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Showing posts from November, 2022

Earthquakes, chili and ejection Part two – true tales from an ex-IT support man Episode 21

Galvanised by the trip to Chico, I proceeded to write a suite of reports that gave management and statistical information from each of the systems using the software embedded in the product, and we were getting more sales and gradually growing the business, but Norman was eyeing bigger targets. He tried contacting Blockbusters at the headquarters in Teddington, Middlesex, to speak to their technical director about getting a meeting set up to demo our product, as it was superior to theirs and was far less labour-intensive to maintain and develop. Now, one thing you need to understand about technical directors of large corporations, which Norman failed to do, is that they have an empire with large budgets, large teams of developers and an aversion to having their boats rocked. This meant that the UK technical director, whom I shall refer to as Morgan, studiously ignored Norman’s advances on several occasions – after all, why would he want to give up his empire to use a pissant little

Earthquakes, chili and ejection Part one – true tales from an ex-IT support man Episode 20

Continuing from the last episode, I mentioned that the company that owned the software fro which we were the UK & European distribution arm was based in San Francisco, in the old Embarcadero Center, right under the Bay Bridge. The significance of this will become apparent, shortly. I also mentioned that the guy who was the principal architect of the software, Mike, was a bit “off the wall” – he was based in a town called Chico, about 165 miles northeast of SF. Almost nobody has ever heard of Chico – they even sell T-shirts which say “Where the hell is Chico?” emblazoned on the shirt. It was (at least when I was sent there in the late 80s) a sleepy town during the day, with a predominantly Latino-based population. At night, however, the atmosphere was somewhat less sleepy. Chico State university was, in the late 80s, the home to many upper-middle-class students who, supposedly, worked hard during the day but, at night, partied hearty, speeding up and down the main street in thei

Everybody out – true tales from an ex-IT support man Episode 19

The video library software company I had joined was essentially a one-man-and-a-dog outfit, except there were three of us not including the lady who did the reception/secretarial work and I don’t think she’d like to be referred to as a dog, however appropriate the description might have been. At first we struggled to get clients, as all start-ups do, but Norman said he could sell snow to Eskimos (I know this phrase is not PC – so, sue me for using a colloquialism), we gradually increased the size of the portfolio. As I already mentioned (episode 18) we were effectively the European distribution arm of a San Francisco based company. Norman once recounted to us of a show he did in Las Vegas with the parent company at which the owners and the technical director were present on the stand. Something a sales-oriented companies know well is that you never include technicians on a sales & marketing event as techies tend to tell the truth. So, in this instance, the technical director and t