Saturday, 26 February 2011

Podium position

Yes, I know, I've been remiss. An absentee landlord, if you like. Although I'm not charging rent. And this isn't a building.

Ok, not like an absentee landlord, then. But I haven't posted anything here for a week. This is down to two main reasons:
  • The ongoing lack of reliable broadband. It's been on and off like a disco light (although kudos to VirginMedia; I posted the last thing on Twitter and within a day I had contact from VM's Twitter team to offer assistance).
  • I've actually been a little busy, and the last thing I really wanted to do this week after coming home from work was to sit down at another keyboard and wrangle more words into something resembling coherent thought.
One of the things taking my time over the last fortnight or so was the organisation of some corporate-style presentations. And, working on the basis that it's not terribly corporate for the speaker to rock up in a conference room with a laptop and a projector, we employed some experts to help.

And so I have been immersed in the audio-visual world. A strange world, alluring, yet alien. A world populated by a lot of guys in black polo shirts and combats, wielding those Gerber multi-tool things. I feel for these chaps (and they are always, to a man, men). They spend their professional lives watching presentation after presentation. Sometimes it might be glamourous. But more often than not you're going to be stuck at the business end of a week-long run of two-hour briefings on corporate re-engineering and financial balance sheet management. Either they've learned to sleep with their eyes open or they're a lot more professional than the rest of us.

I was talking to the team who was helping us as we approached the first presentation last week. As is normal for this sort of event, there was gentle background music playing to set the tone as the delegates walked in. And it was Zero 7's album, When It Falls. It's always When It Falls. It strikes the right note. Contemporary, yet fitting. It's unlikely to cause a scene.

I know this was a deliberate choice, because the conference gurus told me. They told me of a rival firm to theirs, who had been contracted to support a high profile conference for a Rather Big and Scary Multinational Pharmaceutical Company.

They hadn't chosen Zero 7. They just put random music through the PA. The Chairman of this Rather Big and Scary Multinational Pharmaceutical Company walked down to the podium. He was ready to tell the gathered masses how well they'd done over the previous 12 months. How they were making a real difference. How they had further pushed back the barriers of pharmaceuticals. And the music that greeted him?

This did not go down well.

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