April 12 2007
I spoke this morning at the Lotusphere Comes to You in Houston. After spending nearly all day yesterday (due to the Chicago snow) to get down to Houston, I have to be honest that I was disappointed in the relatively small turnout for the event. Local business partners reported that they get good turnout for their events, so I wonder if it is just that we had an unusually high percentage of local Lotus customers and prospects attend Lotusphere itself, or if the location or date were a challenge, or if there were other factors. Almost all of the LCTYs so far have had better-than-expected attendance.
The audience was also pretty quiet, too. As many of you who have seen me speak state-side know, I tend to inject humor and occasional self-deprecation into my presentations. Tough to draw a laugh this morning. I would like to thank the woman seated towards the front, who nodded her head in agreement on several points -- that was quite helpful and reassuring given the lack of other feedback.
A couple of other observations on 21 hours in Houston:
- OK, so I finally flew Continental Airlines. I had tried to make an earlier flight out of Chicago yesterday, given the weather, but Continental's systems behave differently than other airlines. Even if a flight is delayed, they cut off check-in or standby for that flight at 40 minutes prior to the original departure time. This meant I got to sit at the gate and watch a planeload of people head off to Houston, including at least ten standby passengers, without ever having a chance to get on-board. I then had the privilege of paying $25 for a confirmed seat on the next flight, which was delayed two hours....to my original departure time. The self-service check-in kiosk didn't bother to mention that the subsequent flight was that delayed, so I felt a bit deceived. FWIW American's self-service kiosks run the same scam.
- Speaking of Continental, they seemed nice enough, but their seat pitch is brutal -- especially when the person in front of you chooses to recline their seat fully for the duration of the flight (both directions!). Considering that I have superelite status on both of the airlines hubbed in Chicago, I should probably have found a way to fly one of them -- though I heard they were both cancelling Houston flights due to the snow yesterday. No-win situation.
- I haven't seen that many Starbucks around the world that are 24 hours, like the one near the Houston Galleria. It was pretty funny coming out of there last night and seeing a partially malfunctioning sign on the building across the street....advertising the "ass Bank". I'm sure Compass Bank's marketing department doesn't appreciate the humor there.