Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My next computer company job and really learning the ropes III

Four months later I had a key role helping sales and business development. As with many things in life you have to ignore the naysayers – the naysayers in this case being the disgruntled foreigners who populated the bars and swore you couldn’t get accepted for doing anything other than teaching – and see what happens. I started off correcting the English, then restructuring the powerpoints…and pretty soon I was writing the reports and presentations and being taken along by sales to give them. The sales director wanted me to transfer but I wasn’t allowed because the chairman believed a foreigner should only be doing marketing – so I continued in my unofficial role. My unstructured set up had its advantages: I was a law unto himself and could learn anything I wanted as long as it didn’t cost money.

Still there was one thing I couldn’t do: propose features for the product because I wasn’t an engineer - I didn’t understand.

“Josh, we need a product proposal presentation for the new smart phone. You know, statistics for market potential etc. Do you think you could help?” asked the sales director.

“No problem,” I replied willing to ignore the fact that he was doing research to justify an existing product, rather than doing the research first. As I said they thought I had the background and knowledge to design the marketing strategy for a product that already existed, just wasn’t qualified to do the marketing strategy to propose the product.

“Do you have anything from the original proposal?” I would often ask. “As this product is a year’s work of the company’s resources."

“Maybe William (Vice-President) has, but I don’t think he will share,” replied the sales director. I wasn’t going to ask why: A man’s brain can only take so much stupidity in a day.

Having no budget meant that several weeks later I was regretting promising to do the product proposal.

Okay, I thought, I have subscribed to every online magazine, have joined every related free association and body, all technical support web groups and chat rooms, I regularly raid Nokia and Motorola’s web site for any presentations, I have sat through countless sales presentations from market research companies lying to them that we were interested in purchasing just to get free data, and I email our clients for old materials…Is there anywhere else I can get some data?

The first six months were great: I was in the hottest area of telecommunications, and the company was growing really fast. Then one day William called me to a meeting…

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