I had a meeting this morning in Troy. Normal travel time to this particular venue is 25 minutes. I gave myself 30, and arrived 31 minutes late. Ah, well. I only need two words to tell you why — crash, construction — and it was worth the trip anyway, because someone told me a good story, and now I offer it to you:
It was about the very first website design the storyteller ever did. It was 1993, before the Web. The client, a large automotive supplier, wanted an online resource for the company’s many locations, and came to an ad agency to get one. The agency’s biggest issue was with billing; no one could agree on what, exactly, they were doing, and how the client should be charged — was it media, service or something else? They finally settled on a quote of $700,000, based on billable staff hours. The client paid without dickering.
Today’s clients were shown a website design that would make the automotive supplier’s site look like a cave painting (which is was, comparatively). They will pay considerably less than $700,000. Don’t emerging technologies have interesting economics?
I like this account for the same reason Diane Keaton’s character in “Manhattan” did novelizations: It’s easy, and it pays well. And I like it for lots of non-specific ones that stem from it being my sole non-journalism writing gig, and as such, offers me entree into the exciting world of American business. My boss on this project can sling meeting jargon with the best of them, and I like to jot it down, if only to look busy in the meetings — “build out” is a big phrase now, and today I heard “loop” used as a verb in a non-knitting sense. We’re going to build out our timeline, and loop Bob and Bill along the way.
Unless Bob and Bill get caught in traffic, that is. Interesting tidbit from the jam: When I knew I was going to be late, I called to tell them so. I didn’t have the number in my phone, but I did have it in my laptop. Since I was stopped, I opened it up and searched my inbox. This was near an underpass. You Mac users know that when a wifi-enabled laptop can’t find its home network, it scans for open ones in the area and gives you a dialogue box: “None of your trusted wireless networks can be found. Would you like to join (the one with the strongest signal)?” Today that one was called “bridge 1,” presumably the overpass just ahead. It had a wifi network, presumably for the traffic signals. I can’t think what else a bridge would need wireless for, unless it’s surfing bridge porn during lulls in traffic.
I wonder if the network cost $700,000 to set up. Likely far, far more. And what do we really need? A new bridge.
Because of my late start and busy morning, no bloggage. But feel free to bat the ball around in the comments anyway, while I go look for some, or maybe clean my family room. What to do, what to do?