When I stopped writing about telly and telly-making technology I unsubscribed from all kinds of magazines and press release lists and moved on. I still get one called Prompt from a bloke called David Sparks, which I really enjoy and wouldn't want to unsubscribe to. I was never close friends with David or anything and his old magazine was far too technical for me, but he always provided an incredible function in gluing this particular business community together. Here's a flavour in this month's intro:
Apologies - its publication is a little later than scheduled. I have been distracted, not least by an extraordinary event last Friday. My local pub - 'The Thatchers' - hosted the wake of a well-respected local Hell's Angel.
He died in a crash on the M4 motorway earlier in the week. Over 150 bikers from Chapters all over the UK (and Holland, Germany and South Africa) made a procession through Reading, from the Church to the Crematorium, and then headed for the pub. A sad event - but nevertheless amazing. Those immaculate, but amazingly loud, big bikes! The Angels, mainly seven foot tall and sporting multiple tattoos and long grey beards, were some of the most polite and courteous people I have ever met. I salute them!
Top chap that he is, David still publishes the lists of all the press conferences at trade shows like IBC and NAB even though I get the impression he doesn't go any more.
I must admit I don't even have a passing curiosity about what Quantel and Avid Technology are exhibiting at IBC, but I always look out for David's jokes, obituary notes and wise fables, like this:
An unemployed man applies for a job with Microsoft as a cleaner. The manager there arranges for him to take an aptitude test. Afterwards, The manager says, "You will be employed as a cleaner at the minimum wage. Give me your e-mail address so I can send you a form to complete before you start."
The applicant admits he has neither an e-mail address nor a computer.
The manager replies that there is little hope of him ever starting work there as, in reality, he doesn't exist.
The jobseeker leaves and with his last $10 note buys some tomatoes which he sells in the market at 100% profit.
Repeating the process, he ends the day with $100 in his pocket.
It dawns on him he could make a living selling tomatoes. Long days mean his profits multiply rapidly. A pick-up truck multiplies his profits and, two years later, he is the owner of a multimillion dollar enterprise with a fleet of trucks, all transporting and selling tomatoes.
Planning for the future, he decides to buy some life assurance. His adviser picks a suitable plan and asks for an e-mail address to send the final documents electronically.
When the man replies that he has no e-mail address, the adviser is stunned.
"What! No e-mail?", he says. "How on earth have you managed to amass such wealth without the internet, e-mail and e-commerce? Just imagine where you'd be now if you had been connected to the internet from the very start."
"Well," replies the tomato millionaire, "I'd be a cleaner at Microsoft!"
Keep it up Sparky!