I wrote about catching up with my old mate S the other day. Well I don’t know if there’s something in the water or LinkedIn’s suddenly started working properly or people have heard about my medical stuff but I’ve had a wave of contacts from some really old friends/colleagues recently from the days when Cellnet had a logo that looked like the one above. I mean friends from way back when, rather than they’re wrinkly and aged (a property I’ve got the patent on).
It was a little poignant to watch my humble home town team Blackpool take on the mighty moneybags of Chelsea at the Bridge last Saturday. They strived noblely but came away a little embarrassed by the outcome. A bit like the match I watched between the sides at Bloomfield Rd when the Seasiders coasting 3-0 at half time somehow managed to concede 4 goals in the second half to the Blues. It also made me recall some of my own interesting moments I had at Chelsea in the very early days of the mobile phone business.
I wrote about PW, one of the senior guys and our boss at Cellnet, in Blunter and the updated Blunter postscript. He was a hell of a character and made working at the place so enjoyable. Never a dull minute with PW. I don’t think he was a great marketing guy but he was in his element in sales and channel management. He taught us about doing things in style, with panache and flair. He loved to party, loved entertaining the key channel guys. No expense was ever spared when it came to functions, trips, hospitality and PW always insisted the whole team be present with partners if they wished, kids too at week-end stuff. His big love was motorsport and at Cellnet this translated itself into the big marketing concept; sponsorship of an F3 team. I actually think B my immediate boss did the ground work on the concept but PW embraced it totally. He saw it as a clothes horse that all of our marketing activity had to hang from. It wasn’t a bad idea but with hindsight I realise we spent too much on the actual team and nowhere near enough on pure marketing support activity. Then again none of us were marketing specialists – we were learning on the job. Vodafone our only competitor built a head of steam in supporting the channel which took 8 years to claw back. But at Cellnet we had the most fun, no question, led by PW.
It’s the British Grand Prix week and thoughts turn to Silverstone. I joined Cellnet, the predecessor to O2, in 1986 and I’ve been to most of the British GP ever since, entertaining clients for Cellnet (first at Brands Hatch) and then with BT. I’m not involved now, though we might still be catching up with some old friends who’ll be popping in as our UK home is so close to the circuit. I’ve got lots of memories of the w/e itself and might be writing more on that as the week progresses. But one of my earliest memories at Siverstone was a mid-season F3 meeting that proved to be a real challenge.
I mentioned in the Blunter blog the guy who delivered the biggest log in a public loo I’d ever seen. Incidentally, I’m no computer specialist and you don’t suppose blog is short for the big log do you? Can’t be. I’m sure it’s an acronym or new age equivalent of captain’s log or something. You tell me…
In the recent posting I did on Blunter I referred to two guys who helped me enormously in those early Cellnet days, C on PR and J our motorsport consultant. J caught sight of the Blunter blog late last week and has reminded of two more incidents as a postscript to the day and soon afterwards.
I worked for the mobile network, Cellnet, for about 12 years. It was in the early days of the industry and it was the best of times. I don’t remember too many bad times. Most of the craziest people I’ve ever met were in the mobile business; some of the greatest people I’ve known were also involved and many of them remain my friends to this day. But one of the real characters was a guy called Bill Hunter, known affectionately as ‘Blunter’ as that was exactly how he’d answer the phone. He was a real one-off and they threw away the mould after Bill. He passed away sadly several years ago but his memory makes me smile to this day.