First steps in the Hi-Tech sales world

January 13, 2008

Someone elses stuff.

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, Startup, travel, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — . @ 11:25 am

so, I have a laptop from work. We have a real love-hate relationship. On the one side, it’s a computer for free. It allows me now to sit in a lobby, drinking a drink and writing my stuff. All good. However, it’s also a part of work that is always there. While typing these words, my bottom right corner is reminding me of new emails from co-workers that need attention. It is work going with you wherever you go.

But my big dilemma is how to treat this little black box. If I had a laptop that belonged to me, I’m not sure I’d be able to consider taking it with me abroad, and I’d be very careful about leaving it in the room when I leave.
It is mine, but it’s not. On the one hand, you want to treat something that is not really yours better than you would your own suff, as it belongs to someone else. And you need to respect that. On the other hand, it’s company property, and just a tool, and it’s insured. And hell, it’s not like it’s mine…

So. Walking around town all day, do I have to carry this heavy load or can i just leave it in the room and to hell with it? Only problem is that without it, the meeting tomorrow will be a problem.
Ah, what dilemmas we have.

here is another man’s dilemma:

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November 19, 2007

the tragedy of travelling with work.

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — . @ 9:02 am

Reading this post, I realized how true this can be about travel. Many a time, people like me are sent half way across the world. Considering economic issues that seem to be important to my company for some reason, it turns out that most trips tend to offer very little options for sightseeing, if at all.
Just last week I spent 5 hours on a plane, followed by another hour and a half on a train, just to fall asleep tired at a hotel, wake up to go to a meeting, and pop right back on the train to the airport. It didn’t really matter if the meeting was in the middle of the dessert or at the Louvre. It sucks. I was in the beautiful town of Bern, in Switzerland, and other than a quick photo in an empty street in the morning, I got Nada. It is truly a tragedy, to see the promised land and not be able to enter.
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Only one tragedy greater: Being so jaded by travel that you no longer care where you are and not bother see the sights even if you can. May I never be that sad.

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November 8, 2007

Travel savvy

Filed under: humor, Personal, travel, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — . @ 1:35 pm

At some point on your travels, some of the excitement and rear fades. You realize that hotels and taxis and trains are the same wherever you go. At least in Europe.
Yesterday, arriving late at night in Bern, Switzerland, from the train, I just needed to get to the hotel. I usually go online, check the maps and see how to get from one place to the next. But this trip I didn’t have the time. getting out of the train station, after 5 hours on a plane, and another 1.5 hour on the train I was tired. So I just popped into a taxi and asked him to take me to the Savoy hotel.
During the ride, I had a sense that he was driving in a circle, and adding quite a bit of a ride to what must be a relatively close location. Taking us for a ride, as they say. But hey, the company is paying, and I have faith in people. What is the worst case? That he gets a few Euros more. We finally reached the hotel and payed him the 25 Euros the meter showed. In the morning, leaving the hotel, I asked the receptionist to call me a cab. She said she can, but that if I go to the taxi stand, we can also get one. I asked where that is, and she said it was right next to the train station. Oh, and how far is that to go there?
Walking distance she said. Just exit the hotel and take a right. I did that, and walked the entire 50 meters from the hotel to the station.
The bastard. It even took shorter to walk. But God, I had a good laugh.
taxi-ride.jpg

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October 1, 2007

To read or not to read?

You are finally on vacation.
2 short weeks of bliss. On another continent, the petty email struggles of work a million miles away, and finally in correct proportion of how that crap really does not matter in the grand scheme of things. However you did take the laptop with you, promising that in case of emergency you can help.
Now, you are in the deep forests of Massachusetts. In a beautiful wooden house with nothing but beautiful big trees for miles. The distant sound of some wild animal is the only thing to break the silence while you are sitting with a nice cold Samuel Adams beer and enjoying the setting sun.
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As the sun has finally set, you calmly step upstairs and turn on the computer to write your loved ones how fun the world really is.
And the email Icon on your outlook beeps, telling you of 59 unread messages from work.
So, do you read?

September 18, 2007

The best and worst of flying for work reasons

Filed under: Personal, Startup, travel, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — . @ 12:57 pm

Well, the best is trivial.
You fly for free.
You stay at expensive hotels.
You get the flight points and can then get free tickets.
You spend time away from the desk in new countries.
You meet interesting people.
The list goes on.

But yesterday, coming back from my latest trip, I pinpointed the number one reason why flying for work sucks.
The worst of business travel is not that you find yourself in a great place and have no free time, it’s not that you spend endless hours in crappy airports with no sleep for days. It’s not the tiny seats in the planes, or the airline food. It’s not even the times you find yourself in a hotel, not sure of the time, day or country you are currently in. All that is trivial.
When you finally get off the plane coming home, dead tired, missing the people that you love so much that it hurts, pass the customs stand, and enter the reception hall.
benguarr.jpg

There, you find yourself in front of a wall of people, standing there expectantly with balloons, flowers and signs. As you walk, all around you people are running and hugging and shouting with joy. And you keep walking, past this most happy and exciting place, so obvious that you are not part of this festival with your suit and carry on bag. You exit the building, and take another shitty cab home.
That room, that hall, reminding you each time how coming back home from another country should really be like, symbolizes to me everything that work trips really are. Lonely.

More to come.

June 11, 2007

G8 ripples, or Lufthansa madness

Last couple of weeks were crazy all over Europe. This might be because of the G8 convention, or just bad Karma in general. But EVERY single flight I had was late.
Last week, I had a quicky. 6 flights in 3 days. 3 destinations, 3 meetings, and back home. However, all the flights were late. and all my flights had connections.
however, Lufthansa were cool about it, and offered us free bonuses. For one, a free seat near the take off lane, to enjoy watching all the planes take off. No extra charge. But the greatest bonus of all was the sauna. We boarded a plane at mid-day, with over 30 degrees Celsius (That’s 90 Fahrenheit to all Americans). 300 people, in a tin box, with no air conditioning, for over one hour.
Just imagine the heat. Healthy, cleansing sweat, running out of every pore of your body. Better than a sleeping pill, let me tell you that. Just fade away into unconsciousness and enjoy the experience.
Arriving in Frankfurt, a tad late, and partly alive, we saw the most awesome sight.
The entire airport was in fast forward. EVERY SINGLE person in that huge place was late for a flight, somewhere else. Everyone was running. It was like watching that Queen “Under pressure” video, but faster. Much faster.

I could not help but laugh. Hundreds of tiny little ants, running and pushing and bustling along, all trying to make a flight that let me assure you, was late anyway.
I cannot help but suspect that it was all one big joke, that someone was sitting near the roof, with a drink in their hand, rubbing a big white cat, and laughing at the people below. “Muuu Haaaa haaa haaaa!!!”

Oh, and thank you for flying Lufthansa…

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April 23, 2007

My first meeting

Finally, the big day had arrived. I was sent to meet a client.
I was a savvy world traveler. With my new dazzling suit, a laptop hanging on my shoulder, and a tiny trolley, I was the envy of all who travel. I knew my way around the airport, not longer staring with shiny eyes of the unexperienced at the duty free shops.
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I was traveling with a sales manager as the technical expert (Help me momma!!!). We were to meet a Spanish communication company. Streaking over the sea, we spent a day traveling to meet for an hour. Once we arrived at the building, the size of a small fortress, I knew I was ready for the big leagues.
We asked the receptionist for Senior M. Morales, and sat down. I checked my reflection out in the window – I looked dashing in my new dark suit and tie. “Business man” written all over me for sure. The laptop on my shoulder gave me that special aura, that “je ne sais quoi”. New shiny business cards that pronounced me as the “Product Manager” promised I’m the guy you want.
After a while a young man approached, and after asking “Senior Morales?” and receiving a nod, we shook hands and followed him into the maze.
We walked long corridors, up and down elevators, and I’m sure at least one dragon guarding a secret passage. finally, having no sense of direction left, we arrived at a room, and were greeted by (surprise!) a whole team of people. Oh well, I get to spread out my new business card.
Oh, I had goosebumps. That sacred moment of trading cards, That ancient tradition, moving your arm just the right way, lowering your head just right, Half bowing in respect, half nodding friendly-like. Finally I was part of that secret ritual.
Then we set up the computers and got ready to start the show.
but a cough stopped us. “Excuse me,” said our Senior Morales – “You are from [insert my company name here]? Not from [insert a different company name here]??”
And then silence. Apparently he was expecting someone else entirely. how embarrassing. Silently everyone collected their cards back, and we were led back through the maze to the lobby.
Apparently there is more than one M. Morales at that company. Our M. Morales stood at the lobby, confused about where we were, and also in the lobby was another guy with a suit, Waiting for the M. Morales we were with.
Oh, just look at that guy from [insert the different company name here]. Just another guy in a suit, looking like every other Joe in the business, with that stupid laptop hanging on his shoulder, thinking he’s impressing someone!
magritte-golconda.jpg
The sales guy I was with looked at me and said “12 years in the business, this has NEVER happened to me. I guess you bring good luck.” Oh, I can’t wait to see what happens in my next trip…

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April 16, 2007

My Hotel

I was sent on a trip to east Europe. One of the perks in Business travel is the cool hotels you usually get to stay in. Flashy places, center of town, especially when traveling with important people.

Let me highly recommend The hotel I got when I was sent alone to Warsaw.

It is a 5 star hotel (though I was told 2 stars are at the shop currently), Fully equipped with everything you could want if you were in soviet Warsaw, 1975. (trust me, the pictures are very complimentary). Nothing like checking into a hotel that smells like the original thing, or an old peoples home.

Good room for you! come in!

A spacious 2.20X3 meter room, in extravagant kaka brown, and the newest technology in personal hygiene: whenever you turn on the light in the bathroom, a sophisticated surround sound system makes it sound like you are in a plane that is taking off.

Instead of messing with elaborate anti-mosquito nets, the whole building was covered with a net that doubled as a preventative measure to protect passers by from the artistic crumbling outside walls (see terrace in image).

Why bother with internet (no, none available) when you can spend your time trying to open your door that automatically locks you out every time the clock strikes 11?

I just want to share how proud I am that I was allowed the honor of helping my company save the big bucks (20 euro’s by the way), in a city where the Sheraton offers a deluxe room with a king sized bed, broadband internet and a sauna for 92 euro a night…

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