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H2O Audio Founder Blogs on His First CES and Big Idea Experiences

By Kristian Rauhala

H2O Audio's First CES

In fall of 2005 after a great deal of debate, we decided to take a big marketing gamble and attend CES in January 2006 as an exhibitor. We had our first waterproof iPod products ready to announce and thought the show would provide good exposure for the products as well as gives us the opportunity to connect with potential buyer partners. Our investment paid off.

We ran an ad in the show daily and secured editorial coverage in that as well. We sent meeting invites to media contacts and decided to participate in the Showstoppers media event.

These all turned out to be good decisions, (though the initial cost and logistics were frightening). Our new point of purchase display was included in USA Today's show feature. Wall Street Journal, NY Times and other important TV and print opportunities also picked up product roll out.

One morning at the show I watched a guy walking around our booth for quite a while. He was looking at the products very closely and wanted all of the product detail we could provide. He spoke with Carl Pettersen our VP of Engineering and then introduced himself to me.

The guy turned out to be a senior Executive for Apple’s iPod division and gave us the introduction to our most important reseller partner.

CES can be a gamble that is daunting to small companies, but we are delighted we took it.


H2O Audio On The Road To CES

I have been a huge fan of the Big Idea for quite a while. I watch the program regularly and am always interested in the tips, advice and insight that the guests and panel share regarding ways to build a better business.

When I got the CNBC studio, I couldn't believe that I wasn't just watching, but actually participating in the program with Donny.

I feel that in so many ways H2O Audio's story is one that exemplifies turning passion and vision into business success and now we get to share that story with millions of interested business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere.

Donny's show provides great advice and can be a huge inspiration for the young entrepreneurs out there.

The program panel including Dr Doug, Raymond Ray, Ilana Diamond, Karim Rashid and Mike Michalowicz, were tremendous and gave me some very good feedback about current and future growth strategies and potential pitfalls.

I made great contacts while at the show and hope to build them into long-term relationships that will help ensure H2O Audio's continued success.

I hope we were able to encourage a few fellow entrepreneurs to just jump in and swim for it.

If you have a passion and believe you can make something good happen, the Big Idea show can get you started on your American Dream.

Questions? Comments? BigIdeaCES@CNBC.com