Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I am back from Houston

Ah...Houston, land of...well, who knows what the hell is in Houston. I spent Sunday through Wednesday either in Houston, Texas, conducting a fishbowl/focus group exercise on customers, or in the air from or to Houston, . I think there are some people in my work group who felt that this was a glamorous assignment - fly to distant lands, meet customers, review their opinions, go to fancy dinners, dance with loose women. Primarily it involved getting on a teeny tiny three row Continental Embraer ERJ-145-XR (pictured here - best part was watching someone from the business unit hit his head on the ceiling - not the luggage storage, the actual ceiling)and flying into Houston and getting to the Hotel Derek (snazzy, as Eryn would say) just in time to check in and fall asleep. Derek is a very nice hotel...except the king size bed is still short enough that my feet hang off the edge of the bed (yes yes I can sleep across the diagonal, but I end up flipping back around and waking up anyway).

Monday morning, up bright and early, have some breakfast at the hotel, travel directly to the focus group (really, just one focus user at a time) area, and watch them through a one-way pane while sitting in a dark room for 12 hours, leaving only to get a burrito and bring it back to eat. Nice office - but the morning pineapple and 7 other people get a little stale after a work day and a half. Back to the hotel - have a quick scotch with beer chaser (best part was a business unit person hearing me refer to two women as older and ask if I had called them whores), then fall asleep.

Up early on Tuesday, check out, 8+ more hours watching users, then brave rush hour to the airport. Sit around for a while because storms have kept the flight crew in NOLA, then get on the way - Minneapolis by just before midnight, home before just after midnight. Get up 6 hours later to go to a regular work day. Ah...the glamour of business travel...I learned a lot, and not just that Hilary Duff is from Houston and that the Houston shopping district uses Lucy Liu as a model for their $8,000 blouses - actual good user feedback about our product. But damn if sitting in a little dark room for 12 hours isn't worse than drinking all day.

I didn't get a picture of me inappropriately touching George Bush, Sr., at the George Bush International Airport (Pooteewheet's probably right - there's either a law against it, or I'd be face to face with an armed Texan), but I did take a very nice picture of me relaxing on a Texan cow chair. Don't have one at your house? They're very comfortable.


Anonymous said...

I use to do this quite often, travel throuhout the US on business. Sometimes fly in fly out, or drive for 4 hours be in a meeting for an hour then 4 hours back. Welcome to the traveling working world.

Steve Eck said...

Yeah, your trip sounds like practically every business trip I've been on. Plane, Hotel, Work site, Hotel (repeat as needed), Plane.

Very exciting.

Scooter said...

Are there always cow chairs?