Meanwhile, here are four quotes I heard that stand out from CES. They’re not exactly overheard – they were said to me directly, or in a small group where I was conversing.

Sources are omitted to protect them, but if you really want to be known as the butthole person in my column, I’ll give you proper credit next time around.

1) “I’m not a go getter. I’m a go gooder.” 

A recruiter I met was describing his ethos when he heard I’m a fractional CMO (okay, fraction-of-a-fractional…) and wanted to explore how to collaborate.

It is my favorite line I’ve heard in a long time, and long-time readers of this column can appreciate why it strikes a nerve.

He said it modestly, actually noting it’s how a friend of his described him, and how he wants to provide value to others even when he won’t make a dime from it.

A goal in life is to surround myself with as many go gooders out there. I think a lot of them are go getters too, in all the best ways.

2) “In 2021, everyone was looking to maximize upside. Now, they’re all looking to minimize downside.”

An Israeli startup founder I met with was sharing his take on the job landscape, especially when I mentioned a friend very happy in a safe job even if it wasn’t as challenging as they liked.

I’d heard in the past how maximum upside with minimum downside was the ideal risk to take – specifically in corporate innovation contexts.

The recession mindset, even if we weren’t in one, led to a greater yearning for safety. As interest rates drop, presumably with inflation manageable as well, we’ll see how much more job seekers look for risk and upside.

3) “It’s like Oura for your butthole.”

The most disgusting conversation I wound up in, fortunately well after dinner ended, was about smart toilets. It did involve a participant who manufactures smart toilets, and we were at CES, so this wasn’t the most ridiculous thing to talk about.

Scatological as it was, we wound up coming up with a theoretical four-part framework for how toilets could analyze data and report back on it. It goes something like this:

i) Toilets give you personalized health feedback, like, “Drink more water,” and, “You need to eat more fiber this week.” Hence the “Oura for your butthole” remark. We hypothesized that many would appreciate these recommendations from a smart toilet.

ii) Toilets give diagnostic health information, like, “You have a high probability of colon cancer.” This would probably discourage people from buying smart toilets, even if a small subset of the population would welcome having such alerts. Most people don’t want to be confronted with their own mortality every time they flush.

iii) Toilets share anonymized data with the public and non-profit entities, albeit with some localized parameters. The most obvious analogy is the value of wastewater testing for Covid outbreaks. I hypothesized that the more liberal the area, the more likely they’d opt in; conversative-skewing households would never go for this.

iv) Toilets share data with brands. This idea was posited but universally derided. Granted, I might enjoy seeing more ads for beets (#IYKYK).

If you’re holding a smart toilet summit, please invite me to flush, I mean flesh, this out as a talk. Did I mention I’m the son of a gastroenterologist? What better credentials could you ask for?

4) “The job of the CMO is the worst. You’re the first to get blamed and the last to get credit.”

I think there are worse jobs out there than being a CMO, but will anyone reading this disagree with the sentiment?


To all of you who shared your wisdom, thank you for the conversations.

To everyone I didn’t quote, you’re welcome.

See you at CES 2025, but hopefully way sooner. If I miss you, it’s because I’m at the other end of the Strip.


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