I write, exhausted, from a Delta flight back home to Salt Lake. What a great week….
I’ll get to the business stuff in a minute, but first let me fill you in a bit on our travels. It was sunny but cool in Slidell, LA today; really pleasant for driving around.
The not-so-nice part is that it was, well, Thursday. Our six Roadside MBA tours to date have all had similar timing; we meet Sunday, travel Monday through Thursday, and return home Thursday night. We spend most of each day talking to business leaders, then drive two to four hours to the next city, compare notes and decompress over dinner and a beer, and then crash. And up early to do it again.
By Thursday, we’re wiped out.
So… That’s when the fights break out. I won’t get into finger-pointing except to say that we took a number of wrong turns while looking to grab a quick lunch. Driving as usual, I was headed north on Front Street and was told to turn left at the Starbucks, which, as you can see, is clearly located on the corner of Front and Hall. Dutifully, I turned left onto Hall, where we discovered a residential neighborhood with no lunch places. I was then informed that I am an idiot and that the direction “Turn left at the Starbucks” was intended to elicit from me the reaction of turning left on Gause.
I am such a fool.
After a short but intense altercation, we made up and eventually found our way to a good lunch at Bear Grill & Spirits, so named (we guess) because of the stuffed and mounted bear next to the hostess table. It’s Mardi Gras in a couple weeks, but we didn’t ask what the bear did to earn the beads.
Despite our exhaustion, we managed to navigate through another great day of learning about small and medium-sized businesses. We talked to a veterinarian, a web marketing firm, and a chemical company. All had great stories to tell, and all three were considerably impacted by Hurricane Katrina (as were several of our Wednesday Hattiesburg businesses). It’s still hard for us outsiders to appreciate the massive impact of that storm.
We’ll be digesting the lessons over the next several weeks, and posting insights here from time to time.
Overall, this was a really great trip, probably in our top two or three in terms of “interestingness”. We all have very fond memories of our first trip (Memphis to Omaha, August ’10) and the Charlotte to Atlanta jaunt in May ’11 was really good too. But this one was right up there and maybe better.