I did the most ridiculous thing last week. I bought a tea towel emblazoned with a map of the London Underground. I was getting ready to fly out of Heathrow after a wonderful City Tour event and needed a cute reminder of one of my favorite parts of London – riding the tube.
I traveled to City Tour to meet with some of our customers and video interview a few of them, including Paul McDermott of Poundland and Hanna Dalsman from Swedish jeans company Dr. Denim. We also hosted our first Customer Advisory Board meeting for European customers at this event and met in a stunning space in the Millbank Tower overlooking the Thames, right near the Tate Museum and down the river from the London Eye.
It was a great day filled with interesting sessions. American-based Brontos, including Director of Product Management David Tyson and General Manager Carolyn Sparano, shared some great information with the crowd. The audience also heard from Anna Bance, who started the very cool Girl Meets Dress. And I couldn’t help but notice how many of our customers gave a shout out to René James-Barriteau, one of our stellar marketing strategists who has been instrumental in helping so many Bronto customers succeed. I also made Brandon Wilkins, General Manager of Bronto in Europe, crack up with my reaction to drinking my first cup of proper British tea. I’m now committed to figuring out how to brew tea correctly.
But before City Tour, I spent a day meeting the London Brontos at our Bronto/NetSuite office. Until now, I had only ever been able to talk with account managers Zara Wells and Camille Owen by phone or over email. I came over with marketing teammate Kari Finn, and our unofficial host was marketing colleague Jake Potter. Jake is possibly the most patient man ever, dealing with all of our questions, from finding the right kind of adaptor to getting around London. Jake is in training for the London Marathon (raising funds for Make-A-Wish Foundation) and can, along with giving great directions, run to his south London home.
I was also able to meet the team from Diffusion PR that does a fabulous job of getting the word out about what Bronto is doing in the UK. I met Lucy, Giles and George for drinks the day after the US election and enjoyed talking about politics (really) and Jane Austen. Having learned of my fondness for NPR, Giles insisted we walk pass the BBC building. On the way to the tube station, we passed through Oxford Street, the London shopping area somewhat akin to New York’s Times Square. It was already decked for the holidays in thin strands of white lights, giving it a bit of a fairytale feel.
In a world where we do so much via email and phone calls, it was great to meet people face-to-face and just chat.