Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Three Simultaneous Sales Meetings

One of the interesting thing about Asia is that the large corporations have a bullpen in the lobby for meetings. They have so many vendors calling on them it makes sense. However, there are private rooms, so you can tell where you are in the vendor pecking order by whether you meet in the bullpen or a private room (about 95% of my meetings are in private rooms, but the bullpen is not unheard of for me).

I shot this picture while waiting to be escorted to a private room. Can you tell who the "seller" and "sell-y" are for each meeting? (clicking and looking at the larger res picture helps).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2000 Unwelcome Guests

I first saw the swarm swirling in my front yard. Thousands of bees thickened the air. The density was so thick that I couldn't see through it. I hoped they would move on, but by later that afternoon they had settled into my front garden.

I called a beekeeper who asked me where they were and how they were bunched. I confirmed they weren't making anything, but were settled in on top of one another in sort of a "football". I got the following info:
  • These guys are migrating and are resting. They should move on within 72 hours. The swarm will send out drones to look for permanent housing, so the only worry I have is to make sure they don't pick the eves of my house as their new home.
  • Obviously keep kids and pets away. She also suggested turning off the sprinklers to avoid annoying them. Plus, if some strong water makes the queen unable to fly, the swarm isn't going anywhere without her.
  • The beekeeper didn't want the bees and said I would have a hard time finding someone to take them live. Apparently wild bees have been inbreeding with Africanized strains, and while there is no danger to the public, keepers don't want them. If they stay I will have to exterminate them (isn't there supposedly a bee shortage?)
So I will let them rest for a few days and hope they move on. If they aren't gone by next weekend then the heavy artillery gets called in.
Update: They left on their own late yesterday afternoon, so they were around about 48 hours.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Tech Curve Pushed Upside Down

Up until the 1980s, even a bit into the 1990s, a lot of new technology was developed at the high end, or even military applications, proven, then pushed down into wider and wider applications until it hit the consumer market. Everything from computers to night vision technologies followed this path.

Companies who were clever would take expensive military and high-end specialty technologies and "forward price" it for the consumer market, pricing it so low that volumes followed, bringing large profits in later.

These days that model is turned on its head. Today it is the consumer market - mainly cellphones - that is driving many new technologies. And it is the high end applications that are following in the consumer products' wake instead of the other way around.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How Good Are You Reading Facial Expressions?

This facial expressions test is a little hokey, but interesting. It has a person "at rest" then quickly flashes up a facial expression, which you are to try to identify. I got most on my first try, all by the second.

It takes a few minutes of playing around to get it, but is worth it.

30 Second Book Review: Killer Instinct

Director Dad thought I would like this. The story: stalled-out sales executive finds new life in his career as his competitors for promotions start dying off, unexpected tragedies befall his business competition and he starts getting access to people's inside email.

I thought this was a how-to business book, but unfortunately it is only a novel. This is your basic airplane read: entertaining and not very deep. The author does a good job of capturing a sales culture and the associated lingo. If anything, read this for entertainment and pick up some of the sales and negotiation tips scattered throughout the book.

Four out of five stars.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

And Look 'em In The Eye

File under "duh": A Firm Handshake Helps Land Jobs.

Here is my entry on How to Shake Hands.

(Almost) Better Than A Raise

Today my COO patted me on the back and told me I was doing a "great job". The nice thing is that he realizes that while, yes, money is important, most people need personal recognition of their contribution.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Finally a Show I Like Watching With My Kid: Phineas and Ferb

Oh, he's my nemesis. I can tell him everything! - Mad Scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

A secret-agent platypus? A mad scientist? Two genius kids and a brat sister? I wasn't so sure I was going to like this show, but after ten minutes I was hooked. Phineas and Ferb, a new Disney series, is one of those shows that is entertaining for kids but has plenty of adult humor. The adult stuff is subtle, so it's sort of like The Simpsons, but with the kid part geared for younger children.

This is a far cry from the earlier shows my daughter watched. I still get hate mail from my bad review of Lazy Town, which I labeled "evil".