I have been fortunate to participate in a number of customer appreciation days lately. Although these events have the common theme of a true appreciation of the customer, each independent telco puts their unique stamp on their particular event. Whether in a high school gymnasium or a parking lot, these events bring together their respective communities. Another common theme of these events is that, in some way, the telco shows their appreciation by providing a meal to their customers, while giving something to the overall community.
In Weare, New Hampshire, Granite State Communications provided recognized one of their community leaders who had led an effort to improve the local youth sports’ facility. The award recipient was surprised and befitting this busy volunteer had to keep his thank you speech short, as he had to run off to coach his youth football team. This particular event gave Granite State Communications a chance to introduce their new name (the service provider formerly known as Granite State Telephone). This 132-year new service provider also had a chance to show case their state of the art fiber network. Click here to watch the video.
The folks at Citizens Telephone Cooperative in New Auburn, WI learned that autumn weather could be unpredictable, so they have moved their customer appreciation days into the local high school gymnasium. This is all-weather solution not only kept attendees warm, but it put a little money into the coffers of the high school. Citizens had some cool tech classes for their customers and it was a treat and surprise to run into TCA’s David Lewis and his wife Patty at the event. Citizens created a win-win for the volunteer fire department by providing a sizable donation in exchange for a delicious BBQ chicken lunch prepared by these brave fire fighters. Click here to watch the video.
Intel to Battle Qualcomm for Mobile Computing Leadership by Alan Weissberger
For those interested in mobile computing and mobile WiMAX, there were several important take-aways from last week’s Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco. CA. Most importantly, Intel made it clear that they intend to dominate the mobile computing silicon and software space. But Intel will face stiff competition from Qualcomm, which is already moving their technology into smart phones, eBook readers, Mobile Internet Devices, and other hand held devices. Click here to read the rest of the article.
Millionaire in the Next Seat
It must be Arizona, as the last time I felt inspired enough to write about a conversation I had on an airplane was one I shared with an elderly schoolmarm and her husband while traveling from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Like that trip so many years ago, I was somewhat stressed on this one as I had flight cancellations and had a daunting six hour drive ahead of me, once I landed at 8:30 PM. There was no turning back, however, as I had to be at my destination by at least 9:00 AM the next morning.
Stuffed into the window seat of the last row in the cattle car they call an airplane, I noticed that the fellow who had the middle seat was pretty imposing. In one of those rare moments of current airplane travel, we struck up a conversation. I don’t know how it got started, but soon, I knew where he had attended college, how he had a bit of celebrity as a state body building champion and how he had been married 4 times. What got my attention was when he told me how much his last divorce cost him; all I could think was how I wish I had that amount of money in my 401k.
Despite his lack of success with wedded bliss, I soon found out that he knew how to build a prosperous business. He said that one of the secrets to his success was having a diverse and relatively large customer base that cut across segments. Because of this strategy, his business hasn’t been affected by the downturn nearly as much as those with fewer large customers in fewer segments.
He also emphasized the importance of the local connection in helping him compete against larger corporation with their more centralized decision making process. The one bit of success he did have from his marriage was his relationships with his three sons. Their involvement in the business was allowing him to gain market share and build the foundation for growth during the recovery.
I wish I had recorded detailed notes, as I could have learned a great deal from this millionaire in the next seat. Although, he didn’t share the millionaire characteristic of a single marriage as described in the classic book, The Millionaire Next Door, he impressed me with his frugality by sitting in coach when his large frame would have been physically more comfortable in first class. His entrepreneurial optimism gave me hope that we are at the low point in the economy and that we will soon see a turn-around. I just wish I could do something to speed up the recovery for my friends who are looking for work.