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Who Will Survive After CES?

January 13, 2012 | Hogan Keyser
CES_show.jpgThe Consumer Electronics Show is great for getting buzz, but it's no guarantee for success for start-ups. Here's what it takes to survive after Las Vegas.

January 11, 2012 by Lindsay Blakely via
-- Tech companies come in droves to the Consumer Electronics Show. They announce, they demo, they dazzle the crowds. And then every year, a number of them pack up and head home only for their products to fall into obscurity or fail outright.

More than 50 percent of new technology products that enter the market fail, according to the Association of International Product Marketing and Management. Remember HP's Touchpad? Microsoft's Zune? HP's foray into the TV business? The moral of the story is: Even the big guys stumble.

I don't know what the figure would be for products that debut at CES, but it's safe to say that the world probably won't know or care about a fair number of the 2,700 exhibitors after the show ends Friday.

That's the nature of being in the technology game, says John Hamm, CEO of Accept Software, a company that helps tech companies such as Nokia improve their product planning cycles and bring new gadgets to market. Product development cycles last all of about six to nine months and within that time, companies must do everything from invent and engineer their products, to test, market, and distribute them.

It's no wonder even the big brands with sizeable R&D budgets launch flops at CES. Small companies have an even tougher time. "HP can come out with something and screw it up several times in a row before they finally get it right," Hamm says. Start-ups don't have that luxury. They must get their innovation right and meet customers' expectations as early as possible, he says.

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