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But I can't find a Pepsi anywhere...

Flying into Atlanta Tuesday brought it all back. It’s been a long, long time since I traveled anywhere other than North Jersey or Montgomery County, Maryland while on the job. In a previous professional life, I worked these these huge sales training meetings that required flying a team of ten or twenty people into places slightly more glamorous. Places people might consider giving a body part to go to.

As much as I miss the venues, I miss the camaraderie more. AV and graphic techs, meeting planners, project managers, manager-managers, trainer-trainers. We were like an invading army, piling off planes and into vans, setting up camp in the on-site office and taking over the meeting rooms, unpacking box after box of supplies, subduing vast expanses of carpeted, air conditioned ballroom territory and making it serve our purposes. Putting in killer hours and putting out countless fires.

What I don’t miss are the things we needed to do back then to make sure everything went well. Things that technology has since made unnecessary.



For instance, we were still using 35mm slides. They needed to be in fragile glass mounts (plastic mounts tend to warp and jam the projector) and hand numbered with a sharpie. There was no putting a quick backup copy of your slide files on a thumb drive and tossing it into a your bag. You needed to hand-carry two complete sets of slides to the meeting, preferably using different people on different flights.


All of this was done in observance of the most important of the Ten Commandments of Doing Everything Possible to Avoid Screwing Up a Presentation: If you can’t do without it, make sure you don’t have to.

It’s sort of like this: if you need to have Pepsi, and you’re headed for Atlanta, be sure to bring your own. The hard part is knowing that you’ll need to do so.

Your Turn:

Technology might have made it unnecessary to do things like carrying two brick-like sets of 35mm slides to every meeting but unfortunately, it has made other, new precautions necessary. Which of these new, technology-driven precautions are driving you absolutely crazy. You can use the comment area to vent about it if you need to.

9 comments to But I can’t find a Pepsi anywhere…

  • Hi Lee!

    This is what I do when I can't find a Pepsi anywhere …


    That's me performing there; we entered this video for a radio station Pepsi promotional campaign. Just thought it matched your post title so well :)

    Best wishes,
    – Marcel

  • OK, how did you do that? Very cool. Spooky but I wish it really was that easy. Thanks for stopping by.

  • “places slightly more glamorous”……

    Do tell

  • Hi Jeremy. I'll start with my favorite — I got to stay at what was the Ritz-Carlton (it's now part of another chain) in Pasadena twice. They were filming interior scenes for the remake of The Parent Trap during one of my stays. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Lindsay Lohan. Relaxing after the meeting on my balcony overlooking the huge, perfectly groomed lawn in the back of the property and watching LA rise out of the haze as dusk fell is something I'll never forget.

    Some of the others: The Breakers Hotel & Resort in Palm Beach; the Boca Raton Resort & Club; the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Orlando; the Arizona Grand Resort, Phoenix (don't miss Rustler's Rooste); Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa, Phoenix; Hotel del Coronado, San Diego; El Conquistador Resort and Spa, Puerto Rico.

    It's amazing where knowing a little something about PowerPoint can take you.

    The places I usually stay at now while traveling for work also are very nice, it's just that the venues, as well the reasons for being there, are very different.

  • you have worked at one of my favorite resorts… the El Conquistador in Puerto Rico, and my least favorite resort to work in.. the Boca Raton Resort and Club!

    In todays Corporate Theater, you always have to have at least one USB Drive on you. It may be to grab a presentation from some doctors laptop, or just to grab your buddies stash of movies for the plane.
    We recently had a Doctor walk into the room while the presenter was on stage and tell us she needed to make a few slide changes. She was up next… in about 2 minutes. So, sorry.. but can I put a lapel on you while I have you here?
    She looked dumbfounded, and as the presenter on stage exited, we turned her towards the stage and gave her a gentle push!

  • Hi Steve,

    We got into Puerto Rico at about 2 am because of a snow storm in Philly. The roads were empty at that hour so the guy driving the hotel shuttle floored it all the way to the resort. Since we weren't tourists but very tired, very cranky corporate meeting peons, we begged him to turn off the promotional video that was blaring at us about all the fun we weren't going to have time to have. He wouldn't do it. We descended on the lobby, I think there were around ten of us, and since there was only one person behind the counter it took forever to get checked in. They didn't have any bell staff around they called people up from the laundry to show us to our rooms. Other than that, the El Conquistador rocked. We held an event on their island (which is really cool in and of itself) and I can still remember being blown away by how many more stars were visible from the deck of the boat on the way back than from anywhere else I've ever been.

    I really like that method for dealing with last minute changes, got to keep it in mind. I've been working on a post for a few weeks about 10 ways to piss off the AV staff and last minute changes is already on the list. It's one thing if it's fixing a serious error that could damage someone's credibility, but it can be difficult being as understanding when the changes are gratuitous, “power trip” changes.

    RE: USB drives, have you checked out the IronKey?

  • The El Conquistador is an amazing resort. I would like to visit one day. I've been to San Juan on a cruise but next time would like to stay in the El Conquistador.


  • The El Conquistador is an amazing resort. I would like to visit one day. I've been to San Juan on a cruise but next time would like to stay in the El Conquistador.


  • The El Conquistador is an amazing resort. I would like to visit one day. I've been to San Juan on a cruise but next time would like to stay in the El Conquistador.