Loaded charity worker Bill Gates appeared on US scream-fest Ellen recently and the show, hosted by actor Owen Wilson, did him up like a kipper. It was the oldest trick in the book for making rich people look mildly foolish: name the grocery store item price.
The first item was a packet of rice pilaf, which Gates guessed at $5, much to the mocking laughter of the audience. Turns out it was a dollar. He also went for $4 for laundry detergent which was $19.97. The audience then engaged in some collective tutting and head-shaking as if Gates had failed to name his own children.
To be fair, it's not a good look for a tech lead, who is worth over $90bn, to not know how much a packet of obscurely flavoured rice would cost.
To show my Dodgi staff that I've lost none of my common-man touch, we played the same game. I got within 20p of the jellied eels price and got the ￡2.90 pie, mash and liquor cost on the nose. The smell of Aunt Daggers' Friday special was never going to get past me.
Pane in the glass
After revolutionising the tech landscape, vendor giant Apple is now able to cherry-pick the industry for the brightest talent available. Turns out you can still be stupid enough to walk into glass though.
Employees in Apple Park, the firm's new glass spaceship-style headquarters in California, keep walking straight into glass doors and windows. During the first month alone three employees walked or ran into the ultra-transparent glass.
We're not talking a minor clatter you can style out either; all three needed emergency medical treatment, according to recordings of 911 calls obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Birds flying into the gigantic $5bn four-storey glass circle building has always been a problem, but as birds are no good at making phones no one gave a stuff.
However, since Blake from screen framing and Callie from marketing have totalled themselves, it's now a legitimate problem.
The issue seems to be that employees of Apple, the company with the modestly named Genius Bar for tech support, are unable to see where the wall ends and the door starts on account of their both being glass.
According to Bloomberg, distracted workers on their iPhones have been walking into glass walls around the office so they resorted to putting yellow sticky notes on the doors to help. However, much like a fancy-looking phone which has the battery lifespan of a mayfly, design ruled over functionality and the sticky notes were reportedly removed because they distracted from the building's design. Instead, Apple has reportedly put rectangular stickers on some of the glass to avoid further injuries.
No such problems walking into the red bricks of Dodgi HQ, but the asbestos in the ceiling has caused some minor respiratory problems for accounts.
Giving the smart sell
During a panel discussion at Fortinet's Accelerate 18 event in Las Vegas, channel players were given advice on how to approach end users.
"I'd caution you on leaving voicemails," warned PIMCO's global information security officer, Daniel Hooper. "I get probably 50 calls a week from various people, and I don't check my voicemails anymore because there's just too many of them. It's overwhelming."
Renee Tarun, VP of internal security at Fortinet, told partners to make sure they are "doing their homework".
"Everyone calls and says ‘I've got the number one solution to your problem'. Well, tell me you understand my problems. Tell me what I need, what I'm looking for. Understand what I'm trying to solve before you tell me you've got the number one solution," Tarun said.
Fair enough, I guess, but this all got me thinking about my top five sales techniques. So for the first time ever, here they are:
1. Offer to drop a client off at their offices after a sales meeting, but drive five minutes past their building, ignoring their pleas. When you finally stop the car, turn and say "at Dodgi, we go the extra mile for you", before pushing them out and ignoring their calls for a week.
2. Pretend you don't know any of the vendors they currently use and purposefully get the vendor's name wrong when you say it back. For example: "You're on the Micro-cough platform?", or "Your networking is done by Disco?!" Sneer at their failure to acknowledge Namibia as a global tech hub.
3. Tech leaders such as Elon Musk are famous for their bookworm habits, so have an impressive library in your office for sales meetings. Drop your reading habits into conversation. For example, "Barry Manilow really opens up in his fourth autobiography".
4. As a potential client sleeps at night sneak into their bedroom with a Jason Voorhees' Friday 13th mask. Let out a bellowing scream and when they wake with a terrified start say "scary, eh? Not as scary as failing to have the latest firewall security software".
5. As they say in retail, eye level is buy level. Hold a router in their face at all times.
■ Dave Diamond-Geezer, director of Digital Online Deals and Global Integration (Dodgi) of Dagenham Ltd.
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