One of the busiest men at last week's International Consumer Electronics Show 2005 was Mel Karmazin, the former Infinity Broadcasting/Viacom chief who is now CEO of Sirius, the satellite radio company.
On Wednesday, he was seen whipping around a corner in the South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center--assistants 10 paces back juggling Blackberries and cell phones. He was spotted a day later moving briskly--and not without a bounce in his step--zipping out of the South Hall and into a waiting limo next to a cab stand.
There was a press conference on another day. Unlike other big shot executives and celebrities, Karmazin didn't simply parachute in to CES, make a speech, and leave. He worked the town like a man on a mission.
This may signify nothing. But it did bring back memories of the old Comdex show, when executives at up-and-coming tech companies spent less time on stage and more time in back rooms, cutting deals.
Among other things, Karmazin put the finishing touches on a technology agreement with Microsoft, and announced an effort by Sirius to bring satellite video programming into cars and vans. In the near term, Howard Stern may be more important to Karmazin's success at Sirius. But over the long haul, deals with folks like Bill Gates and those delivering Sirius' technology and content into the market will be the plays to watch.
Otherwise, Karmazin could have spent an easy week in New York reveling in the latest Howard Stern controversy - instead of turning into a human tornado at the biggest U.S. technology conference of the year.