If you ever are asked to work a business show, my advice would be say NO. You stand in a booth and answer questions from people who are never actually interested, and/or handing out chatzki which is what they really want. With my reputation, I was nominated to work Comdex which was in Las Vegas and at the time was one of the largest shows in the world. The PC had taken off and now entire industries and companies were built around it, including in the publishing world. Everyone read PC Week to get the latest updates, including a “gossip” columnist name Spencer Katt who had some amazing insights – and also threw a legendary party. The trick was you had to know where it was….
…through Beth’s friend Bruce, I had an inside track. He actually had told “Spencer” that I might be arriving, but was not there himself, so I was walking the streets of Las Vegas, alone, at 10 pm, after talking to thousands of people about Intel’s card: the Wizard Adapter. The only highlight was the big booth across from us was Toshiba, who had 30 identical blondes in knit mini-skirts – it was the 80’s after all 😉 As I approached a hotel there was a large group of people milling about, and I overheard one of them talking about Spencer’s party. I tagged along as if I was with them, and up the elevator we went. We went down the hall, and sure enough, they had found it, but they were not on the invite list. It was still the era of business cards, and I handed mine up from the back row….. and was motioned in 😉
With Graham’s firm hand, Santana was back producing pop-oriented albums, and in fact, this one leans heavily into disco. He also had started to realize the “spiritualist” Sri was actually benefiting more from Santana than the other way around, and by the early ’80s, he would be fully out of their orbit. He had convinced Carlos and his wife to not have a family, and a few other things that started to set off the alarms. Carlos is still very spiritual, but was now on his own journey, and looking for partners that were more balanced. Musically the albums were gaining more traction but still, he was way below his first 3, and still juggling members that he could count on. The album cover even shows that with some members behind him, some in front of him, and the title of the album, Inner Secrets, leads you to wonder who was in and who was out. It is one element of music I really miss – big albums allowed amazing artwork, lyrics, and “liner notes” that told you more about what was included.
I not only have been an outsider, I come from a whole family of outsiders. On both sides, my family system was about hard work, and then… well we don’t actually celebrate well. We head into the next thing. We also classically don’t accept help well – wanting to do it “by self” as a toddler said once. Getting into the party was a better story than BEING at the party… other than, of course, who should be there (again)? Ed – the person who was shocked I knew Bruce. This sealed my relationship with him of knowing everyone, and actually being a spy. We spent the evening talking about how the PC was slowly being mismanaged by the folks at “headquarters” and how even his own brainchild, OS/2 was now being pushed in directions that made no sense even to him. Ironically it was being led by a former IBM Space person from FSD, who was known even then to squash good ideas.
Partners are critical to your trajectory through your career, and no matter how hard you try, doing it “byself” is not only not sustainable, it doesn’t work. Some are for a specific period, a specific set of objectives, and then they will fade away. Some will leave lasting values and skills with that carry-on, and some will actually stay connected even through multiple decades. I have reconnected to a life long partner in a new endeavor recently, and we both are observing an organization that is at best a loose collection of individuals. He has been gently reminding me of why we are there, sometimes more gently than others 😉 As you look around you, who is there who will push you to Change what you need to as we all are evolving into this brave new world? They are there, with keen observations and insights – and, unless you give them the opening, it will likely not be passed on. It isn’t easy to take the risk to go out in search of what is new, particularly when you’re worn out, and may feel alone, as I did that night. It is well worth your time long term to give yourself, and those around you the ability to help move you forward: An Open Invitation.