Monday, August 28, 2006

Down with Ticketmaster!

Favors are a funny thing. Someone asks you to perform a service for them, usually out of the blue and you just have to do it. For me, the actual act is never an issue but it is very hard for me not to comment on the thing they are asking me to do. Last night for instance, my friend Rob asks me to get him tickets to a concert because he and his wife are going to be working today….

Not a big deal, just log on to Ticketmaster and get the tickets. Of course Rob decides to go see Kenny Chesney who is some famous country guy and tickets sold out the last time in 5 minutes. So I set myself up: I got all three computers refreshing every 2 seconds to get into Ticketmaster at 10AM to score these tickets. 10:03 AM I get in order the 4 tickets and then I notice…

First the tickets are $53 each – wasn’t country music supposed to be for the people? $53 dollars for some guy I never even heard of sounds pretty excessive and then TM hits you with processing charges of 10.50 – PER TICKET and a few other penalties – which is another 52 dollars! Buying tickets online is cheaper for the company – they don’t need to pay someone to sit at a booth or answer a phone and they hit you up with absolutely unfair and insane sur-charges.

It is time to really start to rethink the concert going process. Buy your tickets at the gates and let those clowns know why you did it. It isn’t fair that people have to shell out $70.00 per ticket for one concert. That is almost 6 CD’s worth of music. Also – tell the artist that you love so much to offer alternatives to TM. Pearl Jam did it and it definitely hurt their concert sales but it makes for a better show because only the die-hards show up. All this and I am not even buying the tickets for myself.

Get Yourself Connect

This was an article that I wrote for a company newsletter. The names and locations have been changed for...well it sounded good.

I hate computers. I truly and honestly have a tremendous amount of distaste for these plastic windows that peer into an artificial world created by well… us. I am sure most of the people reading this spend more time in front of a computer screen than with their wives/husbands/children/family/friends. I walk around the office and I hear people referring to the new AMD processors as sexy. Have we gone too far?

The swelling storm of technology is not coming upon us, we are in the middle of it. Everything around you is spinning, but look up and the sky is clear. Take a walk around the office today, look into some cubes, is the occupant in the cube zoning out in front of a monitor? How many times this past month have you seen someone take a picture with their phone? How many times have you sent an email to a person who sits 4 cubes away from you just to ask them a question? I promise you, I am going somewhere with this….Don’t get me wrong, all these toys server their purpose. People are more efficient, employees have electronic records of events to share with co-workers, and you have a paper trail the size of the Great Wall. But with this virtual existence, do you feel more connected with the people you work with? How many times do you find yourself on a conference call talking, and instant messaging with someone else, and replying to a bunch of emails, and doing whatever else? You are talking (heck lets call it broadcasting since your messaging is hitting a mass of people) yet you are all by yourself.

This isn’t all bad news, there are ways of getting around electronic exile and you might come off as an office hero. Make an effort to talk to someone in your building. If you owe Kyle in applications (who sits a floor down from you) a report, print it, get up and walk it over. Kyle will think it is nice, and you will have successfully escaped cubical jail for 10 minutes. Use instant messaging tools? Leave a Do Not Disturb Message saying something like “Don’t leave a message, need me, come to [Insert floor here], [insert Routing Code]” – this does work. I took enough sociology classes in college to know that human beings chemically react to each other when they are in close proximity (for good and for bad). From personal experience, I can get the job done much better when I am sitting in a room with someone instead of being on the phone. Live contact and making an impression makes all the difference. Last year, the group that I worked for was pushing very hard to keep a graduating co-op as a full time employee. While there were a few leads for him, nothing was concrete. I was leaving on a trip to the corporate HQ to work on a project and to attend a development program sponsored event and I asked the co-op to come along and meet some of the management he was applying with. While I won’t say that this trip alone sealed the deal, I know that it certainly helped that those people making the decisions knew who the candidate was on a personal level.

Yes, it is hard to rip yourself away from the desk, away from the laptop, and away from the cell phone, but if you really want to be effective, try to do it in person. We are living, moving, vibrant creatures that were designed to want to be around other like-minded creatures. We can fight this calling or embrace it and hopefully make your office life that much better.

New Blog

Hi everyone:
It seems like blogger has merged GMAIL accounts and has royally screwed up my blog - I will be moving some of my material over and then moving forward with this one.

Thanks for reading!
~ Joey