Monday, May 05, 2008

Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears

You have reached the office of Harry Hawker. You may leave a message at the beep.

"Hello, Harry? Robert here. I can't give you the full scoop right now. I'm on my cell at a concert. Middle of the second movement of some symphony or other. I've got something big for you. The latest thing in personal communications. It's hot, Harry. Real hot. If you check your machine, give me a call. You know my number. I'll call you again when I get to the restaurant."

Chirrup...chirrup

"Harry? Oh, it's you, Ally. Listen, I told you not to call Daddy when he is at the concert. Yeah, I know the baby-sitter won't let you watch TV after 10 o'clock. That's what Mommy and Daddy told her to do. Now hang up your phone. Some people don't like it when a phone rings at a concert. And besides, I'm waiting for an important call. Yeah, Daddy misses you too. Go to bed."

You have reached the office of Harry Hawker. You may leave a message at the beep.

"Harry. Robert again. Where are you, guy? The concert sucked. Something dumb by Brahms. Or was it Bach? We're waiting for a table at Gina's, the new restaurant downtown. You'd like it, Harry. We'll do lunch here sometime. Listen, I'd rather not be talking to your machine but the story is this: Our R&D guys have come up with a drop-dead product. We're looking for a strategic alliance with someone with marketing clout. That's you, Harry. Give me a buzz when you get in. This is something you don't want to miss."

Chirrup...chirrup

"Harry? Mom! Why are you calling this time of the night? We're just finishing desert at Gina's. Nice place. Real classy, you know what I mean? Your boy's made good. So, what's up? No, I didn't forget that Sunday is your birthday. Yeah, I know. We'll be there for dinner. Listen, Mom, I gotta hang up, I'm expecting an important business call. Yeah, see ya Sunday. Yeah, Mom, love you too."

You have reached the office of Harry Hawker. You may leave a message at the beep.

"Harry. Robert. I'm hittin' the sack. Don't ring now, I need the shut eye. I'll call you in the morning."

Good morning. HighTech Marketing. Mr. Hawker's office.

"Hi, Karen. Robert here. Is Harry in? On the phone? OK, have him give me a call when he's free. Use my cell number. I'm on the expressway."

Chirrup...chirrup

"Harry, at last! Hey, thanks for calling, buddy. I'm on my way to town. It'd be great to do lunch. I've found a new place. No? OK, listen. Our R&D guys have come up with a voice-activated cell phone that's smaller than a pea. Microphone and speaker fabricated right on the silicon chip with the electronics. New kind of microantenna. Also picks up and transmits ambient sound. Pop it right in the ear. It's there all the time. Think about it, Harry! You dial by voice. Hang up by voice command. No bigger than a pea.

"What's that? No one will want a pea in their ear? That's where you come in. This is cutting-edge technology, Harry. The ultimate status symbol.

"Think about it, Harry. There's three billion cell phones in use in the world. Think of the market! If we get only a piece of it, we will have the hottest product since sliced bread. A cell phone in every ear. Twenty-four/seven. Never out of touch.

"Harry, listen, I'm on the downtown off-ramp. I could be at your office in... Jeez, a guy just cut me off. Some people drive like maniacs. Harry, let's get cell phones out of the hands and put 'em in the ear where they belong. Total, ubiquitous, hands-free connectivity. It's a winner...Beep...Harry, listen, can I put you on hold for a sec? I've got a call on the other line."