Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beautiful Day in Chicago

Hi Bloggers,

Many of you tell me that you enjoy traveling with me on my out of town adventures, so today is a quick update on my visit to the Windy City.

What a beautiful city Chicago is, especially in late April.  Too bad most of my time here is being spent inside conference rooms at the Marriott.

First, why am I here?  Well, I work in the pricing group of my company Analog Devices.  We are part of the finance group and our department is involved in defining pricing policies and systems to ensure the sales and marketing people can make optimized price decisions on customer price requests.

One of the software tools we use for this is a software solution Vendavo.  They have several software products and we currently have one product in use for some of our employees.  We are looking to expand and add a few of their other products later this year and expand so that many of our employees who work on pricing have these tools.

Vendavo holds an annual pricing conference for their customers.  The customers and Vendavo staff present information about how they use the software to improve profitability.  It's a very well run conference and it's been very informative so far.  I met all kinds of interesting people from all types of industry.  At dinner last night I met a guy who works for a big food company that sells milk.  He had some big challenges with pricing since his 'product' is only good for 18 days.  His company is the head company of Garelick Farms - a big milk brand in Boston.  I also met a guy whose company makes sharpies, several from gas, oil and chemical companies and today I met ladies from a company that make food packaging products (you know the bags that chickens come in.)  But you guys don't care about that, let's talk about the city of Chicago.

I went out early this morning for a run and what a nice run it was.  I'm getting so that I don't dread my runs anymore.  As a matter of fact there are times now that I actually forget I'm running! It's taken over 8 weeks to get to this point.  Every run I've taken for the last 7 weeks, I've been painfully aware of every minute I'm running.  But now I find myself in the 'zone' and my mind wanders as I check out the sights around me and I'm not thinking 'when will this end!'  I consider that progress.

Anyway, today I headed out from my hotel and jogged down Michigan Avenue - otherwise known as the 'Magnificent Mile' and jogged past some beautiful stores with colorful window displays.

I found myself at at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and enjoyed a beautiful time jogging along Lake Michigan.  The sun was up and shining brightly on the lake and the path was filled with other joggers, bicyclists and a rollerblader.   The lake is so big that there is surf and you can't see any land on the other side.  It looks like an ocean.

I had one AWESOME moment when I actually passed another female jogger.  I was so excited.  I thought to myself I am NOT the slowest jogger on the face of the earth.  And then reality hit when she promptly passed me moments later and left me in the dust.  All I can figure is she was interval training and I passed her during her slow time. Ah well.  I may be the slowest jogger in the world, but at least I'm a jogger!

When my Nike plus/iphone told me I was 1/2 way through my run (15 minutes and 1 mile in) I turned around and headed back. The second half of my run was along Lake Shore Drive and I saw some very nice real estate.  I couldn't imagine how much these condo's cost.  What a view and what a beautiful historic building.  The tulips and hydrangea plantings were stunning next to the buildings.

After my jog I got myself all presentable and headed down to an executive meet and greet event.  It is nice to be a potential customer and get treated to special events.  The meet and greet was with Oakland A's manager Billy Beane.  He is now quite famous because of the recently released movie Moneyball. 

His story is very relevant to a pricing conference since he used data to change a historic process of recruiting players.  In the same way many of us in business are embarking on change processes within our company to take price decisions away from subjective decision making tools to more objective decision making tools.

And of course, I had to get a picture with him.  I also got a copy of his book and a signed baseball.   He chatted with about 20 of us over breakfast and then he was the speaker at one of the first conference sessions.  He was very nice and quite entertaining.  If you haven't seen the movie - go.  It's very well done and Brad Pitt plays his character.  Even if you have no interest in baseball or statistics you'll find the movie entertaining.  Below is the movie trailer.

I'm looking forward to reading the book on my flight home tomorrow.

Tonight I'm off to a cubs game.  I wish I could share more about this beautiful city, but I am off in meetings all day today and tomorrow so I won't get to wander around the city again, but I really hope I can get back here again someday.  Kim - let's try to make a trip happen in the next five years!!!

Well thanks for heading to the Vendavo Pricing Conference in Chicago with me this week.  Stop back on Wednesday for my Papertrey Ink Blog Hop submission using Rosie Posie stamp set.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Glad you're enjoying Chicago. Lake Shore Drive looks beautiful... as does that gorgeous pot filled with hydrangea. Fun to hear that you met with Billy Beane; being a fan of baseball, I was intrigued by his story and loved the movie.

You may be a slow jogger, but may I say you're looking quite svelte!