Shiver me timbers

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This article appeared in the 2 October, 2006 issue of CRN magazine.

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Shiver me timbers
Rabid has realised that we have been missing out on a major market sector with oodles of cash and a hankering for gadgets. Arggh, that be right cap’n, we be talkin’ ’bout boat people.

No, not the dirt-poor refugees paddling their clapped out dinghies across the oceans. We mean the people who voluntarily choose to mess about in boats without any need for persecution or death threats.

We’re talking about people who own boats larger than Rabid’s shop, and larger than Rabid’s house too, for that matter.

Rabid recently had the good fortune to spend a day on the water in Uncle Tony’s “boat” which is certainly of “adequate” size.

Even though there were umpteen nephews and nieces on board, we didn’t see them for most of the trip, leading to the belief that they may have been forced to walk the plank.

When the “boat” finally returned to the marina Rabid had to feign joy at discovering the rugrats hadn’t been lost at sea, just lost in the cavernous rabbit warren of state rooms below deck.

What really caught Rabid’s attention was the plethora of similar-sized boats moored at the marina, and quite a few which were many times larger than Uncle Tony’s modest floating gin palace.

In fact, Rabid would be more than content just to own one of the “runabouts” hanging on davits on the back of one of these floating tax havens.

But enough dreaming, back to the business opportunity at hand. If these boaties can afford the fees just to park one of these suckers, never mind the damage to the platinum AmEx to pour gasoline into the tank, surely they must be a soft touch for some high-tech gear from Rabid Resellers.

We started our sales strategy by asking Uncle Tony to invite a few of these boaties out on the water, where we could make the pitch to a captive audience.

Rabid really has to learn to choose his words more carefully, because Uncle Tony takes everything so literally. When the screaming died down, we managed to haul the dinghy back on board without anyone falling overboard, no doubt because they were lashed to the oars.

Of course, we had to tear up the IT supply contracts they’d all signed in return for their safe passage, and explain to Uncle Tony the figurative nature of “pitch” and “captive” in connection with the sales cycle.

Back in the yacht club, Rabid managed to hob-knob with a few boaties who hadn’t had the pleasure of cruising with Uncle Tony, and we soon got the floating IT business sorted.

Apparently, technology isn’t very compatible with salt water, which explains why everything on these boats is so shiny.

It seems everything is made out of stainless steel, unlike the innards of your average PC, and if the stuff breaks down, they expect service out on the high seas.

Although it was tempting to send the nephew out in a suitably leaky rowboat to trial the new marine sales and service model, Uncle Tony reminded us just in time that not everyone who goes boating with him makes it back to dry land the same day.

Gotta go! Customers waiting!

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