DSE 2022 Overall Experience Was Great for Me

I attended DSE 2022, and my agenda for the show was to meet with people whom I had either only met over video, had not seen in a long time, or people I had not met before to find more opportunities direct or indirect. This was my first event show in the past few years that I was not participating in one or more booths.

Michael Katz view from JFK to vegas

So, with this freedom, I was able to walk around the floor and have long conversations with many different people who were either current or potential partners, associates or clients. This show was more about the quality of time spent with each person or a few people (especially within the same business ecosystem) and not necessarily the quantity of people — and overall I feel it was successful. Here is the rundown of how I spent my time at DSE 2022.


My flight from JFK to Las Vegas was uneventful, and we landed 30 minutes early (always a good start to a business trip). I took this picture about 45 minutes out from the Las Vegas airport:

I hosted a happy hour for a small group of people at The Illuminarium on Wednesday, Nov. 16, prior to the start of the show. I had met some of them over video only or very briefly in person, so I was very enthusiastic about spending quality time with all of them. This eventually led to my joining three of them at their booths the next day on the Digital Signage Expo show floor, which enabled me to see and talk to other people (some of whom I had also only met over video or never met before). Chris Ramos, one of the bartenders at The Illuminarium, made me one of my favorite drinks again (see previous column below).

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michael katz illuminarium happy hour

Sometimes the relationships you make at shows span even past your industry. As we were leaving The Illuminarium (after everyone exchanged business cards), I mentioned that I was heading back to my hotel, The Westgate.

Someone sitting in one of the booths had heard me, so she walked up to us and mentioned that her friend has a show at The Westgate and gave us some advertising cards that described the magic act. Then, the magician herself, Jen Kramer, walked up to us and said she hoped to see us at her show. (She actually looked familiar to me — turns out I saw her on the “Masters of Illusion” TV show about six years ago.)

So, I knew I was going to see her act on Friday night, which turned out to be a great experience. More on that later.


dse 2022 show floor hammocks

The hammocks on the DSE 2022 show floor.

On Thursday morning, the first day of the show, I walked from The Westgate Hotel to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall and sat between the exhibit hall and the area for the meeting rooms catching up on emails and phone calls. I saw David Drain, director of event programs for DSE, walking around the hallway a few times outside the exhibit hall. I had finally met David during the NYC Digital Signage Week in October at our event, so I waved hello. He had shared one of my columns, and I was finally able to thank him in person (thanks again, David).

Random Thought: One of the things I saw at DSE that I had never seen before at a trade show was a group of hammocks placed in various areas on the exhibit floor.

Continuing on, I had created a target list of eight booths in advance of the show that I wanted to visit to talk to specific people, which I was able to do. Throughout the day, I created a list of people whom I wanted to invite to join me at one of my favorite sushi places in Las Vegas, Sushi Samba. Although some were not able to attend, I was able to gather a great group of people whom I had very recently met or have known for a few years:

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We filled and refilled our cups with Kamoizumi, Summer Snow, Nigori Ginjo, Nama, Hiroshima which was described in the menu as “Lively, voluptuous – a deluxe label for Nigori fans.” Yes, absolutely agree.

michael katz group at sushi samba

The group at Sushi Samba.


On Friday, I joined the DSE edition of rAVe [TV] along with Stephanie Gutnick, Global Head of DOOH at Yahoo (first time meeting her), Bryan Meszaros, CEO of OpenEye Global (first time meeting in person that day) and Marcos Terenzio, VP at iGotcha Media (met him before at our event during NYC Digital Signage Week). Although we had no specific preparation, I thought the segment went well:

Finally, I got an opportunity to see a panel on Friday afternoon titled, “Come Fly with Me: Travel Industry Leaders Respond to the Pandemic by Investing in the Future.”

Come Fly With Me Panel DSE 2022

“Come Fly With Me” panel at DSE 2022

Panelists (L to R): Amahl Hazelton, Strategy & Development, Moment Factory; Neil Thompson, VP Digital for HMSHost; Len Dudis, CIO Grupo Vidanta; and Moderator – Brian Gorg, Executive Director, Digital Signage Federation

The topic of discussion had to do with the fact that the travel and hospitality industries, such as airports, airlines, hotels and cruise ships were severely affected by the pandemic and those companies able to survive during this timeframe had an opportunity to evaluate and invest in new processes and technology. So, travelers can now expect improved experiences.


Akil Evans and Jen Kramer

Akil Evans and Jen Kramer

After the conference, I walked back over to The Westgate to see the magic show at long last. I brought a colleague of mine, Andy Austin from The Industrious, and his 80-year-old father (coincidentally the same age as my father). We met at the entrance of the show, and I provided the three electronic tickets, and we were shown to our seats, front row to the right side of the stage. Akil Evans, Jen’s associate, walked up to us and thanked us for coming and mentioned that Jen had hoped we would attend, which I was very impressed with and really appreciated. We all really enjoyed the show. Jen even included me in some of the tricks, but I still don’t know how she did them.

michael katz magic trick part two

The “x” in question.

After the show, Jen said she wanted to show me something. She told me to put both of my arms out facing down and make a fist. She lifted my hands, so they were both level. She took out a sharpie and wrote a small “x” on her right palm. She then said to move one of my fists forward. So, I chose my left hand and moved it slightly toward her. She did not touch my hand, but rather took her fingers and squeezed and wiped the “x” off her hand and said that she transferred it to my hand and then to open my left fist:

I said to Jen, “I hate you.” She laughed out loud and walked back into the theater. I then turned to Akil and said, “How the hell did she do that?” He said there is a short answer and a long answer. I said, okay, what is the short answer?” He said, “magic.” I then asked, “Fine, what is the long answer?” He then said very slowly, “Maaaaaagiiiiiic.” I then hit him on the shoulder again, but much harder.

So, I am attending DSE next year and will probably join one of our partners in a booth to share the cost and add something unique (maybe a small sake bar).