To all those who have asked “whatever happened to your blog?”, please accept my apologies. It wasn’t that life got in the way; it was MY JOB that got in the way. I was spending so much time commuting from Napa to Silicon Valley, or stuck on conference calls here at the “Hitachi Data Systems Napa Office,” that I neither had time to have a wine country experience worth chronicling, nor actually write about it. So, like many well-intentioned blogs, it went dormant for the past six months. However, just as “Mad Men” came back after an abnormally long hiatus, so too does my blog. (However, we won’t be singing “Zoe Bisou Bisou” or experimenting with LSD here on Highway 29; sorry, Mad Men fans.)
Now in order to resume the blog in all good consciousness, I had to extract myself from the job thing. And since I couldn’t manage to get myself fired, I decided to retire. I figured that after 32 years in Silicon Valley marketing I had pretty much seen it all, and, in fact, was starting to see certain things again. When the phrase “I’ve seen this movie before” starts cropping up in your vocabulary on a daily basis, you know it’s time to go to a different theatre. And that’s what I have done.
Astute readers will remember that Laurie and I moved to Napa in June of 2011 to prepare myself for an eventual career in wine marketing. I had predicted that the company I was working for (BlueArc) would not go public last fall as planned, but would instead be acquired. If that happened, I surmised, then I would surely lose my job when the acquiring company laid us all off. And I wanted to have my house and mortgage all wrapped up while I was still employed. It all made perfect sense, and it all went absolutely according to plan….until Hitachi bought us and offered us all jobs. Oops. “We don’t care that you live in Napa,” they said. Hmmm. A good-paying job with a very successful, fast-growing company, and I didn’t have to be in the office every day? I decided to give it a shot. The folks I worked with were absolutely marvelous, some of the best I have had the pleasure to work with. But at the end of the day, it was still tech, and I would come home at night to this amazing Napa Valley and sense that it was ripe with opportunity. (“Ripe”… my first wine pun.) So after much deliberation, and with admitted second-thoughts and misgivings about giving up a good thing, I announced my retirement earlier this month. And now here I am, blogging for a living. Winning!
In all seriousness, I am thrilled to be in Napa full-time now, and starting my own business again. My goal is to help a few small wineries (or other wine country-related businesses) to better engage with their customers and prospects through new media. Consumers are already talking about the wines they drink, the places they visit, and the experiences that have up here, but many of the smaller businesses don’t have the knowledge, resources or time to participate in these conversations. I plan to use my collective experience and creativity to help build brands and increase customer loyalty for a few great clients in the wine country.
Of course, this will mean having business meetings over a glass of wine, long lunches with clients and prospects at Mustard’s Grill, and lots of “research.” The blog will resume with more predictable frequency so that you can both learn of great new places to visit up here and keep up with my new venture. I encourage, beseech and beg of you to please subscribe to my blog so you get all the updates. And please share the good entries on your Facebook or Twitter page, to help me build my following. As so many of you have told me, I need all the help I can get.
It’s nice to be back. Let’s have some fun!