Saturday, November 16, 2002

Ohh, so much to tell, so little space....battled through jet lag to go and watch Carly Fiorina deliver a keynote speech at the Moscone Center. Gawd almighty, if I'd wanted to see an ad for HP I'd have just stayed in the hotel and watched CNN. So the tech industry's in a bit of rut, but honestly. People don't want super-hot new technology, said Carly. Good enough is good enough. What? And only HP is good enough. Harrumph. Oh, and Unix is not dead. Oh but it's Linux, Linux, Linux all the way, super-fast Linux clusters, "maximal capacity utilisation". Not a peep about Capellas and his mmm...juicy new job. Still, nice jacket, Carly.

Southwards by train to our work's headquarters, located on a stretch of reclaimed marshland and served by a godforsaken railway station with no taxis. A visiting speaker lectured us on marketing. "You don't create brand, your customers create brand" etc. It turned out that this guy was one of those old-school marketers who think that people are consumers and that therefore their only impulse is to receive. He was trying to market broadband. Making the same mistake as all the broadband marketers, everywhere, who think that success is predicated on getting people to receive stuff. Like all the other broadband marketers, he'd found by and large that people do not want to receive stuff, especially when that stuff consists of interactive buttons that show stats during basketball matches. Did he never think of finding out if people might actually want to broadcast stuff *up* the pipe? I thought, but didn't ask, cos everyone else was lapping it up.

Finally, took cab last night to the Mission (which turns out to be a bit like Hoxton but without the Nathans, or indeed any visible denizens at all) to see the Buckminster Fuller play, which was really great. Triangles rule, man. Had a bit of a shock when the actor, Ron Campbell, started on about Earth being a giant spaceship, and then came off the stage and up the stairs to where I was sitting and said to me "how was your trip last night?" I just gaped. Apparently though, my trip had been silent and beautiful. Slightly disorientated by the fact that the play is delivered as a monologue which is part autobiography, part science lecture, and there's a certain amount of audience participation (including the "Home, home in a dome" singalong). So you kind of want to start raising your hand and asking science questions, until you remember that you're not actually seeing Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller in front of you, but an actor. Weird.


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