Shaq and Noel Lee

The first press conference I visited today at the Consumer Electronics Show–the gigantic Las Vegas trade show Popular Science is covering this week–was for Monster Cable, a gadget maker with a reputation for bizarre press conferences. It did not disappoint. I’d swear to god I hallucinated three-quarters of it if I didn’t have photo documentation to prove it all happened. Here’s a short sampling of my notes:

old logos, old cables




Jesus, sell me that

_disruption disruption disruption _

The Segway rider is Noel Lee, the CEO of Monster, who has a disability and rides the two-wheeler during events like this. I’ve never been to a Monster conference, but it’s hard to imagine there have been many events weirder than this.

Lee announced an endless reel of new stuff that mostly didn’t seem that new: there were announcements for new headphone colors, new colors for a DJ mixing gadget, and a new announcement that old, retro logos were going to be used. Then Nick Cannon came out–yes, Nick Cannon–and gave an awkward, meandering talk about Monster, eventually moving into an introduction of his DJ friends. He explained the difficulty of getting a large group of DJs to wake up and be somewhere at 9 a.m. Lee, apparently a little flustered at this, asked, “Did you want to talk about the show?”

Nick Cannon, et. al

Cannon proceeded to bring out all of his DJ friends. “At dinner last night, we said, no shots, no shots,” one of said DJ friends explained.

And then Lee maybe half-jokingly asked him to leave the stage.


The show proceeded to dubstep-heavy video clips displayed on a gargantuan screen, and a series of partnerships with brands I assumed had no need for headphones were announced. There’s a line of headphones coming up for Adidas, and a pair of UFC-branded headphones, for all of your blood-sport audio needs. (They’re called, no kidding, the Octagon.) A fighter I didn’t recognize but who’s apparently big came out to thank Lee. And have you ever watched World Poker Tour because it’s Sunday and whatever there’s nothing else on? The commentator for that, who has a golden voice and some kind of brass-like suit coat, was there to announce a partnership with Monster, where Monster apparently gives them large sacks full of money in exchange for putting their logo on everything.

Then Shaq came out (yep!), pantomimed driving, flirted with a model, and showed off a new power card. He kissed Lee. At this point I determined Mr. O’Neal is almost exactly two Segways tall. I can’t explain it, but I feel happy to know that.