CES 2018 – the gigantic consumer tech industry conference – is next month in Las Vegas, and for the 15th straight year, the Max Borges Agency team will be there. We are a consumer tech PR agency, so CES is, to put it mildly, a very big deal for our clients. Companies work for months preparing to unveil their newest and coolest products. So, when I sat down with Sony Electronics President and COO Mike Fasulo for this week’s edition of the Unconventional Genius podcast to discuss what Sony will launch at CES, I wasn’t really surprised when he sidestepped the question.

 

“If I told you everything now, it would be like ruining Christmas,” he said, laughing. “There would be no presents under the tree.”

 

One thing is certain: Sony’s exhibition will feature dozens of new products. But I can report that Mike seems particularly excited about the developments the company has made in two categories: Home Entertainment, which includes new OLED TVs and high-end soundbars, and Personal Audio.

 

“Whether it’s wireless speakers for listening with friends and family, or voice-assisted wireless speakers, you’ll hear a lot from us on those fronts,” adds Fasulo.

 

Fasulo also hopes consumers see a more streamlined product line-up. He admits that when he assumed his current role four years ago, Sony’s product development strategy lacked focus.

 

“We had over 2,000 items, so my first priority was to reduce that to about 400 core products,” he said. “It was hard, but we did it by basing our decisions on two simple facts: what was selling, and what wasn’t. To our customers, the Sony brand means quality, design, and innovation. We needed to determine what products our customers enjoyed using, and which ones were taking too much of our time and resources away from our commitment to innovation.”

 

When you listen to my interview with Mike, it may sound like Sony still needs to work on its focus. He talks about new products for both the living room and to enhance consumers’ mobile lifestyles. But he points out that there’s one common thread that weaves all of these products together.

 

“Content is king,” he said. “It all comes down to providing entertaining experiences. There’s a place for watching a movie on a big screen TV connected to an amazing sound system in your living room. When I’m traveling on a plane, train, or even in the car, I want to see and hear that content. There are different form factors, but one won’t make the other obsolete, they all live together.”

 

When Mike told me he’s been with Sony for 33 years, I had to ask him to repeat himself. Spending more than three decades at one company in a volatile industry driven by fickle consumers and the constant development of new technologies is almost unheard of. He began his career in the finance department, and has also worked in a number of other departments, including sales and marketing and operations.

 

“I’ve had no less than 13 jobs at the company, so while the Sony name always stayed the same, it was almost like going to 13 different companies and learning different things,” he said. “Some say I just can’t keep a job, but I look at it like I’m well-rounded.”

 

That does not mean that he recommends staying at one organization for several years like he has. When I asked him whether he advises people to stay in one place like he did, or move around to get more experience, he said “yes” to both.

 

“You have to go where your passions are,” he insisted. “We’re products, and I realize that sounds a bit cold, but we need differentiators to be successful and realize our potential. You get that through education and experience.

 

“We work a lot of our living hours, and if you don’t enjoy what you do, and you’re not learning and growing, look for something else to do. Life is too short.”

 

Sony will be impossible to miss at CES, but if you plan to attend the show and are trying to set your itinerary, Sony will be in Central Hall – 17300.

 

If you are with a consumer technology company planning to launch a new product at CES, or are even looking ahead to CES 2019, the Max Borges Agency can help you succeed. To learn more, check out: www.maxborgesagency.com.