Upgrading my hotel from the corporate approved list

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

My friend, Mort, supplied me with an voucher to a one of a kind, 5 star hotel in his community. Prior to my arrival, he offered the following advice for my stay. There is some inside baseball sorts of referrals in his comments, but I bet you know what he is talking about.

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You can have transportation provided to the LaQuinta if you’d prefer their breakfast bar. Please note that as a guest of the AsItShouldBe Hotel, there will no need to pack any foods or bring your own liquor. It may interest you that this hotel will provide towels and linens. Your room will have a view into the natural light and surroundings, without the sound of HVAC equipment, which corporate travelers tend to find unsettling. Finally, you may encounter casually other people similar to yourself, e.g. the elusive line of business executives, as they tend to congregate in venues such as these, particularly in the dining, cocktail and fitness areas. A suggestion is that you not begin the conversation with ‘how’s the purchase order renewal process going?’ or ‘would you like to discuss your company’s Oracle take-out opportunity?’ as they tend to leave these conversations and details to staff members who, shall we characterize it, stay at the LaQuinta.

On the other hand, they are the ones who write the checks for such investments and prefer to discuss technology in terms of market conditions and associated business opportunities that our kinds of technologies can afford. I know that this is kind of complicated and really not covered on weekly sales calls, but I just thought you might want to know what the ‘pin-heads’ and the ‘geniuses’ in the corner offices tend to be preoccupied with. As well, you may see people using small, elegant devices made by the hippies in California… the fruit company. Macintosh or Apple or such.

Our IT contacts tend to keep the typical LoB guest away from the high horse-power devices such as the Chinese made PCs and those state of the art cell phones with the thumb-wheel and key-board which only receive email that no one really uses any more except those involved in gambling, spam, porn and corporate email (which is really a combo of the other three). You may see something resembling a tablet computer – it’s called an iPad – but it’s not for real and our internal market analysts believe it to be only an Etch-a-Sketch with a black border. Who needs mobile computing if a) you can drive to the office to talk on a phone and access the web via the corporate Intranet (who needs more than 350 megs of storage anyway?) and b) if these devices were so modern and truly promising, our telco clients would be making them. See what I mean?!

Enjoy your stay. Wear long trousers when in the common areas. Leather shoes are a plus. Maybe leave your company branded knapsack at home. Other guests will be interested in your business and employer. As you introduce yourself, I suggest that you not include the batting order of your First and Second layers of management and which specific department that you represent as such preambles reveal that no one that we know or work for really ever decides anything and has even less association with genuine P&L (not a power company but an accounting format for keeping track of sales and costs – don’t worry about it).

Finally, as you have polite conversation over your $14 martini, er – cab ride, and should the terms IT or data center or even computers (the opposite of the devices that these people will be carrying (you can identify these cause most begin with an i )be mentioned, raise your eyebrows and smile faintly, commenting that CIOs are such bozos and really have no idea about what drives the business and are slaves to their vendor communities with the dope of endlessly recurring contract renewals.

Keep the discussions short – please repel the urge to show them ‘just a few charts’ – unless you can show them something on one of these iThings. If asked about marketing campaigns addressing intelligent global initiatives, refer to unsubstantiatable references like traffic zooming around a Nordic country (all 200 cars of them) or some incredible sounding improvement in medical technology like RFID tags on each of our skin cells. They get this level of abstraction because it reminds them of how they write annual reports, 10k filings and other SEC required docs (btw, SEC is an agency of the government so do not follow up with a comment about the how the BCS (this is not the former name of our consulting services) should determine the best college football team. Usually the best reply to SEC is ‘they are the real crooks.’ You’ll get plenty of free booze this way, saving you cab fare – if you know what I mean.

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The rest is up to you provided that you remember not to ask ‘what time does the city bus arrive to take me back to Trailways Station?’ or whatever mode of transportation was selected that best fit within the most cost-effective travel guidelines.