A Fond Farewell to INK Client #1
Something happened yesterday that I was hoping never would (though of course there’s always the possibility) – INK’s client #1 resigned his position at the Bluetooth SIG. While we are excited for the new path that lies ahead for him, we are a bit shell-shocked right now to think of not working with the person we have had the pleasure of doing so with for 8+ years (Valentine’s Day marked nine years with the SIG – Mike joined the SIG, and thus inherited us, one year later).
It’s taboo to have a favorite client in the same way it’s taboo to have a favorite child (well, perhaps the latter is more taboo, but go with me here). So in the words of my grandfather – to whom I am his “favorite oldest granddaughter” – let me reminisce about my “favorite longest client,” Mike Foley:
Mike started at the SIG the same week Blair started at INK. That should tell you something about their relationship – it’s a bit like siblings in how he chides her, and she messes with his stuff (dare I say it: CES 2008 Best of CES PowerPoint). They also share a love of sports, and a dislike of Pepcom events that take place in the middle of the biggest sporting event of the year (yes, Texas won the national championship in football in January 2006 while we worked the Bluetooth table and Mike ate chocolate dipped rice krispie treats in front of the only TV in the place).
(This is Mike wooing the crowd at the Bluetooth SIG Best of CES awards ceremony at CES 2011.)
One month into Mike’s tenure at the SIG, he didn’t think he liked INK much – we were having a total failure to communicate. We turned that around by instituting Monthly Mike Meetings where we went through what we had done for him lately, what we were going to do next, and what he wished we had done better. We found that giving him a regular platform to say “hey, I thought you said we were going to do X – why hasn’t it happened yet?” helped him get whatever it was off his chest and helped us stay on track for what we were delivering. We were a one-year-old company at this time and had a lot to learn in terms of providing excellent client service (they can’t read our minds) – I thank Mike for not accepting anything less than our best.
Other things Mike has taught me:
– Don’t flip people off when driving your client around Las Vegas (they will never let you live it down)
– Know your stuff – it makes it that much more likely you will be an excellent public speaker, media interview, leader
– Beer is good, and beer on St. Patrick’s Day even better
– Travel is where it’s at (I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Scotland, Hawaii, Paris, Hong Kong, Miami, New York, DC, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Seattle with Mike – thank you so much for that opportunity)
– Always answer the phone when your significant other calls like you are genuinely happy to hear from him/her (Mike always says “Hi Mar!” like he’s in college and his girlfriend just got home from a long trip – love it)
– I don’t know what his secret sauce has been (so there’s another lesson here I hope to still learn), but I hope to be the kind of parent that Mike is in that his girls still want to hang around him! And they are amazing, outgoing, smart, thoughtful girls – I can only aspire to the same for my girls.
– It is possible to keep clients happy long term, you just have to keep pushing the envelope and not settling for status quo.
– Clients like it when you tell them what you really think – and push them even when they say no the first time.
– If you treat clients right, they will get you back. He has done it over and over again.
– Change is good. Embrace it.
We love you Mike. We look forward to your next adventure. And you (and the family) are welcome in Austin ANYTIME!