Wall Street Unplugged
Episode: 991January 10, 2023

Why CES 2023 sucked

I’m back from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Long-time listeners know I look forward to attending this event every year… playing with the latest gadgets… and talking to thousands of companies about what’s shaping the tech landscape.

But this year’s show was a major letdown.

I share the handful of issues that left me disappointed with this year’s event… along with a few highlights worth mentioning…

For one, 3D printing is making progress going mainstream. I tried out a great new app that let me scan my face to make my own 3D-printed action figure.

And for the first time in CES history, the metaverse had a major presence. I explain how the metaverse industry will evolve in a similar way to what we’ve seen in streaming services… and who I think will become “the Netflix of the metaverse.”

I also share one of the coolest experiences of the weekend: A virtual reality afterparty… in Jurassic Park.

Inside this episode:
  • Why CES sucked this year [2:25]
  • Which big tech names were missing [11:20]
  • Electric vehicles (EVs) were a big disappointment [19:15]
  • How metaverses will be like streaming services [23:45]
  • 3D printing is finally going mainstream [24:55]
  • A virtual reality afterparty in Jurassic Park [27:55]

Wall Street Unplugged | 991

Why CES 2023 sucked

Announcer: Wall Street Unplugged looks beyond the regular headlines heard on mainstream financial media to bring you unscripted interviews and breaking commentary direct from Wall Street right to you on Main Street.

Frank Curzio: How’s it going out there? It’s January 10th. I’m Frank Curzio, host of Wall Street Unplugged podcast, where I break the headlines and tell you what’s really moving these markets. So, finally back from the CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, a little under the weather. It seemed like every single circle I was in, someone was coughing their heads off and sick and nobody really cared, which is cool, especially compared to the past few years. 2021, they canceled the in-person part of CES and only had it online, which was terrible. And last year, only 2,000 companies showed, but we had tons of cancellations. Pretty much a week, two weeks into the show after these companies said they were going to be there because Omicron started to surface, started to spread like crazy, and you only had about 60,000 people show up. And this was last year, compared to on average it’s over 170,000 pre-COVID.

Frank Curzio: This year, they had over a hundred thousand, over 3,200 companies, more than double from last year. Still down from the 4,000 plus in 2019, 2020. Those events, you had over 4,000 people from the media. There were so many media companies, so many. I remember I used to cover this event, there was a few, but 4,000 people from the media. But there was definitely a buzz because when you have the media access, you get early access, which comes from Thursday to Sunday, but Tuesday, Wednesday have media events where only you could attend, so you get the scoop before everybody else. A lot of buzz that day. Also, a lot of buzz the first day it opened, which is Thursday, in terms of people and traffic. And during the event, you’re seen all these articles come out. The best things I saw at CES, why it’s so great, it’s fully open now and how much fun they had and everything, how just awesome it was compared to the past two years.

Frank Curzio: Now, I’ve been attending this event for 12 years now and I know you listen to this podcast because I’m a no-bullshit type of guy. This is a benefit of being independent, not having to support my network’s agenda or political affiliations or anything like that. And I tell it how it is. But you’re not going to read this any place, what I’m going to tell you right now. Because to be perfectly honest, CES 2023, it sucked this year. They really, really dropped the ball. The definition CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show. It’s where consumers have fun trying out the latest tech gadgets that are going to be launched for the entire year. And this is an entertaining conference. If everybody there reporting on it, sharing videos through social media, they promote that. I go to healthcare conferences, I go to mining conference. Okay.

Frank Curzio: Sometimes they don’t like that. A lot of times they don’t like that. Could I have an interview? No way. You’re not taping this, are you? They just have their little booth, or they’ll go up there and do a presentation and read off the slideshow. That’s it. No, no, no. That’s not the Consumer Electronics Show. You get to sample everything. You get to have fun. They want the media there. They close down booths for me so I can go over all their products. Bring my video guy with me just having fun, three of us down there this year, try to cover as much as I can.

Frank Curzio: But it was not fun this year. And many reasons why. And you could start right from the beginning where they had a theme. The theme of the Consumer Electronics Show is human security for all. That was the theme. What is fun about that? It’s like going to the Daytona 500 and hear the roaring of the engines just before the race and when it starts, the drivers are not allowed to go past 75 miles per hour. That’s what it’s like. You got all this buzzed excitement, and then you’re like, “Whoa, where is it?” But human security for all, that’s your theme? Has human security and fun ever been in the same sentence together, ever? That was the first thing right off the bat.

Frank Curzio: And then, it’s the green technologies. And I said this in 2022, last year’s event. And you look at these green technologies and how you take whatever filthy, dirty water, purify it, reverse osmosis, heat it, cool it, and shake it all around and put in this big machine that needs to be built in a factory that costs a hundred million dollars to make and gen… These things aren’t going to generate profits for what? 2045. But they’re allowed to operate this way because they’re using taxpayer dollars. All this stuff. They’re explaining all this stuff. It’s going to turn filthy dirty crap water into water that doesn’t taste good, but you’re going to be able to drink it. So, we need this. Or, we need to understand how we use paper straws, which is great for the environment, but absolutely sucks for everyone and anyone who likes to use straws.

Frank Curzio: And I’m not killing the environment here. I’m not saying that. I’m not, whatever. The climate change people are just… I’m not totally overboard and crazy. You got craziness on both sides. “You have nothing to worry about at all. And this is all fake and bullshit.” And you got the other people, “You got to put all your money into it. The world’s going to end, and we’re going to be underwater in a couple years.” There’s a big middle between that. I know it’s for the environment, but this is not fun. It’s not fun learning about the process of making a really cool product we all use and changing into something that’s shit now.

Frank Curzio: At least the experience is. Our water bottles don’t even stand up anymore. Our washing machines don’t last past four years because all those green saving crazy components they use. My first washing machine when I was a kid, I think we had for over 20 years. It shook the whole house when it was on and you probably get your finger chopped off during the spin cycles, it’s 80 miles per hour. But it cleaned everything. I can’t tell you how many washing machines I’ve been through. In the past 10 years, three of them. I’m not kidding you, three of them. But presenting your green initiatives at the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s like going to the circus and taking your kids there, and they make an announcement that instead of having the trapeze, the clowns, the lions, we’re going to watch a video on how to keep the animals safe. Imagine that. No, that’s not what you go to circus for. It’s not what you go for the CES for.

Frank Curzio: It’s supposed to be fun. Green technology is not fun. That’s why every booth that had these green technology being sprayed were empty. Nobody cared. Then, they have a CEO come in, they have all these seats, and they were empty. Nobody was even listening to them. The places display these technologies, the Goldman Sachs Global and Clean Energy Conference, which was going on the same week, that’s where you go. That’s the audience for that. And that’s cool. But not the CES, not the Consumer Electronics Show. That’s not what you go there for. Somebody’s going to spend millions, millions on these booths to get the people there. And I can’t tell you, it’s unbelievable how they have these massive setups, the lights, everything. It has to be more than a million dollars. And we went to a conference, a metaverse conference, it cost the same place for TCG who had it at the convention center.

Frank Curzio: And I told him, I said, “Why have it at a convention center? Have it at a hotel?” They didn’t know better. They were coming from overseas. It was $5,000 for a carpet, another $3,000 to get Internet. You got to look at these things, million dollar setups, you want people there. That’s what it’s for. Taking pictures, having fun, going over everything, seeing your pictures. It’s free publicity. It’s the greatest marketing conference in the world. And then, when I look at celebrities and pre-COVID 2020, everyone showed up the CES, you had Alicia Keys, Michael Phelps, WW Legends, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, LL Cool J, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg, post CES parties performing. I did hear Snoop Dogg did perform at an Amazon after party this year and Amazon had this massive booth as well, which was basically all about Alexa and voice recognition technology, stuff you’ve been talking about for six, seven years.

Frank Curzio: And they were actually in the auto section again, massive booth. But again, not fun stuff, not even from Amazon. The after party is probably cool if you work at Amazon. But getting back to celebrities, there was hardly any. Some old school football pros, Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, and Randall Cunningham. Randall Cunningham’s on my top three lists of reasons why I’m Eagles fan. If you follow me at Twitter, I posted a picture there. He’s top three, Randall, you have Danny Manning, which I got a picture with my daughter, which is great. And that was we went to the Kansas Championship last year, NCA championship when they won. And Michael Jordan, those are my top three.

Frank Curzio: So, I was a little starstruck. And my wife just bought me an authentic jersey, Randall Cunningham, because I’m never going to buy a jersey for a current player since they leave teams all the time in any sport. So, I told him I tried to one day it there, and I couldn’t get it there. And I told him about it. He gave me an address to send it to, and he’s going to sign it to me. That’s how cool he was, Randall Cunningham, what a great guy. Awesome. That was a good experience.

Frank Curzio: But getting back to celebrities, they had Martha Stewart there for five minutes and ran away. This hologram thing, which was actually a pretty cool booth. Mario Andretti, who I managed to get an autograph only because I went down the wrong aisle, and he was there signing stuff. No display or anything. I was like, “Whoa, that’s Mario Andretti.” He was really cool. And I just got there. There was no line or anything for him. But other than that, there weren’t really celebrities anywhere. And when they were, they were buried in just small areas where you had to get lucky to find them. And last year, Sony, which Sony, Samsung, LG always have the biggest boots, and they always have this massive presentation that they do, and it’s the media presentation, the launch event, and it’s huge. They take out these huge theaters and everything. So, I went to Sony and that was the day before the conference opened. Last year, Tom Holland came out, had great seats, came out, Spider-Man. It was awesome. People going crazy. That was last year’s media event. This year, they didn’t have any celebrities. They didn’t have any celebrities.

Frank Curzio: Look at Intel, every year when you walk into the South Hall, they have this massive display, massive. They didn’t show up this year. Intel wasn’t there. Isn’t that weird? This is the first year that I think Intel wasn’t there. Pre-COVID, they were one of the largest boots all the time. They weren’t there this year. Can’t blame them. You got NVIDIA and AMD eating their lunch, but still they had a pretty good release. Their new generation chip as all these companies released their new versions of the chips. But even better, when you’re looking at the CES as a whole, the South Hall was closed. So, you have the North Hall, you have the South Hall, and now they opened the West Hall. That’s all at the convention center. And CES takes place in a lot of different hotels.

Frank Curzio: Venetian, which is a disaster. The Venetian’s a disaster getting there and getting back. The tram doesn’t go there. Getting car service is terrible. You got to walk through the entire Venetian hotel to get there because sometimes, it’s blocked off in the back area where the expo is. It’s just a horrible venue. And this year was worse than ever. But when you go to convention center, they have these three halls, and they just opened up the west, which hosts a lot of the auto companies. But when you come off the tram, you almost go right to the south. You’re walking across the street, and the South Hall is right there. They closed the South Hall, and this is where all the biggest booths were, all of them. It was the best, massive companies at Qualcomm, streaming companies, Alibaba, JD, Tencent, Baidu.

Frank Curzio: And a lot of these companies didn’t show up. I guess you could expect that from the China companies and technology companies. It was expected because it’s given the recent travel restrictions Biden just placed on China, residents coming to the US due to COVID which I thought was a xenophobic thing to do. That was xenophobic, terrible that he did that. That’s exactly what Trump said when Trump imposed those restrictions on China, which was early February 2021, one month before everything got really crazy in the US. Remember, they ripped him apart for that? But you’re allowed to do it now. It’s okay, no problem. And it was a smart move. It’s spreading like crazy in China. I’m just poking fun at it, the way politics work. Call someone a racist, and then you turn around and do the same thing. Don’t worry. I know if you’re a Democrat, you’re like, “Oh, F- you Frank,” Both sides are the same shit. Just poking fun at it, having fun, stirring you guys up a little.

Frank Curzio: But then, going into the West Hall was interesting because you have to take the hyperloop there, which goes in the car in a little tunnel, which is cool, but it’s a pain in the ass if you have media equipment and you’ve got to go up and down the escalator, they got thrown in the car, and it’s a mile and a half whatever to the West Hall, if they take it through this big tunnel. It’s cool if you haven’t done it. But that’s where they had the media room.

Frank Curzio: You had this massive, the North Hall and South are huge. The South is closed. I can’t believe the South is closed. I couldn’t believe it. That part of the conference was closed. There’s just so many people cut back. They have sports company’s like Nike, Under Armour, all displaying their latest sports tech stuff that you’re wearing that tracks you and wearables and all this stuff. Fitness companies everywhere where you get to sample all new treadmills, row machines, get to climb these obstacle courses where they set up. I remember playing ping pong against a robot the past two years. This year, nothing, none of that. Nike, Under Armour, not there.

Frank Curzio: I like shooting basketballs. They have courts set up in the middle of the conference. That’s how big it is. It’s huge. We had these basketballs tracking your technology and keeping score, hundreds of people watching. You’re shooting threes and having contests and stuff. Baseball cages again tracking your stats and hockey. But none of that was there this year. None of it. You had eSport companies having live events, music blasting, and gaming in general. That’s a big part of it, gaming. We used to have these little treadmills you’re walking on with the VR glasses, and they had those everywhere, and they had a lot of glass displays, which I was disappointed in.

Frank Curzio: I think in the future, if you’re going to have just glasses and not the big headsets for VR, AR, whatever, they have to look exactly like your glasses. That’s where we’re going. That is going to replace the smartphone. It will. And I think it’s going to happen sooner than later. I think it’s going to happen within five years. People say in 10 years. It’s going to happen sooner. Sooner than 10 years. But nothing was even close to that. Some of the stuff that we sampled, they didn’t work. These glasses, you put them on, and they didn’t work.

Frank Curzio: And so, one of my partners came in, and he tried three different times with one company, and all three of them didn’t work. How are you getting a booth for that much money at the CES and your product doesn’t work? But there was a very little presence when it came to gaming. There was some, but they used to have these massive events where you hear music and bass, and everyone’s wearing these VR sets and these screens being displayed where people playing against each other. A lot of fun.

Frank Curzio: I remember the NBA used to be there, so the NBA on TNT, Barkley, Shaq, Kevin Smith. And you had all these hosts on there. It was awesome. They came around, signed autographs, but they were doing their live broadcast. That’s Kenny Smith, sorry, live broadcast. Kenny Smith. My brother played against him in basketball at Malloy. At TNT, where they had a double header and they would broadcast live from there, and they’re talking… It was really cool. They had that at the CES. They didn’t have it. No way. Never again. It would probably be a good idea to showcase a lot of this stuff in front of 4,000 media representatives and over a hundred thousand consumers who attended.

Frank Curzio: I remember pre-COVID, 2020 I believe it was, I jumped in a large pool of water that was set up in the middle of the conference. It’s a massive pool. And I was sampling this Sea-Doo product, which is underwater engine that goes four miles per hour. Four miles per hour is very, very fast underwater, believe it or not. I had to wear a wet suit when I did it. I looked like an oversized fat penguin with hundreds of people watching me. But it was awesome. I jumped right in. It was entertaining. I loved it so much I bought the product, which was $900. We still use it. My kids still use it around the pool. It’s great. You take it the ocean, it just takes you right down. Hold on to it. You could hook up your cameras to it, take pictures, it has lights. It’s unbelievable. Not this year.

Frank Curzio: So every year, when you go to CES, there was cool hardware to try out, but this year was more about software and AI. And although it’s pretty cool, I guess, that you can cook a turkey to perfection in an AI generated oven, which Samsung has. But I don’t know if that’s fun. I can’t sample that. I can’t try that. When I’m looking at chefs, I’m pretty sure most chefs actually like cooking things. But there’s going to be no need to do that anymore, since every meal in an oven’s going to come out perfectly cooked. It’s great for the majority of people, but again, it’s not something that you can really test out.

Frank Curzio: Of course, you had the newer versions of laptops and PCs that displayed more power than ever. That’s what a lot of chip companies and stuff like that. But again, consumers can’t really try that stuff. At CES, you’ve seen the videos and we have videos, but I felt like we taped a lot fewer videos than ever and just the atmosphere was different. There was no DJs playing on the floors, loud music, robots walking around.

Frank Curzio: I’ve always had this big robot you could talk to. You would think someone’s in there because it would just talk to you immediately. You could have a conversation with it. It was awesome. You had all these drone displays. I think I saw one small one. There’s buzz out there… All the EVs in the cars. I think this was the biggest disappointment. That’s what I was really looking forward to. And I brought you that, where we see pictures of the concept cars. EVs are the future; yet, where the hell was Ford and GM? I thought they had the best premier lineup for 2023. That’s what they said. They didn’t have booths. Toyota came out to display their new interior space creator, just featured in an ugly ride hailing three row autonomous bus, which was an eyes sore. But show your concept car. Show what it could be.

Frank Curzio: And there used to be at least 50 of these. I saw six or seven that were cool. And people say, “Oh the BMW. This car changes colors.” It was the same thing as last year. I showed it to you. It was the same thing. It had a couple more colors on it. Deere had that monstrous tractor there. I loved their technology and that was really cool. Increasing crop yields, that was actually pretty cool. But this monster tractor, Brunswick had their huge EV boat. It was one of those massive mining trucks where the tires are six feet high. I don’t if you guys saw them, but all that has been displayed the past two years that were in person. I’ve seen them before. They’ve been there already. If you haven’t been there, they’re amazing. But if someone goes every year, I was like, “Man, that you didn’t really do anything.” You had Sony, which revealed its own EV, which will produce alongside Hyundai, which is a pretty good, cool looking car, but it won’t be available for another three years.

Frank Curzio: So, if you really look in EV terms, you always times it by three. So, that’s probably nine years away. And I’m not kidding. It’s like when a miner tells the public how much it’s going to cost a produce a mine, usually times that number by three and then add another five years. That’s the math. And you’re perfect. That’s what you got to do. It’s only going to cost us $30 million to produce this mine, and we’re going to do it in three years. Okay. Times that number by three and add another five years to whatever they say, and you’ll be perfect. Your analysis will be spot on 100% of the time. Now, I’m not crapping on it saying it was a waste of time. It wasn’t a waste of time. It was great for a guy like me, where there were cool things. Mercedes had an awesome looking car.

Frank Curzio: Lucid had a great car, you had an EV Daytona charger, 800 vol that again, more concept. Maybe I saw seven cool cars, and usually, I see 50 I’m taking pictures of and it’s awesome, you get in these things. But not as many this year. Couple more cool things, there’s a robot that talks to you. You sit down, and it’s looking at your face. It’s one of those robots, it’s heads on an arm, and the face is on arm, where it looks real. It’s scary, and the other has an arm on it, and they sketch your face and talk to you. You ask them questions. Some girl sat there, “Am I beautiful?” “Yeah, you’re beautiful and you look great.” Just answering questions using AI. It was cool, and then sketched her face in three minutes. That was really cool.

Frank Curzio: Laptops are always like, “Oh, more power, more of this, more of that.” But Lenovo yoga series, it’s called a 9I. I thought this was awesome. It folds so you have two screens. So, you have your keyboard, and it opens up, where you could have two screens next to each other, which I always use two screens, and I hate laptops because it only has one screen, because I’m always busy, and I’m so used to using two screens now when I’m working.

Frank Curzio: And also, you could put those on top of each other, one on top, one the bottom. I thought that was really cool. Sony released the product called MACP. It’s a consumer version that allows you to record patterns and movements for your avatar. So, you probably saw this technology, where you see actors in the movie, Avatar, they have to wear these suits, and they have dozens of white dots and crazy cameras and lighting you need, and they’ll show it, and then when you see it, they’re in water and stuff like that, and CGI screens. But this, you just strap on a sensor to your wrist, your ankles, your head and back. Simple though. You grab your smartphone, and you going to have your avatar move exactly like you. I thought that was cool, especially in the world where the technology’s getting better and better, people having their own avatars. You’re going to see the metaverse start really taking off.

Frank Curzio: Metaverse. Holy cow. I cannot believe how many companies were talking about this. And some of them use the word metaverse like NVIDIA and Omniverse and things like that, a metaverse platform. But I’m talking Sony. I interviewed Microsoft, which Curzio Research Advisory members will see, along with a lot of pictures and stuff like that. We’re keeping a lot of stuff behind the paywall this year. A lot of ideas and stuff. You had man, Microsoft, you had Amazon, you had Samsung, NVIDIA, AMD, all these companies were talking the same thing, especially Sony in its presentation and its launch, 70%. The CEO of Sony was talking about merging the physical world with the virtual world, being in person at these events. That’s the metaverse. Whether it’s sporting events, whether it’s concerts, live events, all of these guys are talking about that. That’s the next generation of the Internet.

Frank Curzio: 3D printing, I’ve covered this before, and the problem with 3D printing is, it’s really cool. You can print all goods. You can print anything you want now, but there was lots of problems. You couldn’t scale it, you couldn’t get to a consumer. That’s different now. Hasbro just signed a deal with Form Labs, a 3D printing company, and they signed that, I think, about four or five months ago. And up to two months ago, they only had two action figures. Now they have a bunch of them, and Hasbro has a deal with Marvel. So, you have the Marvel characters. And you have an app that maps your face, then you pick the hair color, facial hair, other features, whatever you want to make it look like you. And it prints your face on an action figure. So, there’s 11 available now. There’s probably going to be hundreds available soon that included Iron Man, Black Widow. I chose Spider-Man.

Frank Curzio: But it’s $79.99. Got it for free because we got the media pass. It took me probably four minutes, three minutes to map your face, go back and forth, and then pick everything. They send it off, and then in 30 to 45 days, I’m going to get a Spider-Man with my face on it. I think that is awesome for kids. That’s how you scale 3D printing. This is amazing. And then, they address the problems that they had, where materials are a pain in the ass. Now, they just have a box of resin. They have autonomous 3D printers set up. So, Hasbro would do would buy 20 of these things, and then they all work together. You program them, and you don’t have to print one, stop, put the materials in. They’ll print 50 each and based on maybe the color of the skin, light skin or if it’s dark skin or whatever, it’ll go to a different machine.

Frank Curzio: But now, you could leave. You come back and each one of these machines will have 40, 50 printed. You take out, they used resin and you could throw in the garbage, but they addressed all the problems to scale this. And Form Labs is a great 3D printing company. It had $2 billion valuation last capital raise. That was I think early 2022. So, maybe it’s a little bit lower, but man, that is cool.

Frank Curzio: I could see kids doing that. Imagine have your face on a superhero. How could you scale? How do you get 3D printing and these products into the hands of everybody? That’s one way because now, you’re going to see probably Mattel do that and other companies do that. But finally, you figured out a way where it’s easy for a company to print these things. That’s not that difficult to learn. And curve is easy. You could print a ton of these things so you’re scaling, and you have a fun feature that makes sense. That’s the first time in 12 years, I thought it would be bigger, 2019, 2020. It was getting more traction compared to 2012, 13, 14 where you saw 20 companies there. Then it really shrunk.

Frank Curzio: But you had three or four companies there, and it was exciting. They had a lot of people at the booths and people trying the technology out. It was cool. So, there’s ideas there that made sense. Just again, incredible meetings, found lots of ideas. But one of those amazing meetings included being invited to the HTC Vibe launch party. And that was by the airport that was outside of the Consumer Electronics Show. And the vibe has been dubbed the Oculus Killer. And I sampled it. It was absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t say it’s an Oculus Killer, but it’s definitely a huge competitor. But they had this at a movie studio called Vu, V-U. I never heard of it before. I didn’t realize how massive this company was. We went to their set, and the set was, I’m probably doing a shitty job explaining again, Curzio Research Advisory members, you’re going to be seeing pictures of videos of this, which is awesome. It’s just completely massive.

Frank Curzio: But they had a Jurassic Park set up there, and a guy in one of those Jurassic Park jeeps, and they showed in his picture. And then in the background, they have all trees and fog like he’s in the forest, and it was showing how they can move one tree to the other. So, you don’t need those real life studios anymore and how much trouble that would be. But the 3D technologies, and they were showing how the virtual is changing the face of the movie business and the movie industry. Because they were like how do we bring the studio to the person, especially during COVID? And all you have to do is go there and you could film almost a whole movie. So now, they were showing how they could lower the fog, increase the fog, move these trees, how to 3D based on where the sun is, it’s going to automatically pick up different shadows, and how they could add anything they want, anything they want to do.

Frank Curzio: It’s just whatever the creator wants. But no need for green screens. I highlighted this and the sound in that studio was unbelievable. It was massive. It probably holds a thousand people on the floor, and there was 350 people I think who were there. And we’re talking about high-end influencers, guys from Unity, guys from Unreal. Those are the two technologies when it comes to the metaverse. Unreal has much better graphics, but Unity is much easier. It’s more compatible, it’s open source, but they all had members of their teams there. So, just talking and mingling with those people was incredible. And the value of that just going to that meeting alone. But that’s what it was. Usually, I’m not attending a lot of meetings, a lot of events, but that’s what it was mostly and less of being able to try fun products and have fun and talk because again, maybe a lot of that had to do with the current environment, which is bad right now, and I get it for technology.

Frank Curzio: Again, one of the biggest themes, if not the biggest was just how many major tech companies Sony, Microsoft, had that interview at Qualcomm and Nvidia. Apple was just talking about how important it was and the new generation going forward. The future is combining the virtual world with the physical world, and that’s a definition of the metaverse. So, just bringing these experiences to anyone in the world. There’s a company there that announced Justin Bieber concert, virtual concert that’s also going to be broadcasted on TikTok. It’s going to be massive. So, instead of having 30, 40,000 people there, just like you saw with Travis Scott, you’re going to have 20 million people attend. They generate about three, four X of what Lady Gaga would generate at a concert, who’s one of the biggest stars or some of the biggest stars out there.

Frank Curzio: And now, all the biggest entertainers are looking at this going, “Holy shit, this is what we need to do.” Those are real live examples when it comes to the metaverse of how you could make money, and that’s… That and gaming. Lots of applications, lots of haptics where you’re wearing stuff. And again, it seems like that’s a little too far ahead. How you smell during these events, just different scents and stuff like that. So, the haptics is wearing stuff and if you’re playing a shooting game, you get shot, you’re not going to feel like you actually got shot, but you feel it. That’s the next generation. But that’s where we are now. That’s the entryway into this. But you could see why so many retailers and billions and billions of dollars is flowing into this from the major technology companies. This is what they see.

Frank Curzio: Also, right after the event, the next day Apple, best market in the world, announced that they were launching their new VR AR headset. Bloomberg announced this. They could say it’s still rumors, but no, they’re announcing it this year. And I was on a panel with members from Google, Accenture, Nvidia talking about the metaverse. You remember from Forbes. And it was saying, and this is a surprise too, how all the big companies… Usually, they keep their technologies to themselves, they’re all collaborating, they’re all working together. And they all said they hope that Apple launches this thing because look what it did for the iPhone. And Apple doesn’t even attend this event. And yet, 70% of the companies with their technologies, even smart homes or whatever has to do with apps. And it’s going to do with Apple, being on Apple phone or even Google with the Android phone.

Frank Curzio: So, there’s so many companies that benefit when Apple launches new products and launching their new products. And when it comes to smartphones and things like that, look what they did smartphone from 2007 until now. And they didn’t even have the app store in 2007, when they first launched the first iPhone. Now you’re looking, what? 15 years later, over five billion people have smartphones, and there’s not too much more you could do on that smartphone. Cloud, super-fast speeds, AI capabilities are certain things, we have that. What’s the next generation? With Apple makes sense. If you’re going to cannibalize, you might as cannibalize your own product.

Frank Curzio: You could see this being glasses one day, where everything… You’re not carrying around your phone anymore. This is serious technology. I’ve seen it displayed. I’ve seen some of the biggest companies talk about this. This is where the market’s going, this is what they’re planning for. Because if you don’t plan for this and you say, “Ah, that’s bullshit.” You become AOL. You become Blackberry, who invented the smartphone. Now they’re trying to sell the technology in cars, which is competing against Apple again, Apple Play, and Google, and stuff like that. And it’s not really working for them.

Frank Curzio: You become Intel. Remember Intel? Look in 2013, 2014, you’re looking at Intel at $160 billion market cap. Nvidia was I want to say 10 billion. You had AMD at a few billion dollar market cap. And you look today an AMD is bigger than Intel’s market cap, at least it’s tied. And Nvidia is about three times the size. Two, three X that. Intel dropped the ball. Intel should have had all this going, all the powerful chips. You can’t afford to drop the ball in technology. It’s changing all the time. And you’re seeing all these companies together, they’re collaborating, they’re working together to build this. It’s not going to be one metaverse, it’s going to be like streaming platforms. It’s going to be LG signed a great deal with a company that’s bringing the metaverse and add technologies, where if you go into LG TV, you’ll have a channel, you have all the VR stuff that you could watch through the channel and metaverses. That’s great.

Frank Curzio: Maybe some of that is in 2D and not 3D, where you’re wearing a set. But still that’s where we’re going. I believe TCG’s going to be the Netflix of streaming platforms. They’re fully funded, they’re doing great, still building, it’s incredible seeing what’s going on. But again, there’s other metaverse companies that are trying to do the same thing that need funding. I just think they’re light years ahead of everybody else. It’s going to be a cool experience. It’s going to be gaming at first. But just that experience of going in there, having fun, being able to create, own your own content, own your own stuff, that’s the future of the Internet. So, a lot of companies are talking about that, but not a lot of displays.

Frank Curzio: So, when I look at the CES, I’m going to be honest with you, from a person who’s been there for 12 years and I always say, “You have to go there once to so many cool things, and you’re going to have so much fun.” It wasn’t a fun event, especially in the Venetian, where they usually have the wearables and new technologies and the sports tech and things like that. It was dialed down. And Eureka Park, which is a star, it was probably more fun. And usually, 90% of that is ah, that’s really detailed tech. You’re not going to see a lot of billion dollar ideas out of there. You’re going to see just probably companies who have a ceiling, where they’re targeting a certain technology within a bigger field, but it’s deep technology, how to improve certain technologies, whether it’s flying or technology at airports or different things.

Frank Curzio: Again, not billion dollar ideas, but that was more exciting than actually the mature companies who were supposed to have really cool booths, have celebrities up there. So for me, that perspective, you’re not going to read that any place, it was disappointing. And they need to do a better job because they dropped the ball on this one. Because I could tell you next year I’m likely going to go, I have great contacts there. I have probably lots of great after parties and meetings and stuff like that. And plus, this is the first year the metaverse was really a big theme.

Frank Curzio: And the party I went to, I saw a couple of people that I moderated a panel for, that I saw at the conferences. They were invited to this thing. So for me, that’s going to get bigger and bigger as we go further and further into this trend. But overall, you wanted to see more fun, more cool things and don’t talk about human security for all. We all need that. It’s important. The environment, helping the environment, it’s important. It’s just this isn’t the conference for that. It’s a conference where you have fun, you enjoy it where you have free publicity, go out to millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people. And if you have something that’s that that cool, you’re going to see all these pictures taken all over social media, and it’ll just go viral.

Frank Curzio: You didn’t see a lot of that this year. The good news is it is back. Companies felt better attending. However, when you’re looking at what’s going on with technology and we’re in a down trend right now, a very, very big town trend. The biggest down trend since 2000, I’m not talking about black swan events like in 2020 and just the credit crisis where you saw this massive decline and quick bounce up. I’m talking about over 20 years. We had 2000, 2001, 2002, where you’re just seeing all luster come out of this market. Nadella for Microsoft just had an interview, I think it was CNBC India or whatever, just saying how these trends, and Microsoft benefits from everybody launching new products. They’re in everything. There’s software isn’t everything. They’re involved in everything. So, they’re a couple that should hold up pretty well. And they were like, “Look, we’re not seeing the spending. You see massive cutbacks.”

Frank Curzio: And that might have been it because the booths weren’t as exciting. For Intel not to be there, for these booths to be scaled back for them not to show their EVs and stuff like that. Maybe it was just like, “Hey, we really, really need to step back.” And companies are cutting costs dramatically within this sector. We’re seeing it. They’re announcing second rounds of layoffs. But this is the opportunity here because you don’t have markets like this offer, where you want to pick and choose. And although the total address on market’s going to shrink, it also means there’s going to be a lot of people going out of business.

Frank Curzio: Because when you have this total market just bigger, bigger, bigger, just like you had in crypto, you have all, even the shitty companies are going to do well. Now, a lot of those companies go out of business. And even though the TAM, total address to market shrinks, you’re going to have some of these big companies jockeying for positions, taking over some of these assets at dirt cheap prices, building themselves up during these times. The big technologies has been through this through 2000, 2001, through that. They barely survived. Amazons, they barely survived. There’s a reason why the balance sheets are so strong right now, because now you have the power to buy a lot of companies. You have the power to cut back tremendously. And there’s a lot of great talent out there that you could probably hire because you’re going to see the next phase. You’re going to see the next boom.

Frank Curzio: Maybe it takes two, three years. But it’s the companies that are positioning themselves now that are going to be the greatest companies and how you make the most money as an investor into the future. So, you want to invest in management teams, you want to invest in fundamentals. That’s very, very important now. It wasn’t important the last 12 years where we had easy money policies and it didn’t matter. I’m adding 20 million people to my list. I’m not generating any revenue yet. I’m not going to see profits for seven years; yet, your valuation would be absolutely astronomical, in the billions and billions and billions. Those days are over. They want to see profits. You want to see cash flow. That’s the new world that we’re going to be in the next couple years. But you have to start looking for companies now, especially a lot of these names that are down 50%, 60%, 70%, even some of the big guys are down that much.

Frank Curzio: It could be a lot of separation here. And those are names you want to be in. So for me, it’s a big deal, where you pay me and my subscribers pay me to go to these conference to come back and give you ideas. That’s great for me. But I’m just saying from a consumer perspective, as I would always say, “Just go there. It’s a lot of fun. So many things to try.” It was a letdown. It was a big letdown.

Frank Curzio: If you’re going to showcase your environmental stuff, showcase it along your exciting stuff at the booth. Don’t make it fully environmental because that stuff is not fun. It’s not fun for consumers to watch. We care about it. But again, this is a conference that’s fun. And they really dropped the ball this year, and hopefully, they’re not going to do it next year. So, if you’re Curzio Research Advisory members tomorrow, check your issue. Going to cover this, talk much more, show you pictures, highlights, videos, and things like that. It’ll be really, really cool. If you have any questions or comments, I’m here for you, frank@curzioresearch.com. Have a great day. I’ll see you guys with Dan Creech tomorrow. Take care.

Announcer: Wall Street Unplugged is produced by Curzio Research, one of the most respected financial media companies in the industry. The information presented on Wall Street Unplugged is the opinion of its host and guests. You should not base your investment decision solely on this broadcast. Remember, it’s your money and your responsibility.

Frank Curzio
Frank Curzio, founder and CEO of Curzio Research, is one of America’s most respected stock experts. His research is regularly featured on media outlets like CNBC’s Kudlow Report, The Call, CNN Radio, ABC News, and Fox Business News. His Wall Street Unplugged podcast—ranked the No. 1 “most listened-to” financial podcast on iTunes—has been downloaded over 12 million times.
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