, then he had to cut his trip short and return to our office to help with our production process. So, it was a 1-man booth for the last 2.5 days (hard to get any scrappier than that). We had so many visitors with immense interest that it was genuinely difficult to find a 10-minute lull; for most of that week, I had my lunch at 8pm.

On a personal note, it was flattering to have people actually line up to talk to me (all without having to coerce anybody, imagine that!) The Double actually made me popular. If I could only turn back time to re-live the college years, but I digress.

We got a lot of press too. At one point, I had to write "Yes, you MAY take photos and videos--please share on Facebook and Twitter!" on a note stuck on our banner because people kept asking for permission. Like I said, we had a "sub-optimal" booth location near lots of Asian knock-off products--they don't like it when people take photos of their product. We'd very much love that!

We met many people who could help us with our journey: world-wide resellers, distribution, shipping, etc. Among some of the visitors to our booth were a few who had already pre-ordered from us; they were very excited to see the Double in person.

As a startup, we focused on the right thing.

To sum up, visitors gravitated to our booth despite the lack of booth babes and freebies because of the Double's design and simplicity. The $1,999 pre-order price helped too. There is hope yet for ok-looking men at prom (sorry David, at least we're not ugly).

Now that we have 900+ pre-orders from 45 different countries, it is actually difficult for me to keep up with requests that begin with "Let me know when you can do <insert something you want here> for us". While I have my personal mobile phone number on our main web site (California time, please) and you know my email (jay@doublerobotics.com), please sign up for our mailing list if you'd like to get updates from us.