Published on: June 23, 2010...sponsored by TCC, “changing shopper behavior”
Just got into London via a United flight that arrived at Heathrow at about 7:30 am local time. From there it was a reasonably efficient trip through Customs and Immigration, a walk through the maze-like corridors of Heathrow to the Express train that runs to Paddington Station, and then a cab ride to my hotel, where I now sit in the lobby awaiting the availability of a room.
(The London arrival, it must be said, was not as bad as getting through immigration and Customs in San Francisco, where they seemed to have about half as many stations open as were available, despite the long lines of people arriving from all of Asia. But it all pales in comparison to departing Sydney. I departed on the train from Circular Quay, downtown by the wharves, at 10:30 am...and I managed to get to the International Terminal, get my ticket, check my bag, get through Customs, walk through the bazaar-like Duty Free section and find my way to the Air New Zealand Lounge...which takes in itinerant United Red Carpet Club members...in all of 55 minutes. Remarkable. I got an email from an MNB user who had forwarded my previous raves about the Sydney mass transit system to an Australian relative, and got an email back saying that I was having the rare good experience. If this be true, then maybe I should go to Vegas, because my Australian luck was uniformly superb.)
If it seems that I digress, it is because I have less to report on this morning than I have over the past week or so, and certainly less than I expect to have during my coming days at the 2010 Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Summit. (This starts in just a few hours, with a speech - hopefully a passionate and riveting one, considering that I am sleep and time zone-challenged - from Prince Charles about sustainability. I plan an update later today, and will keep you apprised.)
While my schedule and a need to ration my energy has kept me from posting email as I normally do on MNB, it is not that I haven’t been reading them. I have. And one question that I have heard over and over - almost as often as the email suggesting, quite correctly that I am “living the dream” - is the one asking what exactly I carry around with me on trips like these that allows me to keep putting out MNB. (I have gotten one email from someone who suggested that if I did not put out MNB nobody would notice or care...but I prefer not to take that personally.)
I assume that the question refers to work materials, since I cannot imagine that my wardrobe choices would be of much interest to anyone. (Just in case, here it is. Unless a jacket is required, I spend all my time in jeans, sneakers and black t-shirts. I have a black merino wool v-neck sweater in case it gets cool, and a cotton LL Bean jacket in case it gets damp. Other than that, it is one black sports jacket, one pair of slacks, one navy blue suit, four dress shirts, a couple of ties - worn under protest and only when absolutely required - black shoes and - here is where it gets complicated - a tux for the black tie event at CGF on Friday night. When things start to run out, I use hotel laundry services. It may be a two-week trip, but it all pretty much has to fit in one garment bag, with overflow going into the gym bag I carry onboard with me.)
As for my work bag...let me give you the basic rundown.
• First, the bag itself is important. I’ve taken years, and gone through dozens of bags, to find one that I really like ... and it is only in the last few months that I think I’ve finally landed on the best one I’ve ever had - a large black Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 bag that is lightweight ballistic nylon, with plenty of pockets, lots of space, and a TSA-approved construction that allows me to unfold the computer case when it goes through security rather than actually taking the computer out of the bag. This is a wonderful piece of luggage ... and cost a whopping $120, far less than other inferior bags that I’ve tried.
• Fifteen-inch MacBook Pro laptop, with a power cord. Plus, a power cord made especially for airline seats - some seats take normal plugs, but some don’t, and it is important to have options. The laptop is the nerve center - everything about MNB from the last eight years is on it, plus all the various drafts of book chapters, video scripts, billing records, etc. (The only downside of being on the road is that the Apple Time Machine system doesn’t back things up with the regularity that it does at home.)
• Two iPods - an iPod classic and an iPod Touch, each with its own earbud, and one power cord for both of them. Why two? Because I’m paranoid about being stuck somewhere without all the various movies, TV shows and music that I have loaded onto them. And, of course, pictures of my wife and kids. They take up almost no space, so my paranoia doesn’t have any negative packing consequences.
• My iPhone. Natch.
• A power converter for global electric plugs.
• A memory stick with a USB plug.
• My Kindle. Can’t live without it. (Until, at least, I get an iPad.) After finishing “In A Sunburned Country,” I was able to move seamlessly to “Killing Floor,” the first Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child, whose books I have never read but are highly recommended.
• On this trip, three file folders with actual paper in them - one with details of the NACS Global Forum, one for the CGF Summit, and one with some backup travel documents, just in case.
• A notebook that will fit in a jacket pocket for when I’m covering these various conferences. I like the Rhodia pads that look like graph paper, but that’s just me.
• Two pens - both Cross ballpoints, one of which my family gave me to autograph copies of “The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies.” (Available, by the way, from Amazon.com or by clicking here
• Three copies of “The Big Picture”...because you never know who you are going to meet at a conference or sit next to on a plane.
• A recent copy of The New Yorker
• Spare glasses, plus sunglasses.
• My passport. I actually carry my passport with me everywhere, even on domestic trips. Never was a Boy Scout, but I believe in being prepared. (I also always have a few Euros and British pounds in my wallet, which I say is my way being prepared, though Mrs. Content Guy says it is an affectation. Either way, I’m ready.)
• A $50 bill in a hidden zippered pocket. Again, just in case.
That’s it. Everything the well-equipped 2010 road warrior/pundit/author/video producer needs to survive two weeks on the road. And hopefully enough to allow me to have what I keep saying every business should have - a differential advantage to compete in a crowded marketplace.
As soon as I can, I’ll post relevant retail pictures from my Sydney trip on our MNB Facebook page
.Thanks, as always, to TCC ... which is sponsoring “The Content Guy On The Road.” TCC
offers customized retail marketing programs that change shopper behavior - attracting new customers and building customer loyalty...generating 4-5 percent sales increases and expanding basket sizes...generating in-store excitement and creating real and tangible differential advantages for your stores.
For more information, Click here.