I LOVE TO BE SCHMOOZED
I first learned the value of schmoozing when I was a young punk kid, building automation systems for Process Control Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. We had a sweet llittle deal with a local manufacturer, wherein we supplied them with PDP-11-based automation systems. We had installed three systems in the plant, and bid on another job with every expectation of winning the bid, We had sign-offs from all the engineers and production people, and were ready to roll.
To our dismay, the job went to IBM. It seems that IBM flew a couple of senior VPs down to Boca Raton for a few days, where they were “entertained.” I assume that means golf, deep sea fishing, and all the other attractions in that region. No matter that the IBM solution was 4 times more expensive than ours; what was important was the schmoozing of VPs.
I thought such days were long gone, thanks to the IRS’ rules on expense accounts and the down economy.
But then I attended the Emerson User Group meeting, where I find schmoozing has returned. Never mind that Emerson feeds everybody, holds the conference in a really cool place like Orlando, and runs a first-class operaton. They have free BOOZE and FOOD in the exhibit hall!
No wonder that the exhibit hall is full of people until 9 pm. It’s almost like attending a trade show in Europe, with people wandering around with a glass of Maker’s Mark, single-malt scotch, or California wine. Like I said, it’s first class all the way. And no wonder that attendance is up.
If ISA wants to grow its trade show, it should bring back booze and food during the show. Today’s goody-two-shoes, sanitary version of the once-rowdy (and extremely profitable) ISA show is a pale imitation of those booming shows. Does anyone remember the dancing girls from Esterline-Angus that stopped floor traffic at an ISA Show in the Astrodome? Bringing back booze would be a good start on the road to recovery. Dancing girls would be good, too.