Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Traveler's Log - Day 2

Whoa! Long long day. Again, without giving too much company specific three paragraph blog.

We (Dennis and I) worked at the customer site but towards the end things started to heat up a bit. We had to wrap things up while also maintaining our schedule of leaving Chicago in the evening. It got really hectic towards the end and we made the call that we should leave Chicago and continue working on stuff from Dayton. More importantly the experience for me was invaluable. When push comes to shove and you're the ambassador of the company on a customer site, you don't learn from books about how you handle that. It's a matter of getting in there and presenting yourself no matter how good/bad the situation is without losing your calm composure. I think I did a pretty good job of that. The up-side to that is that the customer feels very comfortable about it too. If you start to get edgy, it's going to make the customer nervous about your capabilities and those of your software too. So I was really proud of the way I handled the pressure cooker atmosphere that built up around 4 pm.

I learned a lot from Dennis and a bit about him personally, during this trip. Much of the learning from him was around the customer interface ability. He's been to hundreds of customer sites, conferences and other such places. What that means is that he's pretty much capable of handling situations where things don't work and you had to do a whole lot of explaining as to why and also maintain your sanity. I'm not saying that's what happened there, but I spent quite a bit of time noticing his interactions with the customer. Invaluable experience there. Secondly, on a more personal note...Dennis must be a great dad because he's really involved with what his kids do. The reason I say that is because he had an MP3 player that we hooked onto the car stereo. Now, I listen to the latest music too but I have a hard time remembering the names of songs/artists and everything. Too many of them these days. However, Dennis knew them all! And these aren't songs from when he was growing up. They're songs from last week or month or year. It sort of surprised me but he then said that some of these collections belong to his daughter Hilary and so that's how he knew them. What that DOES tell me is that he actively participates in what Hilary does and knows the kind of music that is influencing her thought processes. I think that kind of active participation is a good thing as long as your'e not overbearing and suffocating the child's space.

The drive back was such a drag. For some very wierd reason, we couldn't find a single decent place to eat for over 2 1/2 hours. We finally stopped at Outback Stakehouse. The rains made driving a total nightmare and our crappy rental didn't really grip the road as it should. I got back around 12:30 am .. poor Dennis had to again drop me home that late before eventually heading to his home. Back at work at 8 and continuing to work on the pending issue....we'll see how it goes. Overall.... awesome trip...great company ... definitely lots of learning and definitely worthwhile.


Blogger Puppetainer said...

Dennis is a great example of "how to do it." You two are definately dream team material, you have a lucky customer :)

8:38 AM  
Blogger Will said...

That is cool that he is active in his daughter's life. Sounds like a good deal. I try to be that way too. In fact, I've had a couple of times where I introduced something to the kids that they liked before it even became cool. I was listening to Switchfoot before they were showing up in Billboard, and I brought home a copy of Napoleon Dynamite before it was all the rage.

It's tough being the cool Dad, but someone's got to do it.


3:24 PM  

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