Lifestyles of the rich and famous

I’m spending the week on a business trip to San Jose. The company put me up at the very tony Valencia Hotel which is located in Santana Row. Wikipedia says that “Santana Row was intended to be Northern California’s answer to Rodeo Drive featuring the one of the highest concentration of luxury retailers in the Western United States.” Oh. My. God. I have never seen such conspicuous consumption, especially the cars. The hotel offers valet parking, but in the evenings, they park a few cars in front of the hotel, not in the garage. I’m not sure what it takes to get your car parked conspicuously on Santana Row, but tonight there was a blinged-out Rolls Royce and several other extremely expensive cars in the hotel’s valet spaces. It’s obscene, really.
UPDATE: A fellow hotel guest told me this morning that one of the other cars in front of the hotel last night was a sports car (I don’t remember which brand) that sells for $1.2MM.

Hey, I used to work there!

The NY Times reported yesterday that the former Bell Labs headquarters in Holmdel, NJ, will be demolished (here is the building on Google maps/satellite). It’s too bad that it’ll be destroyed; it’s an amazing–and amazingly large–building.
I worked at that building for a few months in 1996/7. My first official job in Internet technologies was contracting for AT&T. This was just after the AT&T/Lucent split, and the though the Holmdel building had gone to Lucent, the AT&T that group I worked with was still located there. Due to a strange convergence of facts (I was a contractor who was hired from a non-personnel budget, the building belonged to Lucent, space was tight), I did not have an office until the AT&T group that I worked for moved to an AT&T building. I spent my few months in Holmdel in a testing lab. The lab was located in the corner of a HUGE server room: 65 degrees, roaring computers. The lab was only marginally quieter and warmer. It was quite an experience.

Another blogging lull

I seem to be experiencing another blogging lull. Mostly, it’s caused by being more engaged in other areas of my life, especially my new job. Stay tuned; I’m sure I’ll be posting more again soon.

I want to be a biz school prof, too

According to this no-duh article, shoppers have reported the following problems:

  • 50 per cent have had a retail problem.
  • The main problems are time it takes to find parking or the product the consumer wants, and unknowledgeable or rude staff
  • The bigger the store, the higher the chance there will be a problem
  • Men are less loyal than women.*

After analyzing the results of the survey, Wharton School marketing professor Stephen Hoch made the following recommendations:

If businesses want to stop the bleeding from negative word-of-mouth, it’s clear that they need to invest in ensuring that each customer experience is first rate – from adequate parking, to trained front-line staff, to the right product mix, both in stock and on the shelves.

Boy, the sponsors of the survey got their money’s worth with that astounding act of analysis.
* That’s a shocker!