dot.bomb

Miserable flight

by Michael Alderete on 11/24/2004

We flew to Austin for Thanksgiving with Rochelle’s family today. The flight was horrible, not for the usual reason, not because of anything the airline did or because air travel the day before Thanksgiving is near chaos. No, it was just horrible passengers.

It all started so well. We made it through the security line without a huge wait or hassels. We headed to the bar with plenty of time to down a couple of double vodka tonics each. And we walked onto our plane without any issues of overcrowded overhead bins, etc. We medicated ourselves further, and then settled into our audiobook, thinking this was going to be an easy flight.

Then some skate rat hits my arm and tray table on his way past, and knocks my red wine into my lap. Not so much as an excuse me. The flight attendant was great, giving me club soda and another mini of wine, but I still had to sit in soaked pants for the rest of the flight, and until we got to our hotel room.

Then on our approach into Austin, we had to turn off all personal electronics, and thus listen to our fellow passengers. Crying babies are one thing (and we had that going in stereo), but two tech people from the Bay Area swapping dot.com-era stories, in over-loud, penetrating voices from the seats directly behind us sent Rochelle over the edge. My god, hasn’t everyone told or heard that same damn story a hundred times by now? It’s only interesting the first time — except, apparently, to the person telling it to the stranger sitting next to them, who is only pretending fascination so they can tell their own story next.

Note to dot.bomb participants and victims: This is 2004, it’s been three years, your stories are officially boring. Find something new to talk about, please!

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Where the promo parties went, part 2

by Michael Alderete on 10/4/2003

When Rochelle proposed we go out Thursday, I asked her, given she is planning a summer picnic for 100 people and has a school assignment due, both on Saturday, if she should be going out drinking. She said it was OK, but we absolutely could not go anywhere else after.

So of course, when the guy sitting on the bar stool next to me told us about The Glenlivet party that was starting in 30 minutes, we decided to crash that one, too. (Thank god I decided to bathe yesterday!)

We finished our drinks, paid our tab, and zipped across town. Finding a parking space was remarkably easy, but in spite of that, we were still 20 minutes late.

No problem! The program has already started, just go in and find yourselves seats. We won’t hold you up here with any registration crap, since then you’d miss the wonderful information our speaker is imparting! Woohoo!

The program was actually a vertical tasting of four Glenlivet Scotches, very cool. It was clearly a promotional program for The Glenlivet; I’m sure they’re doing dozens of these around the country, hoping to raise awareness for Scotch and The Glenlivet.

Rochelle and I have been to a few of these kinds of parties (a few times we were even invited). Done well, people leave feeling like they learned something cool, that they can now be the expert on this subject in their social circle. Ideally, they turn into enthusiasts and evangelists for the product. (God knows we have on the subject of tequila, so we know this does work.)

In other words, there is both thought and purpose behinds these kinds of promotional events — unlike so many of the dot.bomb parties that were thrown. People are still getting drunk on Marketing’s dollar, but Marketing can explain clearly what they plan to get out of it, and in all likelihood, can point to improved regional numbers afterwards.

Now we just need to figure out how to learn about these types of parties in a predictable, repeatable way, instead of by randomly talking to strangers in bars.

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Where the promo parties went, part 1

by Michael Alderete on 10/3/2003

Yesterday at 3pm Rochelle asked me if I wanted to go out, to a party she had seen posted on Chowhound.com, at a local bar, Butter. She included the description of the event, which explained that the Food Network was going to be there, shooting footage of Butter’s unique approach to bar food, and there would be free food samples and giveaway goodies. Most importantly, there would be 25¢ pints of beer, and $2 cosmos. I was in like Flint, as they say.

I got there before Rochelle, and watched the Food Network crew of three methodically lighting and shooting individual servings of Butter’s food, which Butter calls “White Trash Bistro cuisine.” I.e., Spaghetti-O’s, corn dogs, Frito pie, Tater Tots. That sort of thing.

Now, Rochelle and I both have a high appreciation for the possibilities of that kind of food. In the right hands, re-imagined, it could be amazing. Indeed, one of our favorite dishes at Memphis Minnie’s is the Frito pie, because it’s Bob’s own chili on the Fritos, and Bob’s chili is amazingly good.

Alas, Butter is literally opening cans of Spaghetti-O’s, and canned chili, and bags of Tater Tots, etc., and heating ‘em up before serving. Worse, they’re mostly using a microwave to heat them up. Microwaved Tater Tots are not good. Only the corn dogs were decent, and even those would have been better if they’d been deep fried, the way god intended.

Fortunately, you have enough 25¢ beers and you stop worrying about the food. The beer was Pabst, but at 25¢, it’s hard to complain. And the bartenders were all friendly and fun, we had a good time talking to Frank in particular.

The best part, to us, was the giveaways. We each got a baseball cap with the bar logo on it. Truly, I have reached the pinnacle of head attire, now that I have a hat that says “butter” on it. Everything’s better with butter, so I plan to wear the cap everywhere.

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Dot.com Daze: End of daze

by Michael Alderete on 2/20/2001

Today will probably be my last day going into my job. I’ve cleaned out my desk, packed home my stuff, and pretty much just want to use the printer and copy a few things onto Zip disks. And so ends my Cymerc days.

We are going on a bender tonight, my former co-workers and I. One last hurrah, and all that…

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Dot.com Daze: Liquidity event

by Michael Alderete on 2/19/2001

I got my expense check today! Deposited it immediately, of course. Now I just have to wait and see if it clears…

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Dot.com Daze: Accounting knows more than you think

by Michael Alderete on 2/19/2001

I heard today that our controller, who had known that our demise was immanent, was completely drunk at the all-hands meeting where our CEO announced that we were dead. Poor George, knowing what was coming for weeks, he could not tell us. It must have sucked.

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Dot.com Daze: Spoils of war

by Michael Alderete on 2/19/2001

My Aeron chair, should I choose to purchase it at the “fair market value,” is going to be around $500. It’s one of those badges of honor, or something, from the dot.commer experience. I think, even though I’m currently unemployed, that I’m going to buy it.

Follow-up: the company’s landlord chose to “purchase” a large percentage of Cymerc’s physical assets (furniture), including all the Aeron chairs, in exchange for outstanding rent, or something. Our CEO “forgot” I wanted mine, and I hadn’t properly labeled it, so I lost out. Oh, well…

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Dot.com Daze: Cymerc is dead

by Michael Alderete on 2/13/2001

Today the CEO of my company called an all-hands meeting, to announce that he was 99.99% sure we were not going to be funded, and that we were closing down the business, effective today. It was a shock to all of us; only a few people knew in advance. Supposedly we’ll get paychecks for the first half of this month, and hopefully “severance” pay through the end of the month.

Fortunately, my resume is up-to-date. ;-)

Unfortunately, I have over $3,500 in expenses that haven’t been paid…

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