Hazy, Hot and Houston
It's a question we've heard a lot in the last couple of days: Who decided to
hold a conference in Houston in July?
Well, Microsoft did, and the thousands of partners who are descending upon
the city this week will likely be met with a Texas-style welcome: temperatures
in the 90s (today's high topped out at a relatively cool 92) and high humidity.
Maybe it's your editor's bias toward Dallas-Fort Worth (mainly Fort Worth),
but RCPU has never been a huge fan of Houston. As a native Texan, your editor
knows and loves huge swaths of his home state -- Austin, San Antonio, the Hill
Country, parts of the Gulf Coast, the desert mountains of West Texas and, of
course, Cowtown (or Funkytown, or whatever you want to call Fort Worth). Texas
can be beautiful.
[Click for larger view.]
But RCPU came to Houston expecting to spend a lot of time in the hotel, and,
well...we've been pleasantly surprised. The RCPU team -- four strong for this
event -- strolled over to a downtown steakhouse Monday evening for dinner after
the show and had a great time and a spectacular meal. Then, we strolled back
by Minute Maid Park -- the Astros' stadium, which, we have to say, looks kind
of funny from the outside -- and over to a place called Discovery Green.
[Click for larger view.]
Discovery Green, officially dedicated in April, is a lovely little park with
a small pond and a fairly swanky restaurant (from what we hear; we haven't eaten
there) plopped in the middle of it. It's breezy and pleasant -- pretty, really
-- and it's right in the middle of downtown, directly across from the convention
center. Color us impressed. We had a lot of fun downtown.
Houston's still a bit sprawly for our taste -- our team's two hotels are about
15 miles apart -- but it's nothing a good GPS and a city-wise driver can't handle.
It's also a bit warm, but good food and Texas friendliness -- along with ice-cold
central air conditioning in every building -- go a long way toward making us
feel comfortable even when the thermometer climbs toward triple digits.
Let's put it this way: RCPU firmly believes that all conferences from now on
should be held in San Diego, America's
most beautiful city...preferably in March, when it's 33 and sleeting in
Boston. But we'll take Houston any time of year over the schmaltz
of Orlando or the sensory overload of Vegas. (Most people would probably
prefer Vegas, though -- your editor acknowledges being an exception in that
So, maybe it's the melted-in-our-mouths filet mignon talking, but we'll give
Houston an unexpected thumbs up...for now. There's still a lot of conference
to go, but as long as the AC works in the convention center, we should be just
Posted by Lee Pender on 07/08/2008 at 1:22 PM