Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quick Trip to LA

I'm in Los Angeles for another night, and I have to say that I am experiencing lots of deja vu during this trip. From '99-'06, I must have flown out here 25 times. Maybe more. My trips were so routine that it was to the point of borderline Groundhog Day - book 1:35pm Continental flight, connect through Newark, arrive, Budget FastBreak, drive up 405 to Courtyard Marriott in Sherman Oaks, stop at Whole Foods and pick up healthy snacks for the week, check in, unpack, watch Sunday night TV, get ready for a week of work. Monday meet at radio station for final project planning and lunch, then drive to the OC. Focus groups every night Mon-Thurs, meetings Wed AM and Fri AM. Finish around 2PM on Friday, drop off equipment at FedEx, go tool around for a Friday night in LA, either poker or dinner with friends. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Once again, I'm out here moderating focus groups. But there's a few major differences.

First, I'm not staying in The Valley. I wanted a change of pace, so I found a nice hotel (The Chamberlain) on a residential street in West Hollywood, midway between the residences of two friends, with whom I had dinner Sunday night. About $155/night, totally reasonable.

Next, I'm simply moderating these focus groups. I'm not lead on the project, and don't need to set up all of this fancy electronic data collection equipment hours before the groups. I did plenty of prep work over the past few weeks (and months actually), and my job now is to show up and moderate. While moderating is not simply a walk in the park, it's a load off my shoulders not to have to worry about much else.

I get to fly home tomorrow, another difference. I am used to my trips to LA being 4-6 nights. This was simply three. Quick trip. Long enough to escape the random Boston heat wave, and return when it's back to the standard temps in the 50's tomorrow.

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