To celebrate the success we have been having with HPE we were lucky enough to win a place on their trip to Houston competition. Selected partners were chosen to attend the 4 day trip and I was lucky enough to be the Simoda representitive.
In true Simoda fashion I thought I would share the experience with you lovely people.
Trip to London
As most long haul trips are concerned it all started in the fantastically busy Heathrow Airport. Although this was a 'work' trip you cant go through an airport without having a beer.
You can take the man out of Sheffield but you cant take Sheffield out of the man.
The long United airlines flight was a breeze, not even half full so we had the pleasure of being in economy but feeling like business class, upon arrival into Houston our fantastic guests shipped us to our hotel in Downtown Houston, a quick freshen up and boom we were off for dinner at Pappas Steakhouse beer & steak, what more could a hungry brit want.
Being from Yorkshire (usually means tight as cramp) it was defiantly not the $28,500 bottle of wine.
The next morning after a decent nights sleep we were up and on our way to the HPE HQ on the outskirts of Houston, we arrived after a short detour to the wrong destination (the driver needed a new satnav).
Wow is an understatement, the place was amazing, starting with the fantastic one off piece of artwork at the door, we arrived in the morning but were told that it looks stunning at night, which I can believe.
We made our way up to the Customer Innovation Centre where we were greeted by a 2021 season Mercedes F1 car, this was a fantastic sight, now I'm not a motor sport fan but some of the team were really impressed, we even discussed the colour of the new F1 car is because they no longer paint them as it weighs too much.
At this time I thought it would be great to get my little man out (now then stop it.......) I mean the Simoda spaceman, obviously you have seen we have a space theme across Simoda and I thought how good would it be for marketing to take my little man with me (I said stop it !!!)
The innovation centre was fantastic, we had the chance to look at some of the latest technologies that HPE are working with, any trip to a HQ of a tech business would not be right without a look at some racks with flashing lights, however this was different, they had placed the kit in a 'garage' as this is where the HPE journey started many years ago.
As I said earlier, Wow what a place to work the office was, Basketball court, gym, onsite doctor, pharmacy, bar & BBQ area is just a small part of the experience.
The end of the tour we jumped on the coach back to the hotel to prepare for the Rodeo, now this wasn't my 1st rodeo, I had actually been to the Houston Livestock & Rodeo back in 2011 with a customer who we were visiting at the time.
The sun was out and it was a beautiful day, the group split into a few stragglers, 4 of us made the short walk to where the beer and food was (obviously) 1 giant Texas burger & few beers later it was time to head into the show.
The last time I attended the rodeo I was taken aback by the sheer passion for the national anthem, something I think we could learn lots from, I filmed the pledge of allegiance and the nation anthem and I must admit I really enjoyed it, however I couldn't imagine the crowd at Bramall Lane (my club Sheffield United's home ground) it would go something like...... 'nah den get on wit game daft bleeders'
The evening ended with everyone on the dance floor in one of the Rodeo bars, due to the horrible nature of my dad dancing these videos I will not be uploading.
Day 2 in Houston
Today was the day I had been looking forward to all trip, for people that know me understand that I am a bit of a space nerd, yes I don't look it but I really find the whole NASA bit really interesting. We arrived at the Johnson space centre mid afternoon, a quick walk around and then a private tour with a guide. This is definitely where they got the idea for the Virtucon tour in the Austin Powers film.
After all the excitement I was a little let down, yes the history is amazing and we got to see a working lab area but the whole place was a mix of 60's buildings, but having said that I think they use the budget on other things than nice buildings.
All being said I did enjoy the experience, inside a space shuttle & seeing actual moon rock was class.
Baseball & Beers
After the NASA tour & a minor issue with the coach we headed off to Minute Maid Park home of the World Series champions the Houston Astros, granted it is not baseball season but seeing another stadium in all its glory was a great thing, we even got the chance to have a little batting practice although the pitcher was being very kind to us.
The tour guide had his championship ring on, which was a great thing to see, not sure what the Americans fixation with rings for sporting success is but honestly I quite like it. After a private dinner we received a gift, I had a jersey from six time MLB all-star player Lance Berkman, another member of our Party Marc opened his jersey with excitement only to find his player was Orbit the mascot, (yes we did laugh).
Later that evening we were taken to a whiskey bar where I sank a few nice mojitos and a few shots of whatever it was before a few of us headed back into Houston to carry on the night.
The dreaded trip home
The next morning with a decent hangover our time in Houston was at an end.
That is it for the blog and I have not even told you about one of the party being shot while over in the states !!!!!!
What a fantastic experience we had and I would like to thank the team at HPE for making it a memorable trip, everyone who attended but also our hosts Katy & Holly.
You have obviously enjoyed reading this blog post so get in touch buy some HPE and I might be able to go again !!!
yeeeeeeee haaaaaaaaa cowboy
A proud MD of a fantastic company
(with an amazing infrastructure vendor partner HPE)
0114 553 3600