Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Last Day of the Month

The last day of the month is an interesting time at my office. My company is doing very well financially and while it hasn't been as much fun for me lately as it was when I started, this is a great place to work.

The last day of the month though is about one thing at any company that is driven by the sales team. Booking revenue. The sales team is a bunch of young hungry guys and they walk in the last day prepared for battle. The office smells like toasting bagels in the morning and catered whatever around noon. If you walk over to the sales bullpen you can feel the buzz. The phones are ringing or keypads are being pounded. Voices are raised as the team passionately tried to close deals. Everytime someone walks to the board to put up a sale there are high fives. It isn't a boiler room environement per se, but there is that kind of a feel. The energy is burning in the room. Cans of Red Bull are pounded as the day goes on to keep energy levels up. The rest of the month, sales styles clash and tensions run high but on the last day of the month, when team bonuses and records are in reach there is one goal. As headsets are tossed aside and beers are opened at the end of the day, the sales team has almost always crossed the finish line victorious.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, January 26, 2007

Funny Commercial

I can't endorse Kyocera products, being as I haven't used any, but this is pretty funny.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Out of the carnage... Life will find a way

This is the story of six fish. The story of six little fishies that had the fortitude, the guile and the will to live. Six fish that bucked the odds, apparently hid under something and survived the Christmas carnage. Just the other day, when the winter weather here in Georgia abated and the temperatures climbed into the 70's I heard a rousing cry from the kitchen. I walked in to see what the ruckus was about and there, in my beloved koi pond were six survivors.

I didn't believe it at first. There had been a rumor that one survived, but I did not have personal visual confirmation. Then, just the other day, the six fish that survived the apocalypse showed themselves and proved once again that life will find a way. Turns out Jeff Goldblum was right.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Credit where it is due

Our internet access at home is completely screwed right now. We have Bellsouth DSL and for whatever reason we cannot access any websites save the Bellsouth home page. This, of course, is a significant problem, because both No Wife and I are wired people. We communicate with friends and family through the internet. We get our news from the internet. I work for an internet company and when I work from home I work on the internet. We are wired and right now we are disconnected. Our issues began yesterday at some point in the early afternoon. After I got home from basketball practice I called Bellsouth customer service and a rep named Jim spent over 2 hours on the phone with me trying different fixes. He was incredibly patient and extremely knowledgable. He was also reasonable and logical. We had a disagreement about the source of our DSL nightmare, but when I took him through the sequence of events that clearly laid the fault at the feet of Bellsouth he did not get belligerent or try to obfuscate. He simply said, "I have exhausted things on my end. Let's set up an appointment for a technician to come out to you." We set a time and hopefully things will be fixed on Thursday morning. It might have been the best customer service experience of my life. So I say bravo Bellsouth. Bravo!!

UPDATE: Apparently, it was a dns error that could have been fixed over the phone. I still give credit to Bellsouth, because the guy who came in fixed it immediately, but damn 2 hours on the phone for something that should have been a 30 second fix. Ouch!!

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bad luck in Atlanta

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know I am a HUGE fan of the Georgia Aquarium. We had season passes last year and would definitely consider them again in the future. I can't say enough about the place as detailed in my original review here. Unfortunately two of the most popular animals in the aquarium have passed on in a relatively short amount of time. Gaspar the Beluga Whale and Ralph the whale shark have both died in the last month. Gaspar had been significantly ill before he ever came to the aquarium so his death was not a huge surprise, but Ralph's death was sudden and has thrown the aquarium staff for a loop. Here are a couple of pictures I took of them last year.

Bye big guys. I'm gonna miss you.
Gaspar Ralph

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, January 12, 2007

They're dead to me #1

In an homage to my man Annoyed and his "People I can do without series." I am starting a posting series of my own, called "They're dead to me." This term originated in my vernacular when Chilis took their tuna steak sandwich off the menu. This pissed me off to no end and I have only eaten there under protest since. However, since Chilis being dead to me is old news we will dedicate this initial post to another restaurant that crossed the line.

The death of a fun restaurant franchise.

Every chain restaurant is basically the same. You walk in, are seated, place a quick drink order, order appetizers, are served appetizers, order food, are served appetizers, eat appetizers, are served food, eat food, order dessert, are served dessert, eat dessert, get check, pay check, leave. This happens, obviously, in varying degrees. Aside from menu items and style of food, there is very little variation to this. In fancier restaurants this is spread out over a couple of hours. In cheaper places you can be in and out in 30 minutes or less.

One way for a restaurant to differentiate itself is with its branding or style. The Cheesecake Factory, for example, has developed a concept that drives people to order dessert. How can you go to a restaurant called The Cheesecake Factory and not order a slice of cheesecake? Higher end places are carried by their name, Jean Georges, Nobu.

Another restaurant that formerly had a significant differentiator is the Rainforest Café. The food was decent, as good as any other chain, but the atmosphere was something special. The incredible fish tanks and décor, reflecting the sights and sounds of rainforests including animatronic animals and mock thunderstorms made it a really fun place to go. It was pricy, but not ridiculous and it was worth an extra couple of bucks an entrée when you factored in the user experience.

Last week No Family of Consequence dined at the Rainforest in Orlando, and while the décor, staff, and food were what they always were. The prices had skyrocketed. An average price of over 25.00 an entrée, 2.50 for a soda and 7.99 for a kids meal tells me that the restaurant is dying and in an effort to save itself it is raising prices to try and suck as much money as possible out of its guests one last time.

It is disappointing that sometime corporate America can be so uncreative. I love tilapia, as we know from this post, but 26.99 for a tilapia dinner at Rainforest means I will never be darkening their door again. Cute frog mascot and nice fish tanks or not, they are officially dead to me. Never to be spoken of again.

No 1 of Consequence