Just Landed In Vegas for CTIA 2009

If you get this email it means my two laptop batteries made it through this
Southwest Airlines flight which as a matter of interest is devoid of power,
TV, WiFi and seat assignments. It is very uncomfortable to give a boarding
pass to an attendant when boarding, only to get nothing in return. It is
weird — almost like you aren’t authorized to really board. Still the
airline is profitable so they are doing something right.
Seats are first come, first serve and I was lucky to get a window. Sadly
when the seat in front of you reclines, a 15.4 inch laptop has issues.
Digium’s Mark Spencer tells me I need a smaller laptop and Sir Terry
Matthews even made fun of my “mainframe looking” computer a bit (the guy is
not only super-successful but hilarious — Oh, BTW, no — TMC will not soon
become part of the Wesley Clover family — Right Terry? 😉 ) Also the seats
seem to be the type that are of the laptop wrecking variety. What I mean is
if you aren’t careful, you lose your screen when the person in front of you
decides to relax a bit.
The snack consisted of cookies and cheese and crackers which are crackers
with what appears to be a combination of Elmer’s Glue and yellow toner in
the middle. At least they were whole wheat which when not combined with
copious amounts of oil and preservatives can be healthy. And yes, they were
delicious — but like hot dogs or sausage, I suggest you don’t examine the
inside of this “delicacy” before eating.
But who am I kidding, I am living trade show to trade show this week and
next, I see more rotary phones than healthy snacks . And Vegas? I ate at
buffets in Orlando, I imagine I will see a few in Vegas as well. We are all
about efficiency at TMC — if we can save 10 minutes on a meal and spend
that time finding better ways to serve our customers, we will.
The mood of companies I have met with so far is cautious optimism. There
seems to be a consensus that Q1 of next year will improve and many companies
have decided to cut marketing budgets until that time. Here is the rub. If
things merely stabilize or don’t improve and your pipeline of new leads is
drying up, you are categorically screwed (a fitting marketing term). I know
marketing and PR are easy line items to kill — and I realize I work for a
company that benefits from marketing budgets not being cut — I would just
remind you that if you cut marketing to save jobs, you aren’t saving jobs,
you are likely costing more jobs but delaying immediate layoffs.
And it seems necessary to tell you TMC is on track to have a good year. We
had a record show as many of you know — filled with buyers at ITEXPO in
Miami — and our online business is doing well — we have 150-200 online
customers a month or so. What is more important however is that most every
one of our customers is having a good year — relative to their competition
and the industry.
There are no easy answers when managing a company in a slow economy and
every case is different but the companies which are marketing are doing
better than those who have decided to hide under a rock until sales pick up.
And remember, it is very difficult to increase sales if you have few if any

  • ProductionPrints
    April 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    That’s pretty funny about Southwest. I understand the paranoia first hand. Just got back from Lake Tahoe on Monday, and they canceled my Oakland leg of the flight, so I was put on a non-stop flight from Reno to LAX instead. Needless to say, I ended up at LAX and my bag ended up in Burbank!
    We help exhibitors for CTIA every year. Great show, and I’ve heard a lot of success coming out of this show every year. -Jeff

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