From left to right: Kristin Wallace, Sprint's Southeast Communications Director; Aaron Baker, PhoneDog;
Keith Cowan, Sprint's President of Strategy and Corporate Initiatives
First and foremost, I thank Kristin Wallace (Sprint), Keith Cowan (Sprint), Jeff Wallace (Sprint), and Corinne Fitch (Palm). They were exceptionally hospitable, and I appreciate their willingness to answer the numerous questions that I had. Our readers (you!) had sent in a great deal of questions, and they actually spent a majority of the evening with me so we could answer them. Furthermore, the whole Sprint team did an exceptional job of putting the event together. Among other things, they had a live DJ, hors d'oeuvres, and an open bar - an instant hit with customers. All in all, you could tell that they worked hard to make the event as enjoyable as possible, and I was very impressed with Sprint's handling of everything.
To give you a bit of background as to how the evening went, I'll start from the beginning. PhoneDog President Tom Klein and I were scheduled to go to the event together via plane. We were going to arrive at the start of the event and begin video and blog coverage upon arrival. Unfortunately, due to thunderstorms in the area, our flight was grounded, leaving us with few travel options. At 4:00 PM EST, I made the quick decision to drive to Atlanta. You guys had sent in so many questions, and I didn't want to let you down. I'm based out of Charlotte, NC, which is a four hour drive to Atlanta, barring any traffic or weather problems.
So, I set off, attempting to get to Atlanta as quickly as possible. Though the three thunderstorms that I hit on the way slowed me down, I arrived at about 8:30 PM. I recant the story to tell you that I sincerely apologize for the occasional delay with our "live" coverage. My late arrival, combined with with the structure of the event, made it challenging to do a minute-by-minute update. Fortunately, I was able to update my Twitter feed and my Picasa web album on a regular basis, and we were able to get through most of your questions. So, thanks for putting up with my slight delays!
In speaking to Keith, he reminded me that Dan Hesse had been in the CEO chair for 18 months. Since then, plan pricing has been simplified, customer service has started the process of improving, and the network has been upgraded. The Palm Pre, according to him, is specifically intended to showcase Sprint's improvements. And based on my time with the Pre, I can see these improvements in action. According to early reports, Sprint sold 50,000 Pre's in the launch weekend; a very respectable number. I look forward to seeing how well the device does in the future. Stay tuned for my written review of the device!