Bernard rang the other day. Or it might have been Jim. He was ringing to tell me he'd just joined Watchamacallit Peripherals. "Yeah, I tried that other mob, but it wasn't my style," he explained. The trouble is, he regularly calls me with that same story. Now Bernard (or is it Jim?) is a nice bloke. He's friendly, he has a way with words and he likes working in the computer industry. When he starts a new job he's like a demon, collecting all the facts and doing his research till he knows more about it than any other employee. Go to one of Bernard's media lunches or reseller roadshows and you'll hear how quarter-inch streaming tapes or double-sided mouse pads or embedded-Java applets are the BEST. Not only is it an upcoming technology, but it's the only real way a reseller can make any money today.
Remember this is Bernard I'm talking about here. I'm not talking about Geoff (or was that Melanie?) who adds the step of going bankrupt and leaving the country for a few months rest between the "Hi Paul" calls.
When Bernard calls I like to listen because he's a nice bloke. But then, unlike you, I'm not buying from him. I'm not saying that I get complaints from resellers about the Bernards of this world. In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised that I don't. What it probably comes down to is that Bernards don't cheat you or take your money without shipping the product. Instead, they simply grow tired of where they are (or perhaps someone grows tired of them) and they move on.
Perhaps ARN needs a regular "Whatever happened to . . ." column where we could list the familiar industry faces and their latest contact details. There's a lot to be said for having your own, private e-mail address in this business: how much of your e-mail will your old boss pass along to you, do you think?
There is a place in the world for Bernards. Who else could do such a good job comparing and contrasting the working conditions throughout the industry?
It's like having access to an entire Rotary club in one person. You can easily spot Bernards by the dozen or so different business cards you have with their name on them.
Note: Names used in this column have been severely mixed around to please the lawyers. No real person is implied or meant to be inferred.