The holidays are coming … big deal

Posted: By Kathleen Maher 11.16.20

The steady arrivals of new processor cores and new products built around them can only mean one thing…the holidays are coming! While all the little children wait for turkey, pumpkins, pie, treats, lights, parties, and on and on, the people in the tech industry have their own elves—Jensen, Lisa, Tim, Bob. Jon Peddie does his best, to sum up, what they’ve done for us lately.

Once again, the Coronavirus has messed up a perfectly good tradition, the annual parade of products with conferences, tradeshows, and the Pepcon journalist feeds. Sure, there are virtual versions of those events, but it’s just not the same. Journalism runs on bonhomie.

Actually, company conferences are a hell of a lot better. Where they used to be multi-day events, and the press/analyst corps were shuffled from room to room and buffet to buffet to cocktails, finally. Most company conferences now manage to present their news in an hour, two hours tops. A lot better than losing two days and having to travel. Productivity has actually gone up due to COVID. There’s even a paper from the OECD documenting the increase in productivity.

Apple’s M1 rollout is an excellent case in point. Apple used the event to show off its incredible new headquarters and CEO Tim Cook hosted a no-nonsense presentation of the new Apple M1 processor that seemed all the more groundbreaking for the straightforward delivery. What used to be a several hour event has been boiled down to less than 1 hour.  Thank you.

Just another lonely CEO in an empty cafeteria. Tim Cook hosts the rollout of Apple’s M1 and the beginning of the company’s end to end software/hardware development. 


Adobe’s Max annual event presented days of classes and a few celebrity talks, but the company got its news out of the way in an hour and a half. The company was able to do much the same with its Summit online event, which was probably even more valuable for the company since people are a lot less clear on what Adobe’s Experience adds up to be. The company’s Digital Experience has evolved from digital marketing to an integrated CRM lineup of tools and products to challenge companies like Salesforce. Also, Adobe is developing a steady diet of online training and tutorials for its customers and allowing customers to stream their workflows to demonstrate their skills and processes. Adobe’s users are becoming the company’s products.

The Blackmagic Design presentation was still pretty long at 1.5 hours, but the company was better able to demonstrate its Resolve tools and the hardware companion products it has built for video editing, compositing, color grading, and audio. CEO Grant Petty has deep roots in the field of video editing, so when he gets his hands on all the toys, it’s not easy to get him to stop.

As companies present their financial reports this quarter, it’s obvious many CEOs welcome the savings in travel and entertainment and fewer of the conference extravaganzas in which CEOs take the stage after some kind of song and dance extravaganza lasers and twerking. There is a lot of money spent on PR events, and much of it is nonsense. You’d figure these things would be among the first casualties of the virus, except some of those tech lollapaloozas are money-makers. For that reason, they’ll be back.

As an alternative, Nvidia suggests a DIY approach. CEO Jensen Huang has taken to delivering keynotes from his kitchen, and the company has generously offered the use of the Huang family hearth as a Zoom backdrop. To pick up a few pointers, Jensen will present the Nvidia keynote at the Supercomputer conference at 3PM Pacific. Watch on the Nvidia site or Facebook.