Thursday, February 01, 2007

A provocateur draws some heat

I looked up the word "provocateur" to write this blog. A provocateur is a person assigned to provoke unrest, volence, debate or argument. The reason? Rick Anderson, a great big guy from who runs a service called the Whispering Crane Institute gave a "provocateur's perspective" of the landscape world at the ANLA Clinic in Louisville.

And yes, after about an hour of dissin' "trends" driving landscape design/build (you know, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, etc.) , he finally manages to provoke some "unrest" with his presentation, which is entertaining and, at times it seems, intentionally confrontational. But hey, how can you be a provocateur without stepping over the line, right?

Anyhoo, when big Rick gets on the subject of the value of "blogs" (something he strongly endorses) in attracting customers' attention, and he keeps on about them maybe a tad too long, he "provokes" a female conference attendee near the front of the room to comment that she works 60 hours a week and doesn't have time to blog. (Bear in mind that Anderson has been literally begging for reactions from the 100-plus people in the audience throughout his presentation.)

Anderson quickly responds to the lady: "You have time to write three sentences, don't you?" Or something very close to that.

A smallish lady, and as Anderson finds out, one with more than a little pluck, she stands straight out of her seat and tells him in no uncertain terms that she lives in the country, doesn't have access to broadband or hi-speed internet connections and, to this point anyway, is no great fan of blogging. It's pretty obvious she isn't about to have somebody talk down to her, which, to my mind anyway, is pretty darn neat. Like I said, she's a small woman but I don't think anybody in the room would have wanted to tangle with her for a minute or two.

AT this point Anderson backs off a bit and tones down his message a click or two.

As the presentation ends 10 minutes later or so, she and big Rick come to a friendlier meeting of the minds, not that they hug or anything. But, like I said, they're friendly and chatting.

In any event, Anderson's presentation was kind of on the edge but a lot of fun, and I've got to hand it to the little lady that he briefly riled; she's one tough cookie.

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